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Cablegate: Congress Avoids Vote On Proposed Toledo Sanctions,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. LIMA 2250

B. LIMA 2249
C. LIMA 2241
D. LIMA 2054
E. LIMA 1375

1. SUMMARY: In a stormy plenary session that lasted nearly
16 hours, the Congress finally voted 56-47 to send the
documents amassed by the committee investigating President
Alejandro Toledo and his Peru Posible party for registration
fraud (Villanueva Committee) to the Public Ministry for use
in the latter's investigation. No/no vote was taken on the
different sanctions proposed by the opposition party members
of the Villanueva Committee. While the Villanueva
Committee's report has been effectively archived, the Public
Ministry and an Anti-Corruption Judge continue their criminal
investigations and proceedings into registration fraud and
obstruction of justice allegations. Meanwhile, opposition
APRA party members are still stirring the pot, threatening to
present a new resolution calling for sanctions against Toledo
on the grounds that he obstructed the Villanueva Committee's
investigation. END SUMMARY.

2. The plenary session began at 09:00 on 5/19 and did not
end until 01:45 on 5/20. Debate centered on the substance of
the Villanueva Committee's report, on whether it was adopted
in accordance with regulations requiring an absolute
majority-plus-one to constitute a quorum (Ref D), on the
three sanctions recommended by opposition members of the
Committee, and on the performance of Committee members during
their investigation, with frequent digressions into personal
insults and impassioned defenses of the honor of those so

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3. In the end, following consultations with the leaders of
the different legislative blocs, Congress President Antero
Flores-Araoz called for a vote on whether Congress should
forward the documents produced by the Villanueva Committee to
the Public Ministry (Attorney General's office) as an
official report or as "everything acted upon." The latter
characterization won by a vote of 56-47. The sanctions
against Toledo proposed by the opposition members of the
Committee (vacating the Presidency, disqualifying Toledo from
holding public office for ten years after his term ends,
suspending the President for "temporary incapacity") were
not/not voted upon.

4. Towards the conclusion of the session, opposition APRA
legislators began circulating a resolution calling for
Toledo's 40-day suspension on the grounds that he obstructed
the work of the Villanueva Committee. According to press
accounts, APRA was able to amass close to 40 signatures,
which would enable them to place this resolution on the
Congressional agenda.

5. Media coverage of the Congress' deliberations has been
uniformly negative, portraying it as a political circus,
highlighting the less savory exchanges between legislators,
and pointing out the overall lack of quality reasoning in the

6. COMMENT: Congress' decisions not to recognize the
Villanueva Committee report as an official document and to
pass it on to the Public Ministry for appropriate handling
effectively archives the Committee's investigation.
Nonetheless, this does not mean that the President can rest
easy. The Public Ministry has been carrying out its own
investigation, as has Anti-Corruption Judge Saul Pena. The
latter reportedly is close to rendering a decision in the
prosecution of Toledo's sister Margarita and others accused
of complicity in the creation and submission of false
signatures to register Toledo's Pais Posible (now Peru
Posible) party in 2000, as well as of GOP and Peru Posible
officials accused of obstructing justice by facilitating the
temporary flight of a key witness (Ref E). Convictions in
those cases could well lead to a revival of charges against
the President. In this respect, APRA's proposed resolution
to suspend Toledo for obstructing the Villanueva Committee's
investigation, while likely to fail, should keep political
tensions high for the immediate future. END COMMENT.

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