Meetings, appeals, hearings, interviews, controversies and even the unexpected meeting of three presidents, some with profound differences, constituted an important week for the election of the new Comptroller General of the Republic, a process in which merit The promised to be a protagonist, but it ended up in a real power struggle between heavyweights of politics.
And although only next Monday, the entire Congress will elect the successor of Edgardo Maya Villazón, this important seat in the control body and has a favorite to occupy it: the general exauditor of the Republic and current executive director of the National Federation of Departments, Carlos Felipe Córdoba. However, many things happened before this name was reached.
The debate began last weekend when the Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS) unveiled the qualifications of the knowledge and experience tests of each of the candidates, choosing 59 candidates, who were heard in an accidental committee of the Congress, which made a filter to leave the best 10.
There were strong names such as those of ex-minister Wilson Ruiz, the president of the Colombian Federation of Farmers (Fedegan), José Félix Lafaurie, that of the General Inspector Carlos Felipe Córdoba, next to José O & # 39; meara, Marco Antonio Velilla, Alonso Pio Fernandez, Julio César Cárdenas, José Joaquín Plata, Gilberto Rondón, and the only woman in the deck, Maritza Del Socorro Jiménez.
At that time, when it was barely Tuesday and the plenary meetings of both the House of Representatives and the Senate had to listen to the ten aspirants, the various groups already had a glimpse of the Capitol walks on whom you would be a candidate. are for the watchdog, but soon they started to make the support official.
The first party to announce their support to a candidate was the conservatives, who initially opted for the former magistrate Wilson Ruiz. However, this group withdrew on Friday and decided to accompany the examiner Carlos Córdoba, who also voted unanimously for the liberals after a meeting with former president César Gaviria.
"We believe that Carlos Felipe Córdoba has the qualities to be an excellent Comptroller and also offers the guarantees of seriousness and impartiality that this position requires.We believe that he will not use his office politically, nor to to favor the government, nor to pursue it without justification and that offers peace and guarantees, "said Hernán Andrade, president of the conservative party.
The U-party and Radical Change have also announced his support for Córdoba, making him the strongest candidate in the elections that are held Monday in full in Congress. "The Court's decision, made up of Cambio Radical and the Partido de la U, is that as far as the Court of Audit of the Republic is concerned, Dr. Carlos Felipe Córdoba's candidacy is supported, and it was unanimously voted by both parties," said Aurelio Iragorri, president of the U. Party.
But even though Cordoba was always in the bickering of favorites, the familiarity today means a turn of the screw to predictions and expectations of the last few weeks, making José Félix Lafaurie most likely staying with the Comptroller.
Yes, the president of Fedegan arrives next Monday to the Congress of the Republic with the support of Uribismo, which after a vote of the bank ratified him as their candidate. Even the Democratic Center visited a meeting last Thursday, which lasted about eight hours with various delegates from other parties, to reach a consensus for the election of Lafaurie. And although political figures such as former vice-president Germán Vargas Lleras, César Gaviria, Aurelio Iragorri and other conservative and liberal congressmen came to the meeting, they did not reach agreement and the name Carlos Felipe Córdoba gained strength.
That same day, the country was surprised when the Presidents Álvaro Uribe, César Gaviria and Andrés Pastrana met at the Hotel de la Ópera in the center of Bogotá, an encounter that took place despite the constant differences they have had in recent years. many expected that they would give a name about the future controller. In the end, however, this name was not known and the meeting ended with an agreement on the legislative agenda of the country in support of the government of Duque.
The one who has waited for many sectors was the nod of the president of the republic, Iván Duque Márquez, who met with each of the Congress proposals last Thursday, but finally failed to announce his support to one of the candidates, thus scenario for Uribismo became more difficult.
"In this Much has been said about the Comptroller and some facts, and I want to say that we do not have a candidate from the government and that we will tilt the balance for nothing because we respect the way institutions should be treated, "Duque said during an event in Cali.
The opposition did not play a prominent role in this scenario and did not announce support in the middle of the process. The green party, for example, listened to the five candidates who obtained the best scores at a conference hearing and – according to Colprensa- only until the morning of Monday they decided on the support they would offer as a bank.
In this way, Carlos Felipe Córdoba has the greatest chance of being the new head of the control body. Of the supports announced by the different groups this week, it could add about 169 votes, which would guarantee the appointment as a new auditor.
In the meantime, José Félix Lafaurie, who won 33 votes in the Democratic Center's vote and with possible support from Colombia Justa y Libres and Mira, would reach 59 votes in the elections around Friday. However, as is known, nothing has been written in politics
THE POWER BEFORE THE COMPTROLLER
There are several reasons why the election of the new controller this great bid from the parties to their candidate in office to have. On the one hand, it is possible to send one of the largest agencies in the country in terms of budget and officials.
The Comptroller has approximately 4,300 employees and a budget of 476,000 million pesos in the 2018 period, in addition to 32 regional headquarters in each of the country's departments. This control body is the third largest in the country, preceded by the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Nation, which has an operational budget of 3.3 billion pesos, and the Prosecutor General of the nation, with a budget of 570.838 million
However, for some analysts, although the bureaucratic force that is achieved when it comes in the direction of this control entity is important, this political impulse really comes about because the congressmen play with the election of the controller. "Rest" for the next four years.
"I believe that bureaucratic control is one of the problems that have to be taken into account because there are a significant number of officers and good contract capacity, but this is not the central point." As the powers and capabilities of the Comptrollers Office With diligence and righteousness being used, this entity would surely bring many people into trouble and this is very well known to the congressmen, since they could be discovered in the regions, "said Jorge Iván Cuervo, the political analyst and teacher from the Externado University.
Precisely, in recent years, five governors, seven ex-governors, eight mayors and 45 former mayors have been investigated for irregularities in the management of public funds. In addition, significant cases of corruption in the use of royalties were discovered, the School Feeding Program (PAE), Reficar, the Hemophilia Cartel, the Poster for the Mentally Ill, the case of the national games in Ibagué, among others. .
According to the same Comptrollers Office, it has initiated 4,250 tax liability processes in the past four years for an amount of 21.6 billion pesos in different parts of the country and costs were charged for 7.6 billion pesos. Similarly, more than 2000 audits were carried out and more than 36,000 administrative findings were identified for a value of 14.2 billion pesos.
MERITOCRACIA VS. POLITICAL FORCE
The new auditor's election was the first major political pulse at the beginning of this legislature in which each of the political parties has shown his cards to take charge of this important entity, despite the fact that a search was made for the election of the new head of Comptroller by merit.
Jorge Ivan Cuervo emphasized that there was an imbalance in this electoral process because it ultimately became too much the political factor on the technical aspect, which must be paramount.
"The election of the controller is the first moment when the president and the various parties measure their political forces and then give us the impression that in such an important position, with so many consequences in the fight against corruption, technical person must be chosen, independent and who knows the subject very well, but what ultimately was a political impulse to see who places their candidate without necessarily being the best, "Cuervo said.
Mauricio Jaramillo, professor of political science and government of the Universidad del Rosario, emphasized for his part that such a control entity should not be politicized because it loses its capacity to develop its most important audit objective.
"There must be no political interference in the elections, but must be based on the merits of each of the candidates We can not deny that many of them can have political ties, but what is wrong is that the parties using it as a fort for their campaigns, "Jaramillo said.
Meanwhile, the director of the accounting program at the Central University, María Victoria Neira, said that this election involves the control of the implementation of public funds, so it is important that the chosen person have the best conditions for the position has.
"There are some problems of background that are at stake with the election given the scope that the Comptroller-General has with regard to the processes of fiscal control and the protection of public goods and resources, as well as the finances of The State It is very important that the responsible person has all the technical and personal circumstances to perform this task, "Neira explained.
However, the director believes that, in addition to the bureaucratic power, it is the responsibility to carry out a tax audit of the country's public funds, where corruption and waste are most often generated.
"More than one power, it is the responsibility to exercise fiscal control when a very thorough understanding of the mechanisms and tools required is required, they are available to carry out that control, but also to separate issues related to government issues and the specific activities developed by the entities using public funds, "Neira said.
In that sense, Jaramillo emphasized that the Comptrollers Office exists as a kind of counterweight between the powers and therefore it is important that what the entity represents is not political symbolism but one that is focused on vigilance and control.  Cuervo agreed to this statement, which emphasized that "what usually happens to the controller is that they make statements, they get angry, they present figures, but when they want to start doing things and want to do research immediately, they fall and they become entangled, so the political class is served by a controller, a prosecutor and even a prosecutor who develops a symbolic management, but does not mess it up. "
This way the country will know Monday who will be the new general controller when Make the election in the Congress of the Republic among the 10 candidates, where the one with more possibilities is the examiner Carlos Felipe Córdoba.
– CARLOS FELIPE CÓRDOBA  He is a professional in the government and international relations of the Externado University of Colombia, and has served as general deputy controller and auditeur General of the Republic. In the evaluation conducted by the Industrial University of Santander (UIS) he gained 86 points in the knowledge test and 60.5 points in his experience.
– WILSON RUIZ
He is a lawyer at VU University Amsterdam, Specialist in Administrative Law. He was an attorney general, magistrate and president of the Supreme Court for the Judiciary. In the knowledge test he gained 72 points, while in his experience he gained 74 points.
– JOSÉ FÉLIX LAFAURIE
He is a civil engineer and holds a master's degree from Javeriana University. He served as deputy controller, chief inspector of notaries and clerk and chief inspector of companies. He is currently President of the Colombian Federation of Farmers (Fedegan). In the knowledge test he gained 88 points and only gained 30 points in his resume.
– JOSÉ ANDRÉS O & # 39; MEARA RIVEIRA
He is a lawyer from the university Sergio Arboleda and has practiced his professional career as director of political affairs of the Ministry of the Interior, deputy controller of the defense sector , justice and security, and in recent years he was president and executive director of the law firm O & # 39; Meara & Asociados. He got 70 points in his resume and 80 in knowledge.
– ALONSO PIO FERNÁNDEZ
He is a lawyer of Sergio Arboleda University, with a licentiate degree in administrative law. He was head of the Legal Department of the Colombian Railways Company (Ferrovías), National Legal Adviser to the Colombian Agricultural Research Corporation (Corpoica) and General Legal Director of the Ministry of Agriculture. In the knowledge test he scored 60 points, while in his experience he scored 68 points.
– GILBERTO RONDÓN
He is a lawyer of the Catholic University of Colombia, has served as a representative of the House and as magistrate of the National Electoral Council (CNE) and held various functions in the executive branch. He gained 72 points in the knowledge tests and 42.5 points in the resume.
– MARCO ANTONIO VELILLA
He is a lawyer of the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, has served as magistrate of the Council of State and has been an advisor and member of some boards of directors of public and private companies. In the evaluation of his CV achieved 53.5 points, while in knowledge reached 66 points.
– JULIO CÉSAR ALBERTO CÁRDENAS
He is a lawyer of the Externado University, he is Secretary General of the Transportadora de Gas Internacional (TGI), a company of the Energy Group of Bogotá; Deputy Comptroller General of the Republic (responsible), deputy controller in the infrastructure and regional development sector, deputy controller in the agricultural sector. In the knowledge test he gained 84 points and obtained 65 points in his resume.
– JOSÉ JOAQUÍN PLATA
He is a lawyer of the Autonomous University of Bucaramanga and is president and magistrate of the National Electoral Council (CNE) and assistant controller in the General Comptroller of Santander. In the knowledge test she gained 70 points and in her experience she gained 47.5 points.
– MARITZA DEL SOCORRO JIMÉNEZ
She is a lawyer at Gran Colombia University and specializes in public management and fiscal responsibility. He was head of the legal office of the Invías, deputy director of the revision of the royalties at the National Planning Department (DNP), Comptroller deputy for tax judgments in the Office of the Comptroller-General of the Nation. In the knowledge test he gained 66 points and in his experience he got 47 points.