Deputy Mario Castillo, a representative of the current government party Citizen Action Party (PAC), announced on Monday his resignation from the legislative
immunity right to proceed with the investigation for having been arrested for allegedly drunk driving. - TV Cartago photo -
Published Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Deputy Mario Castillo, a representative of the current government party Citizen Action Party (PAC), announced on Monday his resignation from the legislative immunity right to proceed with the investigation for having been arrested for allegedly drunk driving.
Parliamentary immunity, also known as legislative immunity, is a system in which members of the parliament or legislature are granted partial immunity from prosecution.
The controversial case began Sunday night at approximately 8 p.m. when Castillo was driving his car to his house located in Cartago Province. He lost control of the car while allegedly inebriated and crashed into an electricity service utility pole.
The deputy was arrested and taken to the Public Ministry for allegedly being suspected of drunk driving.
Castillo posted on his social media the letter he sent to Congress announcing his decision to renounce his immunity.
“Acknowledging is the first step to move forward. I have submitted to the Legislative Board my voluntary and irrevocable resignation of legislative immunity to put myself at the order of the authorities and face my responsibilities,” the deputy wrote in a statement published on his social media.
“By this means and in accordance with article 110 of the Political Constitution, I communicate my voluntary and irrevocable rejection of the immunity that covers me as a deputy of the Republic of Costa Rica to face the criminal case that is being processed against me for the facts exposed in the previous paragraphs for the alleged crime of reckless driving.”
He said the accident happened when he lost control of his car, causing him to crash with an electric service pole. "As a result of that, I suffered several blows that required attention at a nearby medical center. Fortunately, no other person was injured," he said.
Castillo apologized to Costa Ricans for this incident because of his reckless decision to drive after drinking alcoholic beverages.
"I understand how blameworthy this situation is, since being a deputy of the Republic requires me to act responsibly in all areas of my life," he said. "It is a serious personal mistake of which I will assume all consequences."
A video of Castillo’s accident was posted by the local news channel TV Cartago on their social media.
This is the second case that recently has made headlines on the local news about an elected official who is arrested for allegedly drunk driving.
In May, Wilber Madriz-Arguedas, Mayor of Puntarenas Canton in Puntarenas Province, was fined for breaking the ban-on driving rule.
According to Madriz, that day he was having lunch at a local restaurant on Saturday afternoon before the soccer match between the Puntarenas F.C. (PFC) and Guanacasteca Sports Association teams. He admitted he drank 4 beers and a few hours later he drove to the Lito Perez stadium in Puntarenas, where the game was scheduled.
The mayor had to be present at the stadium as part of his duties as a member of the commission of representatives of the municipality, the Ministry of Sports, the Ministry of Health among other organizations. They had to ensure that the sanitary guidelines were being respected to avoid crowds and the risk of increased covid-19 contagion.
However, before reaching the stadium Madriz was stopped while he passed through the street where a routine stop by the traffic officers was taking place.
According to Madriz, his first offense was that the license plate number of his car was banned from driving on Saturday giving officers a reason to stop him.
Once stopped, Traffic Police officers gave the mayor the driving under the influence test, DUI. Resulting positive for "lower" alcohol consumption, Madriz said.
The officers proceeded to remove the license plates from the car and apply the corresponding fine to the mayor.
The municipality of Puntarenas has not addressed the mayor's actions during his duties yet.
What is the penalty for an elected official caught drunk driving in your country? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to email@example.com
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