Tuesday 15th August 2023.

August 14, 2023


Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique  Martinelli Linares withdrew yesterday, from the Amador branch of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), after another attempt failed (the third in three years and the second in three days ) to be sworn in as alternate deputies of that regional body.

The fault was, once again, the lack of quorum. The participation (virtual or face-to-face) of at least 11 members of the Panamanian bench was needed to carry out the investiture session and only Amado Cerrud (current president of Parlacen) , Dorindo Cortés and Gilberto Chino Sucari , from the Democratic Revolutionary Party arrived. (PRD) ; José Ramos, from Panameñista; Giselle Burillo, Jackeline Muñoz and Carlos Outten , from Cambio Democrático (CD), and Héctor Valderrama, from the Alianza party. Ricardo Alberto is a substitute for Outten and his brother is for Valderrama.

Alcibiades Vásquez, from Panameñista, had announced that he will not attend the session.

“There is no quorum right now. What happens is that lazy deputies don’t want to work,” Outten said, mentioning several by name. “They have a double salary: they earn here and they earn there. The controller has to see this”.

“If they are not sworn in today, their request remains firm and it is up to the Central American Parliament to take the corresponding oath,” he said.

In this regard, Parliamentarian Burillo warned that the former president’s children will be sworn in, no matter what.

“It could be at the next meeting of the national bench, in the month of September, but they are going to be sworn in… That is their right and we are going to assert their right. If we have to come five more times, we will come,” said Burillo , from CD, and described his colleagues who were absent as “irresponsible.”

Outten, in turn, added that there is a “background”, because there were deputies receiving calls to withdraw from the session and he specifically said that this happened with the Molirena deputy, Rachel González .

Last Friday, Outten accused the Vice President of the Republic and PRD presidential candidate, José Gabriel Carrizo, of preventing the necessary quorum from being formed . Dorindo Cortés, who is a member of the PRD, said he was unaware of Outten’s assertions.

This is the third attempt by the children of the former president to be sworn in. They tried in July 2020, when they were captured in Guatemala, following an extradition request from the United States. That time, the swearing-in was not carried out because the Guatemalan Attorney General’s Office filed an amparo .

Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli have already been sentenced in New York for conspiracy to launder at least $28 million in bribes from Odebrecht.

Mari Carmen Aponte, ambassador of the United States, the country that condemned and expelled Luis Enrique and Ricardo Martinelli Linares from its territory, referred to the imminent swearing in of both as substitute deputies of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen ) .

“I want to tell you that the commitment of the administration of President [Joe] Biden against corruption is unbreakable and so is mine,” Aponte assured during a medical tour and cultural event in Bocas del Toro, to journalists who asked her about the attempted entry of the Martinelli Linares to Parlacen, which failed again.

Corruption “undermines democracy. In fact, I see it every day: corruption steals the resources that may be available to the people and vulnerable communities”, she maintained.

In 2020, when the Martinelli Linares were captured in Guatemala and intended to be sworn in in a military prison, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs of the United States, Michael Kozak, said that Parlacen promotes impunity in the region, and is used by its members as a “shield”.

The Minister of Public Security, Juan Manuel Pino, presented this Monday, the plenary session of the National Assembly, the new project for extinction of illegal assets.

This is the second time that Minister Pino presents this initiative. In the first attempt, and after several discussions, the deputies shelved the project after failing to get the votes in the second debate.

Now, according to the authorities, the document has a new wording.

It has also been specified that the extinction of domain will be applicable to the conducts typified in Law 121 of 2013 , on organized crime: money laundering; crimes related to drugs and chemical substances; human trafficking, human, organ and arms trafficking; terrorism and terrorist financing; sexual exploitation and pornography of minors; kidnapping and extortion; manslaughter and serious injury; theft and theft of vehicles; genetic manipulation; piracy; financial crimes; illicit association; counterfeiting of coins, securities and public documents; credit card crimes; hitmen, and crimes against public administration, against intellectual property, against computer security, against the environment and against historical heritage.

The numbers do not add up in the corregimiento of San Felipe.

Suspicions that many more voters than the real number of residents vote there have been confirmed by the latest population census.

According to the Electoral Register maintained by the Tribunal Electoral, there are 3,900 registered citizens in the corregimiento.

However, according to data from the XII National Population and Housing Census, the total number of residents of San Felipe barely totals 1,258 inhabitants.

From that total, minors and foreigners must still be subtracted.

According to the census, in the historic neighborhood there are 957 adults. Of this total, 27%, or 258 people, are foreigners.

In other words, in San Felipe there are only 692 citizens eligible to vote in the elections. Consequently, in the Electoral Roll appear 5 times more voters than those that reflect reality.

The question would be, who benefits from this situation? And why doesn’t the Electoral Tribunal do anything about it, when the discrepancy, which is old and well known, is so obvious?

Due to the fires and landslides that in the past plagued the old buildings of the Casco Antiguo, whose delimitation corresponds to the corregimiento of San Felipe, many former residents were relocated during the last 30 years.

To this we must add the gentrification process that has been known for two decades. Both phenomena have caused a significant decrease in its residents.

According to previous censuses, in 2000, the population of the historic center totaled 6,928 people. By 2010, it had decreased to a third, since they only totaled 3,262.

Thirteen years later, the total population was minimized to the point of only adding 1,258 people.

The Ethics Committee of the National Journalism Council (CNP) made this Monday, August 14, during a press conference, its recommendations in which they underline the need to maintain “high ethical standards” by journalists and the media in all phases of electoral coverage.

“Democracy requires that the media assume their role responsibly and rigorously, promoting informed debates to empower citizens in their right to vote,” said Nivia Rossana Castrellón, president of the Ethics Committee.

He stressed that in electoral contexts, the media have an oversight function: they fulfill the important task of denouncing irregularities that occur in said processes, always in defense of democracy and truth.

ay, the International Book Fair returns to the Atlapa Convention Center, one of the most anticipated educational, cultural, and literary events in the country.

On this occasion, the fair – which will end on August 20 – will have the motto “Identity and Origin”, a recognition of indigenous nations, the organizers indicated.

It will have the participation of renowned national and international writers and will have a cultural program with some 400 activities for all ages.

For today they will have various activities, including a poetry induction workshop for students, at 10:00 am; there will also be a storyteller in French and Spanish at noon; a creative writing workshop at 10:00 am, among others.


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