Pedro Hernández Mateo, who had been mayor in Torrevieja for 23 years and who was a former deputy of the Valencian PP, was found guilty of manipulating the contract for waste collection in the town and was sentenced to three years in prison.
During the trial, the court found that he had deliberately set out to make one company stand out and in doing so allowed the 97.8 million euro contract to go to UTE Necso Entrecanales-Grupo Generala de Servicios.
Yesterday, Mateo asked the High Court to suspend his imprisonment whilst the Ministry of Justice filed an appeal for clemency. The request will be resolved shortly, that could well happen today. The Green party in Torrevieja are vehemently opposed to both the request for suspension and for clemency and have gathered over 1,400 signatures in their petition.
The new broom in Valencia and in the country as a whole, are keen to stamp out corruption in politics and so they face a dilemma. If the appeal for suspension and more to the point, clemency are allowed to go through, this will be seen as weakness. No matter what the circumstances are, they need to be seen to be firm otherwise every other case that follows will take the same precedent. Let’s face it, Mateo got caught for this one, how many other scandals did he get away with during his 23 years as mayor?