For violating the constitutional guarantee of economy, efficiency and effectiveness of public spending by canceling a multi-year public investment project such as the New Mexico International Airport ( NAIM ) in Texcoco, lawyer Alberto García Ruvalcaba filed an application for protection against the president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Chamber of Deputies and several dependencies of the Federal Government.
The litigation has file number 55/2019 and was accepted by the Thirteenth District Court on Administrative, Civil and Labor Matters, based in Zapopan, Jalisco.
Specifically, the President of the Republic is questioned based on his decision to cancel the NAIM in an ” irregular ” popular consultation, promoted in “his capacity as president-elect” and held between October 25 and 28, 2018.
Recall that in this exercise, the transition team raised two options before the public: continue with the works of the NAIM or build two runways and a passenger terminal at the Santa Lucia military base, as well as expand the current International Airport of the City de México (AICM) and rehabilitate the one in Toluca.
To the Secretary of Finance and Public Credit, Carlos Urzúa ; the Secretary of Communications and Transport, Javier Jiménez Espriú ; the Secretary of Public Administration , Irma Eréndira Sandoval , and López Obrador himself, are being asked for the rationality of the alternative project, which was approved “without having previously made an analysis of costs and benefits, or any other study that determined in accordance with efficiency, effectiveness, economy, transparency and honesty criteria “.
In as much, it reproached to the House the same deficiencies in its authorization of the Budget of Expenditures of the Federation of 2019, where the deputies canceled of the public portfolio of investment 1409JZL0005 of the Texcoco project, in spite of that this one had been endorsed by the legislative power in the budgetary exercises 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
According to a report to August of 2018 of the Airport Group of Mexico City, the Government of Peña Nieto exercised 60 billion pesos of public resources in the works of the NAIM, plus another 35 billion pesos for input costs and contracts that they are not recoverable due to the cancellation of the work. The overall progress of the project was 32.5%.
Finally, he exhorted the aforementioned agencies and the “multi-year investment project manager” (presumably the GACM) to present a comparative cost and benefit analysis between the alternative project and the NAIM.
As grounds for the amparo, the demand highlighted the nature of NAIM as a strategic and priority project for the country’s development, as well as the security reasons that support the work in Texcoco on the alternative AICM-Santa Lucia-AIT plan.
Among the latter, the opinions of international entities specializing in the subject – such as the International Civil Aviation Organization and the MITRE research and development center – were cited, which in turn spoke in favor of the location in Texcoco and, on the contrary, they pointed out the “risks and manifest limitations” of the lopezobradorista proposal.
However, the main argument is based on the ability of citizens and taxpayers to demand that public spending be exercised with “responsibility by the authorities, avoiding arbitrariness and waste,” as stated in the latest reform of articles 134 and 74 of the Constitution.
The first, as mentioned by García Ruvalcaba himself, has to do with the principle of fiscal responsibility, while the second focuses on the continuity of multi-year investment projects, as is the case of NAIM given its trans-seasonal nature.
Following this criterion, and in accordance with the provisions of article 128 and other provisions of the Amparo Law, the application requests precautionary measures to suspend the cancellation of the Texcoco project, as well as any order to initiate the works in Santa Lucía.
“The complainants have no interest whatsoever in carrying out an airport or another. What we seek is corrected in the courtroom is the uneconomical and inefficient irrationality of changing an investment project halfway. If the Alternative Project had been the one originally approved and with a significant degree of progress, what would be irrational would be to cancel it and replace it with the Texcoco airport, “the text concludes.
Motivation and support
As promoter of this litigation, García Ruvalcaba considered his ” civic duty ” as a citizen to constitutionally question the irrational acts of public spending.
“I am moved by the indignation that gives me to waste the money of the taxpayers because canceling this work means throwing around 4% of the tax collection for the whole 2017,” he said in an interview with A21 .
In addition, he appealed to the “justicial reason” for the judicial branch to review the resolutions of the Federal Executive and the Congress and determine if these are in violation of the principle of fiscal responsibility mandated by the Constitution.
Given this, and with the support of a friend of his, he devoted himself to collecting and analyzing precedents of similar effects to the interest of taxpayers. Although he recognized that this type of interdiction is not very common, the ideal he aspires to with this legal action would be for the administration to be called to account for the NAIM.
Therefore, he called on other citizens and sectors to improve and expand the text of the demand (published on social networks) with more arguments and support.
Thus, the lawyer said that he has already been contacted by people interested in both adhering to his initiative and in bringing new litigation, and said that the latter will guide them without charging fees.
Finally, he pointed out that another demand from a business chamber – from which the name was reserved – is about to enter Guadalajara, to which he also advised free of charge.
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