The Unidad Presidencial de Análisis de Datos (UPAD) has its latest victim, the Ministro de la Presidencia (Chief of Staff), Victor Morales, who announced his resignation on Wednesday, one day after his appearance before the Legislative Assembly where he faced an interrogation over his role in the political scandal.
In his appearance, Morales admitted to legislators that he failed to make a close reading of the decree creating the Presidential Data Analysis Unit (UPAD), before signing it.
In his resignation letter, Morales said the legislative motion of censure being discussed against him would prevent him from being the voice required to push the reform agenda promoted by the Government in Congress.
“The process of this motion of censure and its vote in the legislative plenary, whatever the result, implies an irremediable deterioration of my legitimacy as a driver of the dialogue between the Executive Power with the members of the Legislative Power,” said the former Chief of Staff.
Morales will return to his legislative bench next week.
The decree, published on February 17 and repealed on the 21st, was intended to give the Presidential Data Analysis Unit access to confidential information of the inhabitants in the hands of public institutions.
On Monday, March 2, during an appearance (that turned into an interrogation) in the floor of the Legislative Assembly, Morales said: “On my part there was an omission of a leisurely and quiet reading (of the decree). If I had done so, we would not be in the discussion we are in, because I would have advised on the possible interpretations.”
His resignation occurs at a time when Legislators were to discuss a motion of censure against him, for having signed the decree.
Both the Prosecutor’s Office and the Legislative Assembly are investigating the case.
President Carlos Alvarado, who was not present during Morales’s announcement, posted on Twitter a message of thanks to the former minister minutes after the press conference ended.
“I thank Víctor Morales Mora for his work as Minister of the Presidency. Our commitment to building a solid democracy and a prosperous country continues. I will be grateful now for your work from the Legislative Assembly, ”the president wrote.
Agradezco a Víctor Morales Mora su labor como Ministro de la Presidencia. Nuestro compromiso con la construcción de una democracia sólida y un país próspero continúa. Agradeceré ahora su trabajo desde la Asamblea Legislativa. pic.twitter.com/qghQvNFp31
— Carlos Alvarado Quesada (@CarlosAlvQ) March 4, 2020
Morales Mora assumed the Ministry of the Presidency on August 1, 2019, replacing Rodolfo Piza.
On Tuesday night, two vice-ministers also resigned. One is Daniel Soto, Vice Minister of Planning, who signed the decree together with Morales and President Carlos Alvarado.
The other is Juan Alfaro, Deputy Minister of Finance. He resigned knowing that a UPAD data, named Alejandro Madrigal, sent a draft “confidentiality contract” to the General Superintendence of Financial Institutions to access information from the Credit Information Center (CIC) ), in which Alfaro appeared representing the Ministry of the Presidency. Alfaro argues that he never agreed to put his name.
Also resigned are Felly Salas, head of the president’s office; Diego Fernández, data analysis coordinator; and Luis Salazar, former legal advisor to the Presidency. All three are being investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office in the UPAD case.
Two more data analysts, as well as President Carlos Alvarado, Víctor Morales and former Deputy Minister Michael Soto are also under investigation for alleged violation of personal data.