Friday 1st March 2024.

February 29, 2024


What is the procedure that must be followed to make Zulay Rodríguez ‘s resignation effective as a deputy of the National Assembly (AN)?  That is the answer sought by PRD deputy Raúl Pineda , president of the Credentials, Regulations, Parliamentary Ethics and Judicial Affairs Commission of the AN , which is why he has sent a written query to the Attorney General of the Administration, Rigoberto González .

The note to Attorney General González was sent this Thursday, February 29, the same day as Rodríguez’s indictment hearing for the alleged commission of four crimes: money laundering, abuse of trust, illicit association to commit a crime and against the administration of justice.

Rodríguez says that he resigned last Monday (he even announced it during the first presidential debate) and recorded this in a note he sent to the president of the AN, deputy Jaime Rodríguez.

But that resignation note requires a procedure. And that is what Pineda needs explained to him. That’s why he wrote to the Administration attorney.

The Credentials Commission must “know” about the resignation of a deputy.

“What is the scope of the provision and what type of procedures, in your opinion, should the Commission carry out to fully comply with the spirit of the regulation and, therefore, its corresponding functions?” Pineda asked.

Pineda says that his only intention, as president of the aforementioned legislative commission, “is to guide my colleagues in the legal procedures and thus guarantee the fulfillment of our functions.”

The political alliance made up of Cambio Democrático (CD) and the Panameñista Party , which has Rómulo Roux as its presidential candidate , now has the support of 67 independent candidates for the May 5 elections.

The coalition between the candidates for different positions for free nomination and Roux’s campaign took shape this Thursday, February 29, in an event at the Hotel El Panamá. These are 67 candidates for different popularly elected positions: township representative, mayor and deputy from different provinces of the country. “Our ideals are included in their work plan,” explained María Batista , candidate to represent the town of Llano Catival, Mariato, in the province of Veraguas, and spokesperson for the group.

When they asked him the reasons why they support this campaign, he answered that they trust the proposal of this alliance to combat corruption, since it has the vision that they share.

The hearing to charge the presidential candidate for free nomination and deputy of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Zulay Rodríguez , scheduled for this Thursday, February 29, was postponed until March 7.

The decision was adopted this Thursday by Judge Ariadne García , acting as guarantee judge, given that the deputy did not appear at the event, which began at 2:03 pm and lasted until 3:35 pm.

Judge María Cristina Chen Stanziola acted as prosecutor.

Rodríguez’s presence was never observed in the place, although he would not have to attend in person, since the Judicial Branch sent the parties a link via Zoom , for those who wanted to intervene in virtual format.

His lawyer Ángel Álvarez did participate in the hearing, via Zoom. Álvarez requested to hold the charging hearing on another date, since his client was not present. The request was not objected to by Fiscal Magistrate Chen.

Álvarez also told Judge García that his client is no longer a deputy, so the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) no longer has jurisdiction to prosecute her.

The anti-corruption prosecutor Ariel De Gracia requested a conviction for the former Minister of Public Works (MOP), Federico José Pepe Suárez , and seven other people for the alleged commission of the crime of embezzlement through the execution of the design and construction project of the Arraiján-Chorrera highway .

During the trial that began this Thursday, February 29, at 9:20 am, prosecutor De Gracia alleged that there is evidence that links the defendants to activities that caused property damage in the amount of $7.8 million.

Suárez was present in the room.

In this case, in addition to the former minister, the legal representatives of the contractor company that was awarded the project and a company in charge of its supervision are prosecuted, as well as two inspectors from the MOP and three inspectors from the Comptroller General of the Republic who were in charge of verifying the progress of the work and the management of funds.

In the case of the former MOP minister, Jaime Ford , a procedural break was ruled since, due to his status as a candidate for deputy for the Realizing Goals party, he enjoys electoral criminal jurisdiction.

María Alejandra Panay took office as vice minister of the Ministry of Women, after being appointed by the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo.

According to the Presidency statement, Panay has degrees in industrial engineering, logistics and international trade . He also has a master’s degree in project management.

Currently, she is an advisor to the top office of the Foreign Ministry, where she works to promote the role of youth and women in foreign policy. According to the Comptroller’s payroll, updated until February 19, she earned $3,000 a month.

María Alejandra, who will be vice minister until next July 1, is the daughter of the current secretary general of the National Assembly, Quibián Panay , former deputy of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) and husband of deputy Yanibel Ábrego .

At the beginning of this government, she worked at the Institute for Training and Use of Human Resources (Ifarhu) , as “executive assistant” to the then director of that entity Bernardo Nando Meneses.

Meneses granted two financial aid to María Alejandra, which totaled $81,730. The first was $59,230, which was endorsed by the Comptroller General of the Republic in October 2021. The second reached $22,500 and received the approval of the comptroller Gerardo Solís, in February 2022.

The authorities of Panama reported this Thursday the seizure of five tons of drugs, without specifying them, inside a ship flying the Maltese flag in a seaport located in the Caribbean.

The drug was found by the National Aeronaval Service (Senan) distributed in 5,000 packages (each one usually weighs approximately one kilogram) inside a container that was transported by a ship, located in a port of Colón, in the Panamanian Caribbean, according to the official information.

So far, authorities have not indicated what type of illicit substance it is, although most seizures tend to be cocaine.

Last year, Panamanian authorities seized 119.2 tons of drugs, while in 2022 they seized the historic amount of 138.41 tons of drugs, of which 108.82 were cocaine, according to official figures.

Panama is used as a bridge for drugs produced in South America and whose main destination is the United States, the largest consumer of cocaine in the world, and also Europe.

This Wednesday, Interpol Panama extradited two individuals requested by the authorities of the United States and Spain, respectively, the National Police reported.

According to a police report, both people were detained at the Tocumen International Airport while they were making a stopover to other countries.

It is stated that one of the detainees is a Honduran citizen requested by the United States for his alleged participation in the crime of drug trafficking.

In the other case, it is a Venezuelan citizen requested by the Spanish authorities for his alleged involvement in the crime of sexual abuse against a minor under 16 years of age.

The Chiriquí Regional Prosecutor’s Office managed to get a judge to charge a 37-year-old woman for allegedly impersonating a newborn baby with a doll in the district of Bugaba.

The charges were brought by Judge Belén Salomón against this woman, who resides in the capital city. Prosecutor Janela Ríos reported that charges were brought for the alleged commission of crimes against public faith and against the administration of justice.

On December 14, 2023, the defendant delivered a coffin to a young man from Chirica, who was the father of an alleged baby, stating that the girl had died. However, the baby’s paternal grandmother checked the coffin and realized it contained a doll.

During the hearing, prosecutor Ríos explained that there are elements of conviction that support the crimes charged in the modalities of simulation of a punishable act and falsification of documents.

These elements led the guarantee judge, Belén Salomón, to admit the requests and order house arrest as a precautionary measure for the duration of the investigation (six months).

The Prosecutor’s Office has carried out a series of procedures and so far has more than 20 elements of conviction that supported the holding of the hearing.

It is expected that during the term of the investigation more evidence will be collected that will allow this investigation to be concluded and determine the concurrence of the facts.


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