Just over a month after his first testimony, the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, will return this Tuesday (8) to Covid’s CPI. The senators will question him precisely about the only point he was assertive about: the autonomy to work and assemble a team.
Initially, the minister’s recall was due to the lack of answers to the congressmen’s questions. However, events in recent days have put Queiroga’s word about his strength to lead actions to fight the pandemic in check.
The senators’ attention is drawn to new evidence of the existence of a parallel advisory office to President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s decision to host the Copa América and the testimony of physician Luana Araújo, who was dismissed from her post in the ministry before taking office.
Queiroga will be the first authority to return to testify at the CPI. In the first, he angered senators by not answering most of the questions, claiming he was short on the job, and by not commenting on Bolsonaro’s actions so as not to make “judgmental judgments.”
The minister, however, guaranteed that he had full autonomy to carry out his work.
“I received a single recommendation from the President of the Republic: for all public resources that reached the Ministry of Health to be reverted into public policies to serve our society,” he told the CPI.
“I didn’t deal with the president about protocols, about medications, there wasn’t any conversation of this nature, and the president gave me autonomy to form a technical team,” he said.
In the assessment of the CPI rapporteur, Renan Calheiros (MDB-AL), Luana’s testimonies and Queiroga’s silence about the football tournament made it clear that he does not have the independence to make decisions in the portfolio.
“Circumstances showed that Queiroga lied, omitted, did not give any information, showed that he was unaware of the existing policies of the Ministry of Health, but tried to convey the idea that he had autonomy, unlike Mandetta and Teich,” said Renan, referring to to former ministers Luiz Henrique Mandetta and Nelson Teich.
“The episode of Luana, however, demonstrated the opposite, completely. And the episode of the Copa America as well. He [Queiroga] silenced, remained silent, when it would be up to him not to recommend the realization of it in Brazil”, said the rapporteur.
In testimony, Luana said she did not know the reasons why she did not remain in office, but said that Queiroga informed her that “his name would not pass the Civil House”. It was announced, but its name was not published in the Official Gazette of the Union.
For Renan, the Ministry of Health, in practice, is what congressmen have called a parallel cabinet. “The central ministry is the shadow cabinet, because the cabinet is still in operation.”
Renan pondered that, although they have not set a date for ex-minister Eduardo Pazuello to testify in the Senate, the commission has not lost sight of him.
Senator Alessandro Vieira (Cidadania-SE) follows the same line. “I believe that the main thing will be to understand whether the autonomy necessary for a technical project is made possible or we are in the same sequence as Teich and Mandetta. The other points are accessories,” he said.
Humberto Costa (PT-PE) stated that the Senate, at Queiroga’s request, had given a “vote of confidence” in him and that this will now be demanded.
“He assured us that it would be worth it because he had the autonomy to assemble his team. In the end, we saw that it was not quite like that. He was not able to appoint even a position as secretary,” said the PT member.
The CPI must also start a new offensive to investigate information regarding the parallel cabinet.
The majority group that controls the commission’s actions has agreed to call the two main names linked to a video, which surfaced last week, of an event broadcast in September 2020 on Bolsonaro’s social networks with virologist doctor Paolo to the stand. Zanotto and Federal Deputy Osmar Terra (MDB-RS).
In a meeting last Sunday night (6), the senators decided that Zanotto will be summoned, while Terra, being a congressman, will only be invited.
Although there is still no consensus, a series of requests for breaches of confidentiality are also on the agenda of this Tuesday’s session to try to promote a levy on the members of the so-called parallel cabinet. What generates the most controversy is that of councilor Carlos Bolsonaro (Republicanos-RJ), the president’s son.
The application, if approved, can break all confidentiality of telephones, since March of last year, and of internet communication, including conversations in messaging applications.
There are also requirements for the breach of confidentiality of Pazuello and former Chancellor Ernesto Araújo; the secretary of Labor Management and Education of the Ministry of Health, Mayra Pinheiro; the former Secretary of Communication of the Presidency Fabio Wajngarten; the international advisor to the Presidency Filipe Martins; and businessman Carlos Wizard.
Initially, members of the majority group intended to approve the block applications. However, there is fear of questioning in the STF (Supreme Federal Court) and a ripple effect in case of a favorable measure.
The senators must also vote on the request to collect statements from the president who is removed from the CBF, Rogério Caboclo, the secretary of Institutional Communication of the Presidency Felipe Cruz Pedri and the doctor Ludhmila Hajjar, who was asked to take over the Health department after Pazuello’s departure.
Queiroga’s testimony, this Tuesday, will be the first of a week with a full schedule at the CPI.
This Wednesday (9), it will be the turn of the former executive secretary of Health and current civil servant Élcio Franco, Pazuello’s right-hand man.
Franco was initially supposed to appear at the CPI on May 27th. However, he argued that he was still recovering after contracting the new coronavirus.
On Thursday (10), the testimony of the governor of Amazonas, Wilson Lima (PSC), is scheduled to address the collapse of the state’s health system. On Friday (11), the commission will receive specialists Nathália Pasternak and Claudio Maierovitch.
Testimonials of the week
Marcelo Queiroga (Tuesday, 8)
Minister of Health
Élcio Franco (Wednesday, 9)
Former Executive Secretary of Health
Wilson Lima (Thursday 10)
Governor of Amazonas
Natalia Pasternak (sexta, 11)
Researcher at USP and president of the IQC (Instituto Questão de Ciência)
Claudio Maierovich (Friday, 11)
Health doctor at Fiocruz Brasília and president of Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) between 2003 and 2005