The murder of prosecutor Édgar Escobar in front of the Guayas Prosecutor’s Office revealed the insecurity that exists in judicial buildings and the requests that local authorities have been making for months to obtain more resources and declare the Judiciary an emergency, since not only would they be exposed because of the nature of the cases they handle, but because there are not even security guards or lighting in the premises.
In fact, Escobar’s case has not been the only one. On February 4, a freelance lawyer, identified as Eduardo V., was shot as he left the Durán Prosecutor’s Office. He was shot after getting into a casual taxi and the driver was also hit by bullets.
He had participated in a stagecoach before his attack and was shot on his way back to Guayaquil.
There are a total of 385 judges in Guayas, at least 182 of them resolve criminal cases and a similar number of prosecutors who would be exposed, according to María Josefa Coronel, the director of the Guayas Judiciary, who mentioned that there are currently 6 judges with police protection.
She explains that for years there has been a protocol to provide security to officials, but that many do not apply it.
It is a form that is on the website. Colonel indicates that the request arrives directly to Quito and there is coordinated with the Ministry of the Interior to assign security to the official.
Although the process does not take long, the official states that they have had cases in which a judge calls her to ask for security because she is going to be transferred to some stage and they have found a patrol car for her.
That happened last week with a judge who works in a canton of Guayas.
Coronel explains that in 2019 only one judge requested security, in 2020 there were three officials, in 2021 four judges required security due to threats and so far in 2022 there are already six judges from Guayas for whom the judiciary has obtained the receipt.
As these figures have increased, the director of the Guayas judiciary mentions that her ambition is to have a judicial security unit only for officials, which allows them to feel safe.
In addition, it also clarifies that the request made by the Court of Justice of Guayas was not necessary, because the judges can determine the hearings that are held electronically.
Meanwhile, he insists that the Judicial Council allocate the necessary budget to make the improvements and hire security for the 47 judicial buildings in the province of Guayas.
She mentioned that the financial resources that Guayas produces are about $20 million dollars and that they only receive about $3 million. She hopes that centralism will end and that in Quito they will consider that Guayas deserves special treatment due to the wave of violence it is facing, since practically every week there are bomb alerts in the buildings where hearings are held.
On Wednesday the authorities of the judicial system and the Ministry of the Interior agreed that a study of the buildings will be carried out to determine their situation and necessary improvements.
It is estimated that just to improve the facilities of the Florida Judicial Complex, 2 million dollars are necessary because it does not even have lighting.
The idea of the authorities is to create an inter-institutional technical table that will report the progress every week. (YO)