Friday 24th March 2023.

March 24, 2023


The deputy for Democratic Change (CD), Yanibel Ábrego, said that her candidates for the secretariats of Women and Youth of this political group won the internal elections last Sunday. This, despite the results issued so far by the National Elections Commission.

Ábrego, general secretary of CD, said that she met with her lawyers, with whom she will proceed with all the corresponding resources to guarantee the triumph obtained. This was stated at a press conference held on Thursday, where she was accompanied by “dissident” deputies of CD, that is, those who oppose Rómulo Roux, current president of the collective.

The deputy said that irregularities have been found of which her lawyers are already aware and on several occasions during this conference she accused Roux’s group of “fraud”.

“In this contest the big loser was Romulo Roux, who is the one who intends to be a presidential candidate for CD, who did not demonstrate the leadership he claimed to have in the party and it was evident that more than 50% of the members of CD want an alliance with Ricardo Martinelli in 2024, ” she said.

Meanwhile, the counting of votes continues at the headquarters of the Electoral Tribunal, with more than 80% progress in the count.

For his part, Roux has denounced that in the internal election last Sunday he had to compete against three adversaries: Ábrego, Ricardo Martinelli and the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party.

Three people will be provisionally detained for the death of young Antonio Javier Batista Mena, which occurred on March 6 during a brawl on Via Argentina.

These persons were charged with the alleged commission of the crime against life and personal integrity, in the form of aggravated intentional homicide, as perpetrators. They were apprehended in the morning hours of this Wednesday and this Thursday they faced a hearing of control of guarantees.

Family and friends of the 22-year-old who was killed protested on the grounds of the judicial office where the hearing was being held to demand justice. “Let the aggressors pay,” read one of the banners carried by the protesters.

The Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences accredited that the death of the young man was caused by the blows received in the fight.

The National Police reported through its social networks, the operation to capture one of the most wanted by the authorities.

This is Miguel Ángel Álzate González, who would allegedly be linked to the discovery of the dismembered body of a person on December 2, 2022 in the corregimiento of Betania.

He is now arrested, found in a residence in the sector of Condado del Rey and his apprehension occurred after a search operation carried out in coordination with the Public Ministry.

In the early hours of December 2, 2022, a dismembered body was located inside the trunk of a vehicle in Betania.

The alert on that occasion was received by the National Police, which described a car on fire. Police officers arrived at the scene and found a lifeless body, Deputy Commissioner Jaime Toledo announced at the time.

It was from that instance that the investigations of the case began, which now leads to the capture of Álzate Gonzalez.

The Commission of Government, Justice and Constitutional Affairs of the National Assembly could begin next Thursday, March 30, the discussion, in first debate, of bill 625 on Extinction of Ownership of Illicit Assets.

This became known this Thursday, after a meeting between deputies, representatives of the Public Ministry, the Supreme Court of Justice and the Ministry of Public Security.

It should be remembered that the discussion in the first debate of this project has been on pause in the Assembly after it was sent to a subcommittee last year for analysis. In turn, a large part of the deputies, including the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party, is against the proposal presented by the Executive.

This Thursday, Leandro Ávila, president of the commission, said that probably the first debate would begin with the presentation of the report prepared by the subcommittee that was created to collect the opinions of all sectors on this project.

Avila stressed that once the commission begins to discuss the project, a technical table will review each article so that they can be approved. We shall then proceed to the vote on the articles.

“That is, to be able to draw up a law that has the national consensus to the greatest possible degree, that serves to combat drug trafficking and organized crime,” Avila said.

For his part, the attorney in charge of the Nation, Javier Caraballo, stressed that the Public Ministry has been participating in the legislative subcommittee, while reiterating that the MP remains open to continue with the adjustments and perfect this bill.

“We are already training prosecutors. We are waiting for it to be approved to start as soon as possible, to make use of this future law that we are sure will become an essential tool in the fight against organized crime,” said Caraballo.

Meanwhile, the head of Public Security, Juan Manuel Pino, expressed his confidence that this project will become a law of the Republic and stressed that it will be an important measure against organized crime.

“We are in time to make a law to further safeguard democracy and governability of our Panama,” Pino said.

The attorney general (in charge) of the Nation, Javier Caraballo, reported Wednesday that the Public Ministry (MP) carried out four visual inspection proceedings in the Social Security Fund (CSS) in search of clues to establish the whereabouts of 19 thousand doses of fentanyl that were taken from that entity.

He did not specify when those four proceedings were carried out: if in November, when the CSS realized that the fentanyl ampoules were not there, or since last week, when the whole country learned of the disappearance.

After an act of accountability of his two years of management, Caraballo explained to the media that the proceedings were carried out in the central warehouse, the warehouse of the Arnulfo Arias Madrid hospital complex, the medical direction and the pharmacy of the CSS, to determine the operation of the logistics chain traveled by the medicine until their arrival at the end user.

Caraballo said that the procedures used by officials for the management of these drugs must be known, as well as the protocols that allow their use by doctors.

Although the first complaint for the loss of fentanyl was presented to the MP in November 2022, it was not until March 6, 2023 that the CSS sent the audit report that reported the disappearance of 19 thousand doses of the substance; Originally, it had been said that it was 10 thousand ampoules.

In that sense, Caraballo explained that it is still “very premature” to establish responsibilities for the loss of fentanyl and therefore inspections are carried out to know the handling that was given to this product within the CSS.

Caraballo, who was previously an anti-drug prosecutor, acknowledged that it is a substance highly coveted by drug cartels that use it to make very powerful drugs that can cause death.

It was learned that the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office sent an official letter to the CSS to establish the amount of the possible patrimonial injury caused to the State by the loss of these ampules.

For his part, the Attorney of the Administration, Rigoberto González, considered that it is a case in which it was necessary to act quickly and adopt necessary administrative measures to avoid more losses. He considered that it is a situation that could affect the international image of the country.

On March 7, the judge of guarantees Oris Medina established a judicial precedent in favor of freedom of expression. Before a complaint for libel against Mauricio Valenzuela and Annette Planells, both of the digital media Foco, the judge refused to prohibit the publication of images and news about former President Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal.

The decision was based on the consideration that article 37 of the Constitution prohibits “prior censorship”, which would be the result of preventing a media outlet and journalists from disseminating information about a person of public interest. The judicial official also rejected a request to issue letters to the Migration Authority and the Transit and Land Transport Authority, to validate the migratory movement and the whereabouts of the defendants.

On June 22, 2020, family jurisdiction judge Alba E. Flores denied a family protection lawsuit filed by former First Lady Marta de Martinelli to prevent the newspaper La Prensa and journalists Rolando Rodríguez, Eliana Morales, Yolanda Sandoval, Juan Manuel Díaz and Olmedo Rodríguez from publishing information about her and her children Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares. as well as the former president.

In her decision, Judge Flores cited Spanish jurisprudence and enriched the ruling with relevant international regulations such as the American Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In this way, it reaffirmed that family law did not conflict with freedom of expression.

On the other hand, Panamanian legislation on civil procedure has become a threat to the exercise of freedom of expression. In Panama, civil sequestering is prohibited as a precautionary measure applied to media such as radio and television; However, both digital and print media are unprotected, as they do not have this regulatory framework.

In practice, this has meant the civilian seizure of property not only of media outlets, but also of journalists.


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