THE Magistrate Alfonso Villagómez Cebrián, annulled Madrid’s Autonomous Government’s ban on smoking last week; in a democratic country and with a legal system that protects the people’s fundamental rights and freedom, we should all consider the necessity and legality of the actions of the public authorities when they take our freedoms away.
Every day we come across new regulations that tell us how we have to act, what we can do and what not, with whom we can and cannot meet, where we can go and where not.
Moreover, we must not forget that all these regulations affect rights and freedoms protected by the Spanish Constitution, which can only be limited in a situation of a State of Exception, as regulated by the constitutional text itself.
It all started with the lockdown decree last March that prevented us from free movement and assembly knowing that in a State of Alarm these rights and freedoms can’t be touched, 40 million Spanish residents accepted the situation due to fear of this pandemic which has rocked most of the world.
After the State of Alarm finished, the Autonomous Regions were given back their power. However, they have regulated numerous aspects of our daily life through legal orders that are null and void, since they are contrary to the Government’s Royal Decree-law. This Royal Decree-Law, known as the “New Normal” that imposes several health and safety rules (some of them constitutionally questionable) have to be controlled and imposed by the Autonomous Administrations; for example, wearing a face mask. The Autonomous Communities have not limited themselves to imposing the Royal Decree-Law, but have in turn regulated a stricter version, approving regulations that are therefore illegal.
In addition, this situation produces legal uncertainty which is also constitutionally unacceptable. And in the middle of all this chaos are the members of the Security Forces, obeying orders from their superiors forcing them to fine residents applying unconstitutional norms. On the one hand, all Spanish civil servants are obliged to obey when carrying out their duties, but on the other hand, they are also obliged to report illegal practices in their jobs when they become aware of them.
Therefore, we should ask ourselves, what should the police do? Denounce people or denounce their superiors?
Meanwhile, the Government has had to acknowledge that there has never been a Committee of experts that supposedly advised on the decision-making of the de-escalation and on the preparation of the aforementioned Royal Decree-Law of the New Normal.
The damage which has been made by these clearly political decisions has taken the hotel and bar businesses to a dead zone where no help has been offered more than the original furlough.
All this opens up many questions, such as, why is the government going down this road? Are our politicians uneducated with regard to health and economic issues? All these questions will have to be answered sooner or later.
Bearing in mind that politicians have never been objective thinkers, we should not hesitate to question them regarding how they legislate our fundamental rights and freedoms.