A harshly worded letter sent to Matthew Caruana Galizia by the Speaker of the House of Representatives has been described as unacceptable in a democratic society by the Nationalist Party.
“The letter sent by Speaker Anġlu Farrugia to Matthew Caruana Galizia, through his lawyer, is totally unacceptable in a democratic society,” the PN said.
“With his letter, Anġlu Farrugia has once again confirmed that he has, till this day, not understood what the constitutional role he has been trusted with entails.”
On Wednesday, a letter Caruana Galizia sent to the Speaker, in which he called for his resignation over his “protection” of Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar, was made public, prompting Speaker Anglu Farrugia, to also publish his response in which he lashed out at Caruana Galizia.
“In his letter the Speaker says that he is there to defend the government’s interests. This goes against the oath taken by Speaker Anġlu Farrugia at the start of the legislature, where he swore loyalty to the nation and the Republic and the Constitution,” the PN said.
The exchange of letters followed a meeting of Parliament’s Standards Committee last week in which it was agreed that Cutajar would be reprimanded for breaching parliamentary ethics by failing to declare income made from brokering a property deal, in her declaration of assets to Parliament.
Rather than a stern reprimand, Cutajar was sent a letter informing her about the committee’s decision against her.
The property deal involved the alleged mastermind in the Caruana Galizia assassination Yorgen Fenech. The report was adopted last week after months of manoeuvres by Labour MPs, and the Speaker, who remained reluctant to acknowledge the report’s findings.
Farrugia wrote back to tell Caruana Galizia that according to parliamentary procedure, letters are to be addressed to the clerk of the House, and not directly to the Speaker.
Referring to claims by Caruana Galizia, that Farrugia had harassed his mother Daphne back when he was still a police officer, the Speaker pointed out that he had won a libel case against the late journalist over those same claims.
The PN noted that Farrugia has in recent months repeatedly voted and given rulings which defended the government, including about the consultancy given to Konrad Mizzi, the case of undeclared gifts and use of public funds for political ads.
The party added that a reform of Parliament was urgently required for it to be a truly democratic institution.
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