The Senate passed a bill Tuesday that will see the granting of extraordinary powers to the government for six months to divide and restructure ministries and state agencies, El Tiempo reports.
The main focus point of the bill, which was passed by a vote of 65 to 7, will be the reordering of the DAS, Colombia’s drug enforcement agency DNE, and prison authority INPEC.
The DAS and the DNE have been particularly embattled in recent years with the DAS shown to be culpable in the illegal wiretapping government opponents under the administration of Alvaro Uribe, and top officials of the DNE currently under investigation for the allegedly corrupt management of seized assets.
Last week, the Conservative Party had threatened to stall the bill, thus damaging Santos’ National Unity coalition, for fear that the proposal would enable a “labor massacre” in the two agencies.
However, the party gave their backing to the bill on Tuesday prior to a vote and were subsequently assured by Minister for the Interior and Justice German Vergas Lleras that workers will be protected.
In a new paragraph proposed by the government, it was stated that, “if it was strictly necessary to abolish positions, those affected will be relocated or reinstated in accordance with existing law.”
President Juan Manuel Santos will now have six months to issue decrees regarding the restructuring process.