President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) said this Thursday (23) that he “exaggerated” when he said, in March, that he would put “his face in the fire” for his then Minister of Education, Milton Ribeiro, who was preventively arrested on Wednesday (23). 22), on suspicion of influence peddling and passive corruption when he was in charge of the portfolio.
In live, Bolsonaro said, however, that he continues to believe in Ribeiro’s innocence and said that there was no materiality for the arrest request.
“Yesterday, we had the arrest of former Education Minister Milton. I said back there that I would put my face on fire for him. I exaggerated, but I put my hand in the fire for Milton, as I do for all my ministers. Because from what I know of them, the experience, hardly anyone will commit an act of corruption.”
Milton is investigated for allegations that the Ministry of Education distributed resources to city halls according to indications from pastors Gilmar Santos and Arilton Moura, who had no ties to the ministry. Several mayors reported requests for bribes made by pastors.
In March, when the scandal came to light, Bolsonaro said: “If Milton had been setting up, he would not have put [os encontros com os pastores] on the agenda open to the public. Milton, I set my face on fire for him. They are cowardly.”
After the arrest, the statement was exploited by opponents.
In this Thursday’s live, the president also criticized Judge Renato Borelli, from the 9th Federal Court of the Federal District, who authorized preventive detention. According to Bolsonaro, the decision served to wear down the government.
“There was no materiality for Milton’s arrest, but it served to wear down the government, to do something wrong with Milton’s family. If something goes wrong, he is responsible for his actions. But I cannot raise a suspicion against him lightly. […] I still believe in Milton.”
The president acknowledged that the alleged deposit of R$ 60,000 made by Pastor Arilton Moura to Milton Ribeiro is an “atypical movement”. The transaction, according to CNN analyst Caio Junqueira, would have led to preventive detention.
“Is it an atypical movement? IT IS. Any movement above R$ 10 thousand is atypical.”
“It was not corruption in the way we are used to seeing in previous governments. ‘Oh, the guy did an overpriced job. He bought material and didn’t receive it, he overpriced ‘. None of that, it was history of trafficking in influence”, added Bolsonaro.
Earlier this Thursday afternoon, Milton Ribeiro was released by determination of TRF-1 judge Ney Bello.
Source: CNN Brasil