The appearance of the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, in the Interior Commission of Congress to discuss the barracks casethe investigation into the alleged irregular awarding of 193 works contracts in the Civil Guard, has led to a fierce parliamentary debate in which there have been no shortage of references to other cases of corruption, to ETA, to the GAL, to the pegasus case or the death of 23 immigrants trying to enter Melilla. To Grande-Marlaska’s assertion that the barracks case “It is a case of corruption that affects the Popular Party, one more”, the popular deputy Ana Vázquez has responded by accusing the minister of “denigrating” and “harming” the Civil Guard to avoid talking about the one who has called Tito Berni casein reference to the investigation into the former socialist deputy Juan Bernardo Fuentes Curbelo in another corruption case, the case mediator. The exchange of accusations has risen in tone after the representative of the PP questioned the real estate assets of the recently resigned director of the Civil Guard, María Gámez. The minister has accused her of spreading a “hoax” with these statements and predicted that she would have to back down.
In his first speech, Grande-Marlaska recalled that the main defendant in the case, Lieutenant General Pedro Vázquez Jarava, had a “meteoric” rise during the period of Jorge Fernández Díaz as head of the Interior — promoted twice in just eight months, until reaching the highest category of lieutenant general- and that it was also his predecessor who put this high command in charge of the General Support Subdirectorate, from which he had control of the bonds of the armed institute and from which he allegedly led to the irregularities now uncovered by instigating the heads of the 13 commands under suspicion to hire the builder Ángel Ramón Tejera de León, Monfriend of yours.
Grande-Marlaska also recalled that, as EL PAÍS announced this Sunday, it was the last director general of the Civil Guard with the PP, José Manuel Holgado, who ordered the filing, in December 2017, of the investigations that Internal Affairs had initiated despite the evidence that had already been collected at the time. “You stop it and order it to be archived,” he stated emphatically before linking that attitude with the one that led, in 2013, Operation Kitchen, the illegal espionage of former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas using irregular funds and media from the Interior. “During the period 2011-2018, the PP governments used public resources and means, which should have been allocated to the safety of all, for partisan and spurious purposes in an unacceptable manner in a way that is unacceptable in a democracy,” he stressed.
Grande-Marlaska has assured that the ministry that she now heads was the protagonist during the governments of Mariano Rajoy of “outrages and excesses” and has recalled that two of its top managers, Fernández Díaz and Francisco Martínez, former Secretary of State for Security, can “to be sentenced to high prison terms” after the Prosecutor’s Office has requested 15 years in prison for them for illegal espionage on Bárcenas. “The public officials of the Ministry of the Interior during the Popular Party governments did not hesitate to divert public resources to achieve purposes other than those for which they were intended,” he assured before stressing that with this the PP intended to “cover up its corruption scandals ”.
The intervention of right-wing groups has been a series of attacks on the minister. Miguel Gutiérrez, from Ciudadanos, has accused him of “lying” and has questioned whether Gámez’s resignation as head of the Civil Guard was really such. “I think this was a dismissal,” he said to recriminate that in the act in which she made her resignation public, the former director general was accompanied by four generals from the armed institute. Javier Ortega Smith, from Vox, has been even harsher by blaming María Gámez for the Barracks case and compare it with the scandal that led Luis Roldán, the former director general of the Civil Guard who was convicted of corruption. Ortega Smith has accused Grande-Marlaska of “giving wings to those who hate” the armed institute and of “hiding” behind the uniforms of the agents.
However, the most bitter confrontation has taken place with the representative of the PP, who has accused the minister of “galactic sectarianism” and of making “his way of doing politics out of lies”. Vázquez took advantage of his speech to blame Grande-Marlaska for the end of the policy of dispersal of ETA prisoners after announcing last Friday the upcoming transfer of five of the last six inmates of the armed band who remained in prisons outside of the Basque Country and Navarre. He has also accused him of “dragging the Civil Guard through the mud” so as not to have to talk about the Mediator case due to the involvement of a former Socialist deputy in it. Grande-Marlaska has responded by accusing her of “indignity” for using ETA again in the political debate.