Since last August, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice has studied three appeals requesting the cancellation of the disqualification from holding public office imposed on María Corina Machado (Vente Venezuela) by the Comptroller General of the Republic (CGR).
The justices rejected those appeals for a variety of reasons, as seen in rulings issued ahead of Sunday’s primaries.
On July 3, the first action against Machado’s disqualification was filed with the Constitutional Court. In that case, Juan Ramón León Villanueva, president of the foundation of the same name, raised a “popular action for the unconstitutionality of the resolution issued by the CGR on July 13, 2015, in which María Corina Machado Parisca is allowed political disqualification.”.
And, in the same way, León requested the protection of “Collective and scattered rights and interests of Venezuelans, inside or outside our territory, of voting age, in the 2024 primaries and presidential elections.”
The Chamber observes that León Villanueva intends for two different issues to be resolved in one action. For this reason, they declared it inadmissible because the matter raised was subject to “a bad accumulation, because the claims raised correspond to different courts and, moreover, are confirmed by incompatible methods.”
In this regard, the magistrates explained that the first claim put forward deals with the nullity of a sanctioning resolution issued by the CGR, which is a particular action with particular effects and whose evaluation corresponds to Political-Administrative Chamber of the High Court.
While the second claim (protection of collective interests) is under the responsibility of the Constitutional Chamber, the magistrates emphasized, “because the violation of widespread political rights of Venezuelans is condemned.”
But the two claims cannot be resolved in an action of the Constitutional Chamber, because it is prohibited by article 98 of the Organic Law of the TSJ, said the magistrates in the judgment 1,451 written jointly and released on October 16.
On July 10, a second action was initiated to try to have the TSJ annul Machado’s disqualification. That action was filed by Otoniel Pautt Andrade, who went to the Constitutional Chamber where he filed a claim for collective rights “against the administrative disqualification … issued by the General Directorate of Special Procedures in CGR.”
Pautt Andrade said in the letter that he was acting to protect “collective rights.” The justices responded that those rights were not placed there because the suit concerned the “individual disqualification of a citizen from holding public office.”
In Pautt Andrade’s interpretation, the Chamber adapted its approach because “the procedural interest that actually underlies the substance of the claim filed does not exactly correspond to a claim for the protection of collectives and scattered interests, since what it pursues is an action of autonomous protection in which the objective is to question the constitutionality of the actions deployed by the CGR, which consists of issuing an administrative act with a permissive nature and have particular effects.
However, since the person who filed this action was not the protagonist of the disqualification, the magistrates declared it inadmissible because Pautt Andrade did not have the legitimacy to raise that type of claim.
It is the authorized person (María Corina Machado), who “may in any case question the content of the action, either in the process of its formation or in its resolution as such,” says the Chamber in ruling 1,243 jointly drawn up by the magistrates and published. on August 14.
On the same day, the Chamber responded to Alexis José Coronel Roche and Miguel Antonio Prieto Narvaez, who, assisted by lawyer Wuilman Antonio Molina Romero, filed a third appeal, this time for review, of the decision issued by the Comptroller’s Office .
In that appeal, Coronel and Prieto confirmed that “the disqualification cannot be applied to (Machado) because he is not a public official.” Likewise, they pointed out that “disqualification is a criminal sanction that is always accessory to sentences of imprisonment or imprisonment, as prescribed by the Penal Code and the Organic Law for the Safeguarding of Public Assets.” The latter was repealed on April 7, 2003, according to Official Gazette (unique) 5,637.
The judges analyzed the appeal and declared that it was not possible (it should not have been proposed) because this decision of the CGR was not covered by the power given by the Constitution to the Chamber to exercise its review function, as emphasized in the judgment 1,244 published on August 14.
“It is clear that this Chamber can only exercise its unique and discretionary power to review definitive judicial decisions such as definitive and binding jurisdictional acts and not other types of legal acts. act,” responded the Constitutional justices, referring to the last line of the CGR opinion.
The Machado-Guaidó axis
The disqualification of María Corina Machado from holding public office for 15 years was made public on June 26, through a letter sent by the CGR to opposition deputy José Brito. This, in response to a first letter sent by Brito to the office of the former Comptroller General, Elvis Amoroso, asking about the status of the said file.
In the letter to Brito, Venezuela’s highest oversight body responded that one of the reasons why Machado was declared unfit to exercise public office was that “he was a participant in the corruption scheme orchestrated by the usurper Juan Gerardo Guaidó “Marquez.”