Alvaró Gijón remains a parliamentary deputy and a Palma town hall councillor. | Pere Bota


On Monday, the Partido Popular parliamentary deputy Alvaró Gijón registered a request with parliament for his position as a deputy to be certified. This is a formal procedure that gives certain protection to a deputy in the event of he or she being placed under investigation by a court. Gijón has now been summoned by Manuel Penalva, the judge in control of the Palma police corruption investigation, to appear on 9 September.

As a deputy, Gijón is granted a degree of immunity. A judge cannot, for instance, dictate that "precautionary measures" are applied. These have to be left to the Balearic High Court to determine. In other words, the judge cannot impose a restraining order of the type to which José María Rodriguez is now subject: Rodríguez is not a deputy and has been ordered to keep away from certain individuals and Palma town hall premises, the police offices in particular.

Gijón, whose name has cropped up during Penalva's investigation, faces allegations of having been involved with the corruption affair and so similar ones levelled at Rodríguez. It should be noted that Rodríguez, now the ex-president of the Partido Popular in Palma (Gijón is still a councillor in Palma and a former deputy mayor), has not been charged. He is only under formal investigation.

Gijón was originally cited at the same time as Rodríguez. Both resigned from the party executive in Palma as a consequence. (The PP nationally made it clear that they had to resign.)

The judge has referred to the existence of a "criminal organisation" involving certain local police officers and others, with Rodríguez being characterised as the "architect in the shadows". Gijón was politically close to Rodríguez during the time that the PP ran Palma town hall from 2011 to 2015. Rodríguez was instrumental in ensuring that Mateo Isern, the former PP mayor, did not stand again at the 2015 municipal election.

Current mayor, José Hila, has responded to Gijón's court summons by demanding that Gijón resign as a councillor. If he doesn't, suggests Hila, then the leader of the PP at the town hall, Marga Duran, should "break her silence and expel him for the sake of the town hall".