The Ermine case: Is it forbidden to raise your hand?

(To Andrea Cucco)
20/04/20

A few days ago a small storm broke out for a parliamentary question: the Hon Alessandra Ermellino, member of the Defense Commission of the 5 Star Movement, asked for clarifications on the delays of the secret services in communicating the arrival of the coronavirus in Italy. Immediate protests and dismissals from party colleagues ...

We contacted the author of the "satanic verses de noantri" because, beyond the case itself, we feel it inappropriate that a parliamentarian can be sentenced simply for arguing a question.

Whether we admit it or not, we live in a regime in which information, except in truly "strange" cases, is not free and independent. This limitation originates from the Republican Constitution itself. And on this we will soon begin a battle ...

The Ermine case, however, underlines something else: a democratically elected representative must stop exercising his control function when his party is in government?

If in Italy the questions were not constantly selected, perhaps one would not be afraid to provide answers.

Mr Ermine, when did you begin to understand that something was wrong with the Coronavirus data?

As a member of parliament and an active citizen, I am called every day to inquire and study. Among other things, what I did by collecting and verifying the sources underlying my parliamentary question, anyone could have done it as it is all public information, easily available through a good use of search engines. Certainly I can safely say that the work behind my parliamentary question was not based on the prejudice that something should not necessarily return. However, if I had to circumscribe the decisive cause of the steps that led me to this question, I would say that it was the reception of the highlights of the Annual Safety Report.

Do you think the Italian government should also ask WHO for information on who conducted the investigations in China to assess their capacity and independence?

WHO has capillary branches capable of taking into account the data and the political framework in which elements of governance operate, pursuing the common goal of saving lives. States are called to this: to protect citizens, doing everything possible to try not to chase events. If anyone feels the need to verify data, as stated by Ranieri Guerra, he should be free to do so. Personally, I would focus on the future, given that the timing and methods of reaction to the epidemic first and then to the pandemic have made the difference, for now, on the balance of the infected and deaths.

Article 68 of the Constitution says that "members of Parliament cannot be called to respond to the opinions expressed", you sparked a fuss not for a statement but for a simple question. Are we in such bad shape?

You mention article 68 of the Constitution but without going further, article 21 establishes a right for everyone, not just for parliamentarians. I consider my deed not only legitimate but due.

He must have embarrassed someone with the question ...

Personally, I feel the need to provide answers as well as to all citizens, especially to relatives of the over 20.000 victims of this pandemic: mothers, fathers, children who died in solitude without even the last embrace of their loved ones.

“Guiltyly feeding the spread of false news is a very serious behavior that increases unnecessary dietrology and contributes to creating confusion ... We continue to be alongside the government and we are committed to doing everything in our power to always guarantee the interests of citizens, "his colleagues in the Chamber of Deputies M5S said in a statement. Did the reactions surprise you? Did you expect clear distances from the Movement itself?

It seems clear to me that my colleagues express a sensitivity to events and information different from mine. When a member of parliament lodges a question, the act passes to the technical examination of the inspection union, the latter, to verify it, always starts from the sources. I have provided them all, and I repeat they are all public. So there is absolutely nothing false, with those statements my work and that of the people responsible for the publication of the documents are undermined. I therefore invite my colleagues and the whole M5S Camera group to read and deepen the basics of my act, otherwise I should think that they are driven by other intentions.

If not even a member of parliament can ask a question, will the sensational bale of free national information still have to be raised for a long time?

To say that the issue of free national information is a sensational bale is a bit of a simplification. The issue of information in Italy is somewhat delicate, for example we have journalists who live under escort or who, in the case of Jacopo Iacoboni have been blatantly threatened by an institutional representative of a foreign country, Russia, as well as Minister Di Maio has reiterated. As far as I am concerned, I remain faithful to the original themes and principles of the M5S, in which I recognized myself, and among these also includes the protection and promotion of free national information.

With the experience in the Defense Committee what idea did you get of our Information System for the security of the Republic? Untouchable, feared and indisputable or "perfectible"?

Our information services deserve the utmost respect, for example I think of a man who fell on the field like Calipari, but woe to forget that they are men and women paid with public money and that they are called to play a strategic role for the security of the country, indeed for me they should be the soul and intelligence of the state. Trying to shed light on what has been done or not done, said or unsaid, for many years, the last one in Piazza Dante, is functional to a desire to make peace with our recent past, make peace with all those pages torn from the book of truth to which Italian citizens are entitled. Conscience imposes it on me, respecting the constitutional values ​​of discipline and honor which should be the guide of the actions of every free citizen.

What can you tell me about the history (even before being in government) of the movement's relations with China?

The 5 Star Movement, before ascending to the Government of the Country first with the League and subsequently with the Democratic Party, was notoriously an opposition force, characterized by a whole series of proposals and actions influenced by the role held. Being in the government is another story, the responsibilities and contacts that are created are completely different. Certainly the 5 Star MoVement has never been a political force based on protectionism, therefore certainly in favor of international relations which, however, must maintain the protection of Made in Italy at the base.

(Following the text of the question of April 16 in the "Parliamentary control documents")