‘If I were Manuel Mallia, I would resign’ – Marlene Farrugia

Outspoken Labour MP says it would have been the most logical decision for Manuel Mallia to resign pending outcome of magisterial inquiry.

Candid Labour MP Marlene Farrugia has insisted that the “logical decision” is for home affairs minister Manuel Mallia to resign in the aftermath of the shooting incident his driver and police constable, Paul Sheehan.

“If I were in Manuel Mallia’s shoes, I would resign, wait until the magisterial inquiry is completed and wait until the prime minister reappoints me,” she said in comments to Sunday newspaper Illum.

The incident saw the driver of home affairs minister, Paul Sheehan, shoot and hit twice a vehicle which had rammed into Mallia’s ministerial car. However, moments after the incident took place, the home affairs ministry played down the incident, insisting that only “warning shots” were fired in the air.

However, photos showed that there were at least two bullets lodged in the back of the car involving the accident – fuelling the PN’s calls for Manuel Mallia to shoulder political responsibility and “resign for attempting to covering-up and distorting the facts.”

“This is the most logical decision that should have been taken [Manuel Mallia’s resignation]. It would have avoided the tarnishing of his and the government’s reputation,” she said.

Nevertheless, despite her uncompromising views, Farrugia argued that she believes that the minister is innocent until proven guilty.

The incident has since become a saga characterised by a continuous tug-of-war between the government and the opposition. Moreover, among Sheehan being charged with attempted murder and the government appointing a magisterial inquiry, the Opposition has this week presented a no confidence motion in Manuel Mallia.

Moreover, MaltaToday has revealed that an internal investigation launched into the deletion from a police report of details of the arrest of Scotsman Stephen Smith and the result of a breathalyser test he took.

Echoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Farrugia insisted that she would wait for the outcome of a magisterial inquiry to determine whether any responsibility will have to be borne by Mallia.

“I will wait until the outcome is inquiry is determined. My conscience will then dictate my vote on the no confidence motion. I believe that I should not judge on information which is continuously changing,” Farrugia said.

Moreover, Farrugia said the Prime Minister’s haste at establishing whether Manuel Mallia or other officials were “illicitly” involved in the incident in any way, highlighted his “immaturity.”

“Such cases cannot be solved immediately, and the prime minister’s insistence that the inquiry should be completed within 15 days highlights his immaturity,” Farrugia said.

Earlier this week, Farrugia – whose tenure as Labour MP has been characterised by her outspoken views – turned the tables on her own party and criticised Labour’s environment record as “Austin Gatt’s bridge to nowhere.”

Farrugia said the government was allowing abuse to take place, and urged the government to allow development in ODZ areas, expressing concerns that “green open spaces will become just a memory.”