What is PEC 37 and Why is it SO Important to Brazil?

Saying that it isn’t about 20 cents is the understatement of the year. Sadly, international media is missing the big picture. There is something much more serious going on and it is called PEC 37.

Brazilian congress is attempting to pass an amendment to the constitution that will take away the Brazilian public ministry’s power to investigate crimes. The amendment states that criminal investigations are to remain in the power of the police.

In case you are familiar with the Brazilian government:

“The Public Ministry (Portuguese: Ministério Público) is the Brazilian body of independent public prosecutors, working both at the federal and state level. It operates independently from the three branches of government, and was referred to by Constitutional scholar Michel Temer as the “Fourth Branch.”

This amendment will make corruption that much easier. The public ministry is an important  part of investigations involving public officials and politicians, especially in cases of corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering, tax evasion, among others. Major political scandals have always been investigated by the Public Ministry.

PEC 37 will remove the possibility of government institutions such as State’s attorneys office, COAF, IRS, Ibama, Social Security, Military Police, among other government offices to do criminal investigations.

I consider it a slap in the Brazilian public’s face that this is even being considered. It is a blatant attempt to remove checks and balances in a government that so desperately needs more! Obviously corrupt politicians such as senators Renan Calheiros and José Sarney will have a field day with this amendment.

And I haven’t even gotten to the scariest part. This amendment has already been approved in committee and is up for vote. The vote was supposed to be today but was postponed. They obviously made that move because of all the protests and fear that things would get out of control should it pass… when it passes.

People, an amendment giving corrupt politicians more wiggle room is going to voted on by said politicians. It will pass if something is not done. If it passes, goodness knows what will happen to Brazil’s Order and Progress.




25 thoughts on “What is PEC 37 and Why is it SO Important to Brazil?

  1. If those who motivated Brasilians into the streets to protest the bus fare hikes did so with this “bait and switch” strategy in mind, I have to say they are absolute geniuses. Over 50% of protesters polled said they were in the street to protest the bus fare hikes. Few mentioned PEC 37. But, now that the general public is awake and alert, and confident following the far hike rollbacks, the rally cry can and hopefully will take on this more serious issue.

    Brasilian politicians have no shame, they must be borne in some special place where the shame gene is removed from their brains at an early age. This issue should motivate millions into the street, it is at the very heart of what is most wrong in Brasil today. The arrogance and greed that allows something like this to even be considered is beyond me. I just hope Brasilians will see how serious this is and realize the value of their vote in the 2014 elections, and I hope there will be some new candidates emerging with higher levels of integrity and values, and that those will be recognized as the means of achieving a better Brasil.

    • I truly hope there are new candidates with high levels of integrity. Sadly, I can’t say that I believe it will happen. Law have got to be put in place so that there is punishment for corruption…

      • Just read that the MPL is not going to participate in calling for additional protests, seems their message is being drowned out and they don’t like that. So, they aren’t geniuses they are just selfish.

        Indeed, a population that voted Collor back into office, and keeps electing Sarney, is not one which has much basis to complain about elected officials being corrupt. Imagine US voters electing Richard Nixon to the Senate after he resigned as President. Even Republicans realized he was a crook and wanted nothing to do with him. There would have been no chance at all of his being elected.

        I am told crowds are gathering at General Osorio park in Ipanema. I was hoping Zona Sul would be spared, I suppose I should run to the market to get some vinegar and a Guy Fawkes mask. Go out and get my fair share of abuse. I haven’t smelled tear gas since the WTO meeting in Seattle back in the 90′s.

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  4. I honestly wish with all my heart these guys (Renan Calheiros , Lula , José Sarney etc ) are stoned to death and that Brazil could start from zero. NO JEITINHO this time :)

  5. Rachel ,

    Very few foreigners described tso well the historic moment we are going through, not even famous Washington Post managed todo so…

    Thank you

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  7. Unfortunately, I think you are wrong in this one (not only you, but most brazilians).
    I’m a lawyer, so I read the PEC 37.
    So, what is written there?
    I tell you: “The investigation of criminal offenses is delegated, PRIVATELY, to the federal police and state polices.”

    The fact is that, in the brazilian law, there are diferences between “privately” and “exclusively”.
    Privately = The police COULD delegate the investigation to other persons.
    It means that the PEC 37 wouldn’t “remove the possibility of government institutions such as State’s attorneys office, COAF, IRS, Ibama, Social Security, Military Police, among other government offices to do criminal investigations.”

    Another phrase of yours:
    “Brazilian congress is attempting to pass an amendment to the constitution that will take away the Brazilian public ministry’s power to investigate crimes.”

    This is not true.
    In fact, the Brazilian Constitution DOESN’T allow the investigation by the public ministry (except for its own members). To be completely honest, the Constitution simply doesn’t spend a single word about investigation by the public ministry (like I said, except for its own members).
    It is impossible to take away something that it didn’t have.
    Thus, it doesn’t matter if the PEC 37 was approved or not…’cause the Constitution says “NO”.
    Like we say in Brazil, “é chover no molhado” (take sand to the beach).

    Another big problem:
    In Brazil, there are counsels to supervise the police (1 federal and 1 in each state).
    These counsels are composed by police officers (of course), but also by politicians, state attorneys and prosecutors (PUBLIC MINISTRY).

    But, do you know who supervises the public ministry in Brazil?
    The public ministry itself. Yes, NOBODY else.
    So, they can do whatever they want.
    Can you imagine someone with this power?
    É como estar “com a faca e o queijo nas mãos” (To be in the catbird seat).

    We don’t need a more powerful Public Ministry, we need a stronger Police. With less corruption yes, but with more (WAY MORE) recognition.

    The monthly salary of a state prosecutor in São Paulo? +/- R$ 19.000,00 (US$ 8.536).
    The monthly salary of a state Police Chief (delegado) in São Paulo? +/- R$ 6.000,00 (US$ 2.695).
    The monthly salary of a policeman (policial militar) in São Paulo? +/- R$ 2.563,28 (US$ 1.151).

    • Claus can I just write you directly for help for these kinds of posts? ;)

      I actually looked up this info on numerous Brazilian sites. I suppose, just like in the US, the meaning can be lost when we untrained folk try to explain it!

      Thank you for clarifying.

  8. Unfortuneately, this PEC 37 was passed with almost no media coverage from Globo (state run TV), newspapers or any other media outlet. As an american living in Brazil, it kills me to see the blatent corruption that every citizen is aware of. And now, any attempt at removing it is dead. Way to go politicians, you just condemnded your own people to a life of poverty and misery.

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