Military under Mendonça: how AGU punished soldiers and

The Attorney General of the Union (AGU), when led by André Mendonça (2019 and 2020), former Minister of Justice and appointed by President Jair Bolsonaro (no party) to occupy a seat in the Supreme Court (STF), was responsible for the request of at least seven investigative-incriminating proceedings against associations of low-ranking military personnel who took a stand against the agendas adopted by the federal government in the National Congress.

To date, one of these associations has been closed, another has been summoned by the Army to testify in an inquiry, and another, linked to the study of military legislation, is currently responding to an inquiry opened by the Armed Forces. All the cases mentioned were made at the request of the AGU, through orders signed by Mendonça and sent to the Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Revenue.

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All affected entities have one thing in common: they took part in public hearings in Congress that debated Bill 1645/2019. This is a long rule for restructuring the military career, which imposes changes in the social security system, in the rules for career progression and even in mandatory enlistment, among others.

The bill was approved in Congress and is now law, number 13.954/2019. In addition, they embraced public positions regarding pension reform throughout the debates on the subject that took place in the country in 2019.

In June of this year, Mendonça requested the opening of seven inquiries to the Attorney General for Military Justice, accusing low-ranking military entities of “developing typical union activities”. Under Brazilian law, military civil servants cannot organize themselves into unions and claim rights through these entities.

Following the request of the AGU, the Association of Military Persons of the Armed Forces of the State of São Paulo (Amfaesp) was withdrawn from legal existence in the following month: its CNPJ was canceled by the Federal Revenue, in compliance with an official letter issued by the AGU.

In São Paulo, the Attorney for Military Justice opened a Military Police Inquiry to investigate alleged illicit “activities” by associations that would have participated in public hearings in Congress, as shown in an excerpt of the document below.

At the request of the AGU, the Military Attorney in SP opened an inquiry to investigate “typical union activities” carried out by military associations / Military Justice

The Association of Military Veterans and Pensioners of Guaratinguetá (Amiga) received a summons to its board of directors to appear at an army barracks. The entity is linked to family members and veterans of the Air Force of Brazil. According to a member of Amiga – who interviewed the Brazil in fact on condition of anonymity – the coordinators of the entity received the summons with surprise.

“We find it strange. It is normal for us to be interested in career changes, in the laws passed in Brasília. Anyone can go to a public hearing, this had never happened,” pointed out the source, who is a retired Air Force non-commissioned officer and an assumed supporter by Jair Bolsonaro.

The military officer also pointed out that the Military Public Ministry (MPM), in any case, fulfilled its duty, carried out the necessary steps and concluded that Amiga had not done anything illegal. The entity itself distributed the opinion of the prosecutors recommending the archiving of the investigation works.

After investigations, it was concluded that the AGU’s accusations against the military association were unfounded / MPM

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Exclusive benefit for officers started conflicts

When the laws that reformed social security and military careers were being debated in the National Congress, in 2019, a number of parliamentarians linked to the Armed Forces and security agencies received members of military associations in their offices.

They invited them to public hearings, took pictures and posted them on social networks, publicizing that they were against or in favor of this or that point of the norms that were to be voted on.

“They tried to create a bonus only for general officers, including those in reserve, which generated animosity at this point,” says an army corporal and member of one of the investigated associations, also asking for his identity to be kept confidential.

He refers to an item that existed in the original career restructuring proposal, which provided that only general officers would add to their retirement a bonus received by them while on active duty. Called a representation bonus, it is equivalent to 10% of the salary.

In the end, such was the noise made in and out of the barracks due to the exclusive bonus that the government itself gave up on taking it forward in the Senate vote negotiations. A lot of people didn’t like it.

Edition: Arturo Hartmann

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