Senator Marcos Rogério (DEM-RO), 42, is known by more than one nickname in Covid’s CPI. To the customer’s taste.
For allies of President Jair Bolsonaro (no party), he is the most efficient watchdog in the pack that defends the government against accusations of malice and omission in the fight against the pandemic. The president of the collegiate, Omar Aziz (PSD-AM), according to peers, christened him, backstage, Rolando Lero, the character who always tried to enlist the master in Professor Raimundo’s Escolinha.
At least in a consensus, both sides arrive: it is the apex of projection for the man who started his political career with a defeat, losing by just one vote a councilor seat in Ji-Paraná (RO), and 17 years later, he became the bouncer of the Pocketnarismo in the CPI. Even in a ranking dominated by opponents, it is Rogério who leads the digital popularity among commission members.
I could. An opposition senator recognizes that his colleague has good insights, which he thinks are designed to go viral on social media. The May 20 session, which put former Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello under scrutiny, was an opportunity to demonstrate influencer skills.
“I’m going to show you, I’m going to show a quick video here so that everyone can watch it”, said Rogério, with a tablet in his hand. “Do you know this one, President?”
“I didn’t hear, but where is the governor talking about chloroquine?”, engages Flávio Bolsonaro (Patriota-RJ), the eldest son of the President of the Republic.
It is Rogério’s cue to show images of governors who are opponents of Bolsonaro, such as João Doria (PSDB) from São Paulo, Flávio Dino (PC do B) from Maranhão and Renan Filho (MDB), son of the commission’s rapporteur, senator Renan Calheiros (from Maranhão). MDB-AL). All, according to Rogério, are in favor of the use of chloroquine against Covid.
The government senator uses the lines out of context. They happened at the beginning of the pandemic, when the scientific community was still evaluating whether the drug could help with the treatment. When, in July 2020, Bolsonaro shook a box of chloroquine for rheas at the Palácio da Alvorada, this hypothesis had already been discarded by the vast majority of researchers, and also by these governors.
The camaraderie between Marcos and Jair has ballast. “The president has always been a conservative deputy, and on these agendas we were always together,” says the senator to leaf. “Besides, I worked a lot on the Ethics Council, and Bolsonaro was a frequent customer.” An apology for torture and racism are some of the themes that led the then deputy Bolsonaro to the body of which Rogério was a member.
A meeting of the Chamber’s Ethics Council illustrates well the duo’s affinity.
It was November 9, 2016, and Jean Wyllys, then federal deputy of the PSOL-RJ, was responsible for spitting on Bolsonaro seven months earlier, in the opening session of the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff (PT). The only open homosexual in the House, Wyllys said his colleague was homophobic with him.
A member of the collegiate, Rogério stood up for Bolsonaro to cut when he questioned whether the saliva only reached the target.
“As far as I remember, it reached 20% in me, a much higher amount in Congressman Sóstenes [Cavalcante] and in deputy Luis Carlos Heinze [hoje senador e outro integrante da CPI da Covid]”, replied the pre-candidate for the presidency.
The Rondonian also noted that videos with Bolsonaro telling Wyllys “bye, dear, bye, love” deserved an explanation.
“It’s good for us to register here the origin of the ‘bye, dear'”, he said, suggesting that the expression used by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) in a phone call with Dilma, transformed into a catchphrase against the PT, was not a homophobic provocation to Wyllys.
In recent years, the congressman with four terms behind his back (alderman, twice a deputy and now a senator) has embraced the pocketbook agenda.
The most recent gesture was to present in the Senate a PEC (proposed amendment to the Constitution) to implement the printed vote in elections. Without providing evidence, Bolsonaro says that electronic voting machines are an invitation to fraud.
In 2019, with the Brazilian government in the wake of world leaders such as the Frenchman Emmanuel Macron due to the devastation in the Amazon, he condemned the “high ideological burden” injected by activists who, for him, make a “divinization of the environment, a spiritualization of the environmental cause”.
As a deputy, Rogério, an evangelical brought up in the Assembly of God who attends the Central Baptist Church in Brasília, wore the moral sword. “Gender ideology” (as conservatives have labeled discussions of gender theory) is one of the preferred targets.
When Dilma’s Ministry of Health launched the campaign “I’m Happy Being a Prostitute (no shame, girl)”, he bought the fight on behalf of the evangelical caucus.
“What the government does is a crime, it is an apology for prostitution. The government is sponsoring a crime by defending this conduct,” said the law graduate who, years later, would become a master in public administration by the Brasiliense Institute of Public Law ( his final work was on a CPI, that of Petrobras).
“Nobody is born progressive. A person is born conservative and can become progressive. It is born from the relationship between father and mother. The child has to be guided from the point of view of what is natural”, says the senator, repeating an argument dear to evangelical bench, that of the “traditional Brazilian family”.
“For me, this is the biological conception, there is no hybrid model in this aspect”, says the father of a 12-year-old girl.
Although he aligned himself with the bloc and even attended his Wednesday services at the Chamber, Rogério was not seen by his colleagues as part of the religious hard core, the “pastor type”. He had good party traffic and, according to him, he had a “close relationship” with the most famous president of the House during his time there, an evangelical like him: Eduardo Cunha (MDB-RJ).
He ended up becoming his executioner. “I reported a process that was very painful for me,” he says of his role in the lawsuit that ousted the former leader of the Chamber who, in Rousseff’s impeachment, called for a merciful God to the nation. “I got [a ação] thinking it was the result of a conspiracy between the PT and the Attorney General of the Republic [Rodrigo Janot].”
Last week, the Metropoles website published that the senator uses resources from the parliamentary quota to pay off the rent for his office in Rondônia to his ex-wife. On the Senate website, payments of R$ 4,600 appear in March and April 2021.
Rogério’s advisors replied that he was the owner of the property, which ended up staying with his ex-wife in sharing the post-divorce assets. He chose to keep the address because he had already established his political HQ there.
The same Rogério who wears the conservative mantle was, at the beginning of his career, on the left. In 2004, he tried to be elected a councilor in his hometown, the second largest in Rondônia, in a election in which he declared nothing as assets — in 2018, the equity reported was R$ 1.3 million, including a Beechcraft aircraft, rural land and R$300 thousand in cash.
He lost by scraping: he had 758 votes, one less than the usher in the winners list. He ran for the PPS, and then migrated to Labor PDT, two leftmost subtitles in the party mosaic.
“I was a Liberal and Conservative Labor”, says the MP described by a colleague from his days in the Chamber as a “Darwinist”, able to adapt to different political scenarios in order to survive. “My difference with the root-pedetist is that he only defends the worker, but for me there is no way to dissociate this from the defense of the job generator. After all, the owner of the company is also a worker.”
According to him, the choice for the PDT was to follow the local president of the party and owner of the communication group for which he worked as a journalist, senator Acir Gurgacz. She says she broke up with him in 2016, for not agreeing with his support for Dilma. That’s when he moved to DEM.
He’s already been slapped from the right after that. In 2020, Pastor Silas Malafaia criticized him for voting for the approval of a bill that fights fake news: “What a shame, Marcos Rogério! What a shame! You vote with these left-wingers.”
If there were any doubts about the senator’s pocketnarist fingerprints, they were erased by his role in the government riot police. “He is an evangelical guy, very intelligent, very prepared, who is standing out in this CPI”, says Malafaia now.
It is speculated that the next flight will be for the Government of Rondônia. Rogério talks about the plans for 2022. “If God points in another direction, amen.”