Natalia Obon, girlfriend of Unión Cívica Radical (UCR) Senator and former Vice-President Julio Cobos declined taking a high post today in the Mendoza judiciary – province in which she and Cobos reside – after her appointment made the news and fell under heavy scrutiny yesterday.
Obon had been appointed as Secretary of Mendoza’s Federal Court of Appeals: one of the highest in the judiciary, the post has a salary of roughly AR $85,000 a month – and doesn’t pay income tax – and is the previous step before becoming a judge. As soon as her appointment surfaced, Obon and Cobos were accused of nepotism, the main argument being she was unlikely to be one of the province’s most qualified people for the job.
Obon graduated from a distance learning university (called Siglo XXI) less than a year ago and has no experience in the judicial landscape, or in the public or private sector. Before making her way to the legal world, she graduated as a dietician. At the beginning, people close to Cobos denied Obon got the job as a result of their relationship, saying “she meets all requirements.”
“She quit her previous job to take on this one. We understand it has become an object of public debate because she is Cobos’ partner, but she was not offered the job because of that,”an aide of Cobos. told La Nación
One of Cobos’ two fellow senators in the province, Frente Para la Victoria’s (FpV) Anabel Fernández Sagasti, was one of the most vocal critics of the decision, straightly assuring it was a result of nepotism.
Éstas decisiones son las que alejan a la ciudadanía del servicio de Justicia
Dicen trabajar x la transparencia y se van con nepotismo y múltiples denuncias x violencia de género en el Gabinete. Ni hablar del desastre económico#LobosDisfrazadosDeCorderos https://t.co/9m0XRAXm2K
— Anabel F. Sagasti (@afernandezk) September 19, 2018
“These decisions drive away the citizenship from serving in the judiciary. They claim to work for transparency and leave with nepotism and multiple charges of gender-based violence in the Cabinet. Not to mention the economic disaster,” she said. She did not explain what she referred to when making reference to gender-based violence.
As the controversy continued to grow, Obon decided to decline the post, saying that even though she knew she was qualified to do it correctly, she was also “aware that certain situations are used as leverage in power struggles.”
“I understand the doubt that has been cast over me and my partner. That is something I cannot and do not want to allow, therefore I have decided to decline the post,” reads the end of the letter Obon published to announce his decision. Senator Cobos has not spoken publicly about the issue.