There were several major points Santos disagreed with, causing him to send the bill back to Congress.
Some of the objections made by the president include:
- terminating the Prosecutor General Office’s authority to continue criminal investigations against public officials. If the bill were to go into effect, about 1,500 investigations into public officials would be interrupted.
- allowing public officials to continue in their positions even after found guilty of any charges or investigations.
- placing the jurisdiction under a single official by eliminating the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Judiciary Counsel. According to Santos, this would cause a collapse of the judicial branch.
“It was not an easy decision. However, the good health of justice and our commitment to transparency and opposing corruption are above everything! Colombians can rest assured,” said the president, adding that this is the first time a Colombian head of state has rejected a bill in an attempt to respect the judiciary order as stated by the Constitution.
Opposition party Polo Democratico boycotted the vote on the bill last week. Party member German Navas called for a referendum on the reform, calling it “a deadly kick for the Constitution.”
The reform was approved by Congress earlier this month, with more than 100 former congressman currently on trial and 38 others sentenced for ties to paramilitary groups.