The legal battle has begun: the up-till-now Podemos MP Alberto Rodríguez versus the speaker of the Spanish Congress, Meritxell Batet, who executed his removal from office last Friday. Rodríguez has filed a writ in the Supreme Court accusing Batet of amending the sentence against him, and thus bypassing the separation of powers. The defence lawyers of the former leader of Podemos in the Canary Islands has asked the Supreme Court to provisionally suspend the execution of the court sentence that convicts him to 45 days of disqualification from office, but adds that, if this request is not met by the court, it should require the speaker of Congress to execute the punishment given in the same terms as set forth in the sentence.
The appeal lodged by Rodríguez's defence team, led by Isaber Elbal and Gonzalo Boye, is based on the right to effective judicial protection and the right to due process in a trial. He argues that the sentence is already being executed without waiting for the legally prescribed time limit in which he is able to file an incident of nullity, as his first step, prior to appealing for constitutional protection. And all this taking into account the permanent consequences and the irreparable damage that the execution of the sentence entails.
But he also denounces that Batet has transformed the sentence that had been imposed on him into a new one through which he has been deprived of his seat in Congress, a step which he demands must be "corrected".
He warns that the speaker of the Congress has appropriated exclusive powers of the Supreme Court and "has proceeded to replace the sentence imposed with another of a different nature and causing greater damage", substituting the "special disqualification from the right to passive suffrage" with a "deprivation of status as an MP."
The writ argues that Batet assumed as her own the arguments of Vox that asked for Rodríguez to be stripped of his seat, and did so by modifying the sentence, since the Supreme Court's decision did not enable the president to deprive the deputy of his seat, and this was pointed out by the lawyers advising Congress on October 18th, recalling that the Spanish electoral law restricts the removal of a deputy's seat to cases of imprisonment. The text accuses Batet of acting "behind the backs of the Congressional Bureau, to satisfy the Vox party's request."
Separation of powers
"Batet, completely and absolutely disregarding the principle of separation of powers, entering fully into the jurisdictional function that corresponds exclusively to this [Supreme Court] chamber in its functions as the court of execution, allowed herself to modify the operative part of the sentence", alleges the appeal, thus demanding that the Supreme Court rule on this interference.
Faced with these arguments, and noting the rights that are at stake, the Canary Islander's defence lawyers call for the temporary suspension of the execution of the sentence until the appeals provided for in the legal system have been resolved.
In the event that this request is rejected, the appeal ask for the speaker of Congress to be advised to proceed with the execution of the sentence in the terms in which the sentence established.