Uruguay: Lo Que No Conocemos Del Delito De Abuso De Funciones

Last Updated: 27 June 2017
Article by Diego Galante

El ciudadano debe estar atento y preocupado. Derogar o no el delito de abuso de funciones no ubica la discusión del tema correctamente. Por lo menos no explica la profundidad del tema. Presupone que hubiera necesidad de derogar el delito, como una verdad revelada que no admitiera otro camino. Y eso no es así en absoluto.

Lo primero es conocer qué dice el artículo 162 del Código Penal bajo el nombre "abuso de funciones en casos no previstos especialmente por la ley" (o vulgarmente conocido como "abuso de funciones"):

El funcionario público que, con abuso de su cargo, cometiere u ordenare cualquier acto arbitrario en perjuicio de la Administración o de los particulares, que no se hallare especialmente previsto en las disposiciones del Código o de las leyes especiales, será castigado con tres meses de prisión a tres años de penitenciaría, inhabilitación especial de dos a cuatro años y multa de 10 UR (diez unidades reajustables) a 3.000 UR (tres mil unidades reajustables).

El delito integra el elenco de los definidos como actos de corrupción, porque la Ley 17.060 de 1998 lo incluyó junto a otros como aquellos que combaten el uso del poder público para beneficio o interés distinto al propio del Estado. O sea, es un delito que combate directamente la corrupción en el Estado de los jerarcas y funcionarios públicos.

Esta discusión sobre la posible derogación del delito es muy antigua y bastante absurda. Ningún legislador podría seriamente plantearse eliminar la casi única disposición que existe contra la corrupción en el país. En todo caso, podría ser revisada pero jamás derogada. Uruguay ha tomado compromisos internacionales por la lucha contra la corrupción en la Convención de ONU 2003 (aprobada por Ley 18.056) y en la Convención Interamericana 1996 (aprobada por Ley 17.008).

Es absolutamente verdadero que la mayoría de los profesores y especialistas en derecho penal han sostenido que el delito, tal como está redactado, deja un amplio margen a que cualquier conducta pueda ser objeto de una sanción penal. Se habla de un delito "cajón". Pero la única verdad absoluta en derecho la establece el Poder Judicial; y la Suprema Corte de Justicia ha dicho desde 1933 a hoy, en sus más diversas integraciones, que este delito es constitucional.  También los jueces han ido separando los actos y conductas discrecionales de los jerarcas y los meros errores, de aquellos propiamente arbitrarios, abusivos, lesivos para el Estado o para un particular, que sí merecen una condena penal.

Entonces, derogar el delito no es realmente una necesidad impuesta porque la Suprema Corte de Justicia lo encuentre apartado de la Constitución. Concurren obviamente cuestiones bastante más profundas que razones estrictamente técnicas. Hay una intención o una necesidad, como se lo quiera ver, de cuidar a los jerarcas que llevan adelante actividades de gobierno y de administración, en el Estado y en las empresas públicas, que se ven envueltos en situaciones penales producto de esa gestión. Los jerarcas piensan que un programa de gobierno o una ideología aplicada en el Estado, debería estar por encima del derecho vigente. Y eso es lo que cuida esta norma: cuando la raya de la legalidad queda borrada por un funcionario. Aún con todas las imperfecciones que tiene la redacción del delito.

Es entendible que el establishment político quiera protegerse de consecuencias penales. Al final, todos los partidos tienen actuación de gobierno, incluso la oposición, por la cual han tenido que responder ante la justicia. Han desfilado ministros, vicepresidentes, directores de empresas públicas, jerarcas varios. Sin embargo, es ahí donde el límite del Estado de derecho debe imponerse por encima de la conveniencia de una persona o de un colectivo. Aquí el interés del ciudadano es relevante.

Lo más llamativo es que nadie se ha detenido a pensar que el art. 162 del Código Penal incluso tiene más amplitud que los cargos políticos o de confianza. Hay cientos de casos en toda la Administración, los Municipios, las Empresas Públicas, los Entes Educativos y demás reparticiones del Estado. Son casos de los funcionarios públicos a quienes la justicia les ha aplicado el abuso de funciones por motivos que no salen en los titulares de los diarios. Veamos una rápida colección de algunas conductas penadas en la función pública por nuestros jueces:

  • Médica de salud pública que retira de la farmacia del Hospital medicamentos para entregarlos sin cargo a un paciente particular
  • Agentes policiales que hacen un procedimiento irregular de detención de una persona, sin orden judicial ni exhibir documento alguno; lo mismo para una incautación y secuestro de bienes sin orden judicial
  • Funcionario público que paga reparaciones en un vehículo de un particular con fondos públicos con otros destinos
  • Jerarca que concede licencias ordinarias y extraordinarias a menores del INAU cuando ello no era acorde con las leyes de protección de los menores.
  • Director de un servicio que autoriza el pago de sobresueldos con fondos extraídos de otras partidas presupuestales
  • Director municipal que no utiliza los procedimientos de licitación previstos específicamente en el Estado para contratos de empresa de servicios
  • Jerarca que manipula un sistema de software para asignar publicidad digitada fuera de los criterios y topes legales.

Así que la derogación del delito de abuso de funciones implicaría mucho más que un acto para enmendar una supuesta inconstitucionalidad.

Significaría:

  1. Contradecir a la Suprema Corte de Justicia, que es el único órgano constitucional con competencia en el tema, la cual jamás determinó su inconstitucionalidad desde 1933, sino lo inverso.
  2. Desconocer los pactos internacionales del país en la prevención y lucha contra la corrupción que nuestro país ha adherido libremente.
  3. Liberar de responsabilidad a los jerarcas y gobernantes designados sucesivamente para gestionar los servicios y el patrimonio público, cuando cometan actos arbitrarios y deliberados.
  4. Liberar de responsabilidad a todos los funcionarios públicos del país cuando hagan lo propio en cada una de las oficinas o reparticiones que tienen bajo su responsabilidad.
  5. Exculpar a todos y cada uno de los jerarcas, gobernantes y funcionarios públicos que fueron condenados por estos delitos en el pasado, dejándolos sin sanción penal de tipo alguno ni antecedentes, los que podrán volver a ocupar cargos públicos como ciudadanos exentos de tal delito.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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