Listin Diario reports that six months after the arrest by the US judicial authorities of ruling party deputy Miguel Gutierrez Diaz, he continues to keep all his local privileges as a deputy in the National Congress. Gutierrez (PRM-Santiago) was arrested on 18 May 2021 when entering the United States via Miami. Miguel Gutierrez Diaz had been elected deputy in the 7 July 2020 general elections for the PRM for Santiago province with 21,177 votes. Previously, he was a construction businessman (construction) who turned politician in 2019.
After his arrest in May, his brother, Miguel Emilio Gutiérrez Díaz, was also arrested upon traveling to Miami from the Dominican Republic on a commercial flight.
Listin Diario reports that despite the serious charges, the Chamber of Deputies has not begun any process aimed at stripping the Santiago representative of his seat. Earlier, El Nuevo Diario reported that the deputy continues to be paid and maintains his privileges in the Dominican Republic.
The PRM spokesman in Congress has said that the high leadership of the party has not yet looked in the issue of Gutierrez. Julito Fulcar, the spokesperson for the PRM, says that until he is condemned, Gutierrez can keep his status in Congress. He said that the Congress has a ruling that clearly establishes that no legislator can be removed from the post without a formal sentence or political judgement.
Diario Libre reports on four other legislators that face accusations for ties to drug trafficking in the Dominican Republic. Because the deputies have parliamentary immunity, the cases are also being handled by the Supreme Court of Justice that has yet to advance on the hearings.
As reported in Diario Libre on 24 November 2021, the special examining magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) has yet to decide the fate of the other four deputies, three for the ruling Modern Revolutionary Party and one for the Dominican Revolutionary Party) that have been charged by the Public Prosecutor’s Office with money laundering and drug trafficking. Rosa Amalia Pilarte (PRM-La Vega), Nelson Marmolejos Gil (PRM-Santiago), Faustina Guerrero Cabrera (PRM-El Seibo) and Héctor Feliz Feliz (PRD-Pedernales) still are attending legislative sessions.
On 6 July 2021, the Supreme Court appointed Judge Estevez Lavandier to hear the charges against Rosa Amalia Pilarte Lopez. On 16 September 2021, the same judge was assigned to hear the charges against the other three deputies as these have parliamentary immunity. Article 86 of the Constitution of the Republic establishes that: “No senator or deputy may be deprived of freedom during the legislature, without the authorization of the chamber to which the person belongs, except in the case that the person is apprehended in the act of committing a crime.”
Diario Libre reports that the four legislators were present during the Tuesday, November 23 session and, according to the Legislative Information System, they are still active in the committees to which they belong.
Pilarte’s family, according to social networks, recently enjoyed a vacation in a resort in Punta Cana, in the east of the country. A photograph shows the accused with the electronic devices attached to their ankles.
24 November 2021