World News

Guatemalan court opens process in case alleging political misconduct by VP

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemala’s Supreme Court on Friday announced it has accepted a request for a hearing in a case centering on allegations that Vice President Guillermo Castillo abused his power in a recent personnel appointment.

The court’s decision means that the Congress must now form a committee of lawmakers to evaluate whether or not to remove Castillo’s immunity from criminal proceedings, which would require a vote of the 160-member legislative body.

The congressional process is expected to take at least a month.

Castillo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegation that he made an unlawful appointment to a government job.

In a brief statement issued later on Friday, President Alejandro Giammattei strongly defended his number two.

“I can say with absolute certainty that (Castillo) has led the institutions he’s responsible for with the utmost responsibility, commitment and dedication,” according to the statement.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Kim Coghill