Former Undersecretary of Government destabilizes Pantelhó

Assembly of Pantelhó during the naming of the municipal authorities on August 10th, 2021. Photo: Isaín Mandujano

by Ángeles Mariscál

Pedro Gómez Gómez, former Undersecretary of Government, arrived in Pantelhó as the municipality’s accountant, after the appointment of the government council and the public appearance of the self-defense group Los Machetes.

Inhabitants of Pantelhó created self-defense groups to expel members of criminal groups and appoint their authorities according to the indigenous normative system, but months later, the municipality was again destabilized by an alleged fraud of which Pedro Gómez Gómez, former Undersecretary of Government of the Highlands region, is formally accused.

Pedro Gómez Gómez has held the positions of municipal president of El Bosque (2011-2012), undersecretary of government in the Altos zone (2017), and federal congressman for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI- 2015). In 2018 he again tried to run for the municipal presidency of El Bosque.

Previously, between 2005 and 2008, he was general accountant for the municipality of Larrainzar, general coordinator of Administration in the municipality of Jitototol and, according to his resume, for 13 years, he was an analyst for the Ministry of Finance of the government of Chiapas.

He came to Pantelhó “recommended” in December 2021, when the Congress of Chiapas acknowledged the government council elected months before in an assembly where thousands of inhabitants of that municipality participated.

The new town council made up of councilors Pedro Cortés López, Miguel Hernández Pérez, Sandra Luz Gutiérrez Cruz, Petrona Entzín Méndez and Antonio Jiménez Cortés, sought those who would occupy the administrative and accounting positions; it was there when Pedro Gómez Gómez managed, through recommendations, recalls Pedro Cortés, to gain confidence and be appointed as the municipality’s accountant.

The recent history of Pantelhó was a milestone for Chiapas and an international reference point, because the indigenous Tsotsil population organized to expel people accused of having links to organized crime.

The inhabitants of the municipality located in the highlands of Chiapas formed an armed self-defense group, Los Machetes, which gained legitimacy in this country where criminal groups have become embedded in the different spheres of government and society; it was in this context that the self-defense groups of Pantelhó managed to stop this situation in their municipality.

The four months that followed the appointment of the Government Council of Pantelhó continued, until in April 2022 the city council received a requirement from the Superior Audit Office of the State of Chiapas, which pointed out that during this period, they did not present the state of the public account; that is, they did not declare what was being done with approximately 135 million pesos of public resources assigned to the municipality.

In his position as councilman president, Pedro Cortés asked the municipal accountant, Pedro Gómez Gómez, to clarify and prove the use of the treasury resources. In an interview, Pedro Cortés explained that the accountant Perdo Gómez Gómez refused to deliver them, so the full municipal council decided to remove him from office.

Afterwards, he said, a new accountant was appointed, who started an internal audit and found that there was no accounting for the use of public resources, which could constitute a crime that compromises the entire city council and the municipal stability.

Given the seriousness of the situation, on May 5, the presiding councilor went to the offices of the Superior Audit Office of Chiapas to file a formal complaint against Pedro Gómez Gómez and/or whoever is responsible, “for the existence of various anomalies in the rendering of accounts, which could constitute criminal acts,” states the document of which this newspaper has a copy.

The document details that after the notification of the audit to expose the public account, it terminated the services of the accused and of his accounting team. Also, upon finding anomalies, he decided to file a formal complaint for the possible crimes of damages and financial impairment to the municipality of Pantelhó.

…..

According to the presiding councilor Pedro Cortés, after the decision to file the formal complaint, Pedro Gómez Gómez and others who could be accomplices or co-participants in the financial irregularities, created an adverse environment in the municipality for him and the rest of the councilors. Because of this, on May 14, a group of residents took them out of their homes and, by force, took them to one of the communities of Pantelhó where, without allowing them to speak, they forced them to sign their resignation as municipal authorities, in addition to blank sheets of paper.

For fear of losing their lives, they signed, although he points out that legally the resignation will not proceed because the process was forced.

Pedro Cortés explained in an interview that out of fear, he and other members of the town council left the municipality, and in order to clarify the facts and return to the search for stability and social peace in the town, they decided to file a formal criminal complaint, so that the state government authorities would investigate what happened.

On May 16, the president councilor presented himself at the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Corruption, which received his complaint under registry number 0190-101-1301-2022. The complaint is against Pedro Gómez Gómez and those responsible.

…..

Pedro Cortés explains that as a result of this situation and the disinformation that was created in the municipality to hide the possible crime of irregular use of public funds, on May 17, residents of Pantelhó were taken under threats or deceit to the Congress of Chiapas to demand a change of authorities.

The president councilor considers that the crisis now being experienced again in the municipality of Pantelhó can be resolved, once it is clarified what happened and who is involved. For this reason, he demands that the facts denounced before the Superior Audit Office of Chiapas and the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Corruption be investigated.

Pedro Cortés explained that the 20 representatives of the communities, and the population in general, have expressed their solidarity with the Council, and seek respect for the rules of coexistence agreed upon during last year’s mobilizations, when they established that their struggle is for peace, tranquility and justice in the municipality.

This article was published in Chiapas Paralelo on May 19th, 2022. https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2022/05/ex-subsecretario-de-gobierno-desestabiliza-pantelho/ English interpretation by Schools for Chiapas.

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