Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos condemned his political rival for the presidency Oscar Ivan Zuluaga on Tuesday, for hiding behind a “smoke screen” in order to not answer questions about his links to a recent wiretapping scandal.
In a speech delivered from Cartagena, President Santos stated that Zuluaga, is using “filthy and misleading practices to evade his responsibilities” and that his Democratic Center (Centro Democratico – CD) party is using “smoke screens” to protect the candidate from a recent wiretapping scandal.
Santos was referring to the relationship between Zuluaga’s now ex-campaign manager Luis Alfonso Hoyos and arrested “hacker” Andres Sepulveda.
Hoyos, who was videotaped entering a national news office with Sepulveda on a day the latter allegedly attempted to sell the news station classified information, has already resigned over the scandal, though he denies any wrongdoing.
The said classified information was gained through a wiretapping operation uncovered when agents from the Prosecutor General’s technical investigation team (CTI) raided an apartment in northern Bogota, discovering surveillance equipment and classified military intelligence about ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the FARC rebel group in Havana, Cuba.
Hoyos promptly announced his resignation on Wednesday stating that the choice was made in order to stop the scandal from affecting Zuluaga’s presidential candidacy, an aspect against which Santos spoke out strongly.
“It’s amazing how far it has gone…the obsession to regain power at any cost…if this is how he behaves as a candidate, what can we expect from him as president?”
Zuluaga admitted on Monday to having met with the hacker but denied knowledge of his illegal activities and has asked that the smear campaign against him stop.