Posted to the Web site of the Alagoas state assembly at 1:35 pm: “FEDERAL OPERATION: Albuquerque is in the House. The president of the state assembly is in the Chamber of Commerce where the legislature is temporarily housed, meeting with [other lawmakers].” In other words, “news of my arrest have been greatly exaggerated”?
Alagoas 24 Horas clears up the mystery of Antonio Albuquerque (DEM): Was the president of the state legislative assembly arrested yesterday, or was he not?
He was not, but his brother, and a former top aide (the former commandant of the state military police, recently named to head the state traffic engineering department, DETRAN) were.
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The case is of interest to students of political rhetoric and communications because the DEM — who run the city governments of both Rio and São Paulo now, but lost the state government of Bahia in 2006 — tend to be the party of hysterical moral virginity.
It makes for an interesting little case study in how the Brazilian press handles official information. When it is not simply running the press release verbatim — often without attribution — it is prone to garbling it.
For example: As the major news agencies — Globo, the Estadão and the Folha — were putting out contradictory reporting on this point — with sourcing ranging from no sources at all to “speculation is” — Alagoas 24 Horas ran a story in the early afternoon yesterday saying, basically, “We went over to the federal police press conference, asked about those reports, and were told that preliminary reports to that effect had been erroneous.”
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Em entrevista concedida à TV Assembléia, no começo da noite desta quinta-feira, 7, o presidente da Assembléia Legislativa, Antonio Albuquerque, fez questão de externar a sua tranqüilidade frente aos acontecimentos relacionados à operação desencadeada pela Polícia Federal. “Quero transmitir aos alagoanos que estou à disposição das instituições para prestar qualquer tipo de esclarecimento”.
In an interview conceded to TV Assembléia (the official news channel of the state legislature), in the early evening yesterday, Assembly president Antonio Albuquerque made a point of demonstrating tranquility with respect to events relating to the Federal Police operation. “I wish to convey to Alagoans that I am at the disposition of the institutions to provide any type of explanation.”
O presidente fez referência à controvérsia dando conta de que ele teria sido preso por porte ilegal de arma. “Este fato não ocorreu”. Os policiais estiveram na residência do chefe do Legislativo para cumprir um mandado de busca e apreensão e tiveram a oportunidade de constatar que a arma em poder do parlamentar encontra-se registrada na Polícia Federal, conforme determina a lei.
Albuquerque referred to the controversy over reports that he had been arrested for an illegal firearm. “This never happened.” The police served a search warrant at his home and were able to determine that the weapon belonging to the lawmaker was registered with the Federal Police in a legal manner.
Alagoas 24 Horas was also able to confirm what the Folha, for example, in a dispatch posted around the same time, reported was unconfirmed: That former governor Gomes and his son-in-law had been arrested on weapons charges.
The Federal Police often use weapons charges to arrest a suspect in flagrante where they might not have been able to detain them otherwise, it seems, from reading the police blotter a lot.