It is well known that every government, upon coming to power, tries to print its personal stamp on different constitutional provisions. To do this, he builds alliances, reaches agreements and tries to convince others that those proposed changes will benefit society or the development of Mexico.
The current government was no exception to this phenomenon. However, it did not have an opposition that forced it to negotiate and reach consensus regarding the approved reforms, due to the fact that there was an over-representation that allowed it, in the Chamber of Deputies, to make the constitutional modifications it wanted.
While the president has us talking about his mornings and entertaining on sometimes frankly banal issues, countless constitutional reforms were approved without our realizing it and that have serious consequences for citizens and for the future of the country.
I found myself at the weekend and, in order to be reviewing other things, the modification of a paragraph in Article 16 of our Magna Carta. The article says the following in its core parts:
Article 16. No one may be disturbed in his person, family, domicile, papers or possessions, except by virtue of a written order from the competent authority, which establishes and motivates the legal cause of the procedure. . Everyone has the right to the protection of their personal data. . . An arrest warrant may not be issued except by the judicial authority and without preceding a complaint or complaint of an act that the law designates as a crime, punishable by imprisonment and obtaining data that establishes that this act has been committed and that the probability exists. that the accused committed it or participated in its commission. . . (And here in the next paragraph is where my astonishment and concern come from) Anyone can arrest the accused at the moment they are committing a crime or immediately after having committed it, placing them without delay at the disposal of the nearest civil authority and this with the same promptness, to that of the Public Ministry. There will be an immediate record of the arrest. Paragraph amended DOF 03-26-2019.
As can be seen, the article makes at least three things clear. 1. That no one can be disturbed, except by authority that must previously exist, must substantiate their actions and must do so in writing. 2. That only in flagrante delicto can the authority bring the alleged culprit to the public prosecutor’s office and 3. The article makes mention of the rights over personal data and clarifies procedures.
In 2019, with the government and the majority of Morena in Congress, a paragraph of Article 16 was changed to say: “Anyone” and “or immediately after.”
What does this mean? Now the article when saying: “Anyone”, converts us for practical purposes into police officers to all citizens. That is, now anyone has the right that with the simple presumption that anyone has committed a crime, they can arrest it and bring it before the public prosecutor. It does not say if using force. It does not say if in conjunction with other people. It does not say more than “anyone”, that is to say, dear reader, you are already a policeman.
Then he says that in “flagrante delicto or immediately after” What is immediately after? After chasing him for a few minutes? Two hours later because the neighbors saw him running there and found him in a house? It does not clarify anything. It simply enables people to make arrests at the time they want and without express authority or motivation.
The matter is very dangerous. Invites the exercise of justice by own hand and replaces the authority empowered to do so. It turns all Mexicans into vigilantes of all Mexicans. With this, the beginning of a police state and of collective denunciation. As the Nazis did, the fascists or as they do in Cuba or Venezuela. Nothing more, but nothing less either.
Lawyer, political scientist and economist
Essayist and interested in legal and justice issues. currently a professor at the UNAM Law School.