Background

Considered as a priority by the Presidency of Mexico, in November 2012, President Enrique Peña Nieto through the Revolucionario Institucional Party in the Senate, submitted the bill which seeks to amend several articles of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States regarding the fighting against corruption.

Within the legislative debate, each of the parliamentary groups agreed that it is necessary to create an independent supervising body that is responsible for the prevention, investigation and sanction of the responsibilities arising from any act of corruption.

The bill was approved on December 13, 2013 by the commissions of (i) Constitutional Issues, (ii) Government, (iii) Anticorruption and (iv) First Legislative Studies,  after:

  • Studying different anticorruption models and projects proposed by the various parliamentary groups of the Senate;
  • Making comparative legal studies and reviewing the international commitments made by the Mexican Government in anti-corruption matters;
  • Consulting with specialists, subject matter experts, and representatives of the civil society, and including their positions and views on the bill.

What the amendment contains:

Articles 73, section XXIX-H; 107, Section V, in its first paragraph and subparagraph b); 109; 113, third paragraph; and 116, section III, fifth paragraph, are amended; and Section XXIX-V to Article 73 is included, all of the Political Constitution of the Mexican United States.

Below are the most important items included in the amendment:

  • An autonomous control body will be created, which will be responsible for the prevention, investigation and punishment of administrative responsibilities arising from acts of corruption.  This body will substitute the current Ministry of Public Administration.
  • Increase/Beef up the sanctions against public servants at all levels of government that participate or are part of an act of corruption, in order to protect legality, honesty, loyalty, fairness and efficiency in the performance of their duties, positions and commissions.
  • The creation of the National Council for Public Ethics.  This would be an institutional body that promotes actions to strengthen the ethical behavior of the population and that looks to coordinate government agencies responsible for preventing and fighting corruption.

Next Steps

The bill approval by the Senate represents the first legislative step. Following steps for such bill to come into force are:

  1. Approval by the Senate in Plenary Session
  2. Approval by the Commissions of the Chamber of Deputies
  3. Approval by the Chamber of Deputies in Plenary Session
  4. Approval by half plus one of the State Congresses
  5. Approval by the President of Mexico
  6. Issuance of the amendments and additions
  7. Commencement of the amendments and additions to be in force, prior to its publication in the Official Federal Gazette.

Conclusion

It is important to mention that with the approval of these Constitutional amendments, along with the recently approved amendments in matters regarding transparency and the inclusion of the prosecute body for specialized corruption created as a result of the political amendment and the local government debt amendments, a National System of Transparency, Accountability and Corruption Fighting is now being created.