Colombia’s imprisoned former health minister has admitted to bribing members of congress to allow the 2006 reelection of former President Alvaro Uribe, local media reported Tuesday.
While applying to be included in a transitional justice system, Former Minister Diego Palacio reportedly admitted to the bribery of former House Representative Yidis Medina, who has also been sentenced for accepting the bribe and subsequently changing her mind on the vote.
The House of Representatives voted in June 2004 over a constitutional amendment that allowed Uribe to run for a second consecutive turn, something the constitution never allowed and was later reversed by current President Juan Manuel Santos.
The purpose of the bribe was to allow the 2006 reelection bid of Uribe who won the election in a landslide.
Paramilitary commanders later admitted to intimidating voters during the 2002 and 2006 elections, both were which were won by Uribe.
Palacio has admitted to bribing Medina in exchange for her key vote to change the Constitution and allow Uribe’s reelection bid.
According to Medina, the mastermind behind the bribery was the former president, not any of his convicted aides.
Uribe has continued to deny these allegations.
Medina had already been sentenced in 2008 for accepting the bribe she revealed in the media after the Uribe administration failed to deliver on the notary offices it had promised in exchange for her vote.
The former minister has asked to be included in a war crimes tribunal, claiming that the Uribe administration deemed the president’s reelection necessary to continue its war against Marxist FARC rebels.
The Executive Secretary of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), Nestor Raul Correa, confirmed on Tuesday that a judge will examine Palacio’s request to be included in the transitional justice system.
“The JEP will decide whether or not the case is related to the conflict,” Correa said at an event in Bogota, reported newspaper El Espectador.
This admission is the latest in a long list of crimes committed by former Uribe aides including embezzlement, ties to paramilitary groups, and illegally spying on the Supreme Court magistrates, human rights groups and opposition politicians.
Uribe’s brother is in jail awaiting trial for his alleged role in founding “The 12 Apostles,” an extreme-right death squad that committed multiple homicides in the Uribes’ home province of Antioquia.