Having been found guilty of criminal charges through every legal step of the judicial system, the former mayor of Torrevieja, Pedro Ángel Hernández Mateo of the Partido Popular, still walks a free man and may never have to serve any of his three year prison term.
Hernández Mateo was sentenced in November 2012 by the High Court of Valencia to three years in prison and seven in disqualification, for, according to the sentence, the manipulated of the bidding process which was “arbitrary and prejudicial to the public interest” and to the other companies who had bid.
The Supreme Court issued notice this week that they have upheld the three year prison sentence, rejecting his plea to have the case dismissed as not being solely responsible for the offences relating to the award of a contract for garbage collection, valued at 97.8 million euro, in 2004.
However, despite being confirmed as guilty, despite the courts consistently insisting on a custodial sentence, Hernández Mateo may yet be pardoned for the offences, as the leader of the national government, Mariano Rajoy, has the power to overrule the judgement, thus allowing his criminal acts to go unpunished.
Of course the question as to whether Mariano Rajoy would compromise the integrity of his party, as he is also from the Partido Popular, would perhaps not be seen as favourable during a time when countless politicians are facing legal action, the majority being from his party, so the possibility still remains that Rajoy will leave Hernández Mateo out to dry.
However, the association with the country´s political lead are not the only lifeline Hernández Mateo could grab, as there is a possibility that ill health could mean he still walks free. Under Spanish law, there are cases of leniency for the over 70´s, but as Hernández Mateo was born on the 9th of August, 1948, it puts him at only 65 years of age. But he also recently underwent surgery to have a pacemaker fitted, which, combined with his 65 years, may mean that the courts accept his deteriorating health, although there were no signs of these issues affecting his ability to hold office before this scandal came to light.
Not forgetting that there are still other cases outstanding, both for Hernández Mateo and other local political leads which are still being investigated, all of which may or may not finally make their way to court.
In a matter of weeks, the final decision will be made, although experts are now suggesting that Hernández Mateo may indeed be sent to prison, forced to serve a token sentence of just a month, probably in more luxurious accommodation that other criminals who find themselves instantly incarcerated for their actions, as the future of the political trust might well hang in the balance for what possible incentive might a lack of action bring to others in similar situations, who may now also choose to break the law for the fear of reprisal is diminishing.
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/41172/