Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez has submitted a request to Colombia’s State Council demanding that the high court stops reviewing an appeal challenging his dismissal and political ban of Bogota‘s mayor.
In a move that was anticipated by most Colombian media, the inspector general asked the State Council — one of the nation’s four high courts — on Tuesday to stop reviewing an appeal made by recently reinstated Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro concerning the mayor’s initial order to be dismissed from office.
Ordoñez ordered Petro’s dismissal from his mayorship in December of 2013 due to “irregularities” concerning the conversion of Bogota’s garbage collection system from private to public contracts.
After five months of legal battle, Petro was officially reinstated to his post last week by President Juan Manuel Santos by order of a district appellate court of Bogota.
This lower — if not random — court’s decision however, upstaged Colombia’s State Council, as the high court was expected to release a defining decision on the matter just days after the call to Santos was placed.
After turning down near 300 “tutelas” or writs of protection submitted by Petro in mid-March, the State Council agreed to hear an appeal filed by Petro, and take one last look at the case, this time focusing on whether Ordoñez’s punishment — dismissal from office and a 15 year ban from participating in politics — was appropriate considering the accused wrongdoing.
The court was predicted to rule in favor of Petro, however two days before the anticipated decision, Bogota’s Superior Court stole the show and ordered Petro’s reinstatement.
Because the lower court based its decision not on the overreaching nature of the inspector general’s order, but rather on a mandate from an international commission, the State Council has continued discussing Petro’s appeal, even after the mayor has seen his position restored.
This is the discussion that Ordoñez challenged on Tuesday, on the grounds that Petro has a “bad habit” of presenting his appeals poorly outside of the norm of how “these types of processes,” according to Bogota’s Santa Fe radio station.
The State Council has until this Friday to respond to the inspector general’s demand, according to Caracol Radio.
Meanwhile, President Santos has also challenged the appellate court ruling that ordered the head of state to restore Petro to the Mayor’s Office. This case is expected to go to the Supreme Court of Colombia, another high court.