Óscar Bautista and his substitute: disclaimer of responsibility

The Congress has an empty seat

By La Orquesta


“You’re going to have to excuse me, I’m campaigning (…) and my license is until July 9”, said PRI deputy Oscar Bautista Villegas when questioned about his departure from office and the possible need for his party to require him back in his position, after his substitute was unable to fill the vacancy that is now deserted, leaving a segment of the population without a representative.

It is one of the most significant cases of the practice called “chapulineo”, a tradition consisting of jumping from position to position without having greater consideration for the responsibility for which they were originally designated. The panorama gets worse given that nobody covers the emptiness, leaving Congress with only 26 active deputies, a number that conditions decision-making and leaves one of the fundamental spaces in which democratic life develops in a vulnerable state.


On last March 26, Bautista Villegas presented before the State Congress a request for a license to leave his position and seek the federal deputation of District III.

When he summoned his deputy, Jesús Quintero Díaz, it was announced that he refused the charge because he is currently in the campaign, seeking the mayoralty of Ciudad Fernández for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), so that District X I would be without a representative.

To Baptist Villegas the situation did not affect him and he reiterated that his license was approved unanimously. “What is going to happen? What Congress wants: call the substitute or call the list of multi-members”.


La Orquesta consulted Jorge Chessal Palau, a graduate in Law, with a Master’s degree in Constitutional Law and Amparo, who pointed out that the exercise of public office is mandatory, that is “if someone in a public position refuses to exercise it (in this case Baptist as incumbent), he has an alternate and the substitute can not refuse to exercise public office, finally he has the obligation to take office. In addition, the lawyer said that the fact that Quintero Diaz is in the campaign is below the requirement made by Congress and would be incurring in irresponsibility, due to the fact that he does not attend his function for holding a public position.

When questioning whether the State Congress could be affected by their functions to be currently 26 deputies (instead of the 27 that marks the law), the lawyer said no, because in the House, decisions are taken by majority: “take into account that there is an absence, but finally the necessary quorum is given so that they can sit down, the congress does not affect it… in any case, it would affect the substitute and the Bautista deputy, who would be responsible for abandonment of public function”.

Chessal Palau, was emphatic to point out that the responsibility of assuming the position rests with the substitute, since Bautista Villegas followed a process to obtain his license and in this sense, the State Congress must call the substitute and in case there is no present, lift the certification of the absence of the day that was convened and proceed to the possible sanctions.

On the other hand Jesús Monsiváis Cerda, aspiring independent candidate for the deputation of District VI, said that the situation of the deputy Óscar Bautista is an example of the little commitment that the deputies have with their obligations “unfortunately I am not surprised the way in which it is ending this term… we have been witnesses of grassroots politicians who are seeking another position of election, despite the fact that it has been a very marked legislature with tremendous cases (sic) of corruption”.

On this subject, Jesus Monsiváis regretted that Congress does not act, however, noted that this attitude is not something new, since throughout the term of the legislature there have been omissions regarding serious questions that have arisen. He also criticized the position of the political parties because with these situations, it is evident that the allocation of candidates is not meditated. “The substitute is obliged to respond when required, but many times we see how these candidacies are distributed as if they were pieces of cake … there is no knowledge of the districts that will be represented”.

Monsiváis Cerda lamented that during this electoral process it will be clear that the only thing that has interested parties is to keep their colors in some position “without really caring if there is any analysis or knowledge of those who are running”. The candidate for independent candidate reiterated that these scandals only encourage “a media circus, in what Congress has become.”

In addition, said that even when the State Congress take a legal measure, would pay very little to redress the image that citizens have and also noted that the responsibility of citizens, is to aim for an informed vote that is the only tool that has , before the embarrassing events in which the officials have been involved.

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