Thursday 13th July 2023.

July 12, 2023


The Social Security Fund (CSS) must deliver a copy of the feasibility study that supports the public act called for the supply, installation, start-up, maintenance and monitoring of a system of medical oxygen concentrators , for $101.2 million.

This was determined by the Supreme Court of Justice when resolving a writ of habeas data presented by the law firm Caicedo y Asociados.

The ruling, dated June 1 and under the presentation of magistrate Cecilio Cedalise , obliges the CSS to deliver a copy of the aforementioned study, since it is public information.

The appeal was based on article 8 of Law 6 of January 22, 2002 (Transparency Law), which establishes that State institutions are obliged to provide information to whoever requests it. The plaintiff supported in his petition that the entity directed by Enrique Lau will disburse a significant sum of money in the installation of a plant for the supply of medical oxygen, without to date there being a study that supports the need for this investment.

In its ruling, the Court establishes that the figure of habeas data recognizes the right of every person to obtain information on government affairs that are public or of collective interest stored in registries or databases, consigned in article 43 of the Constitution.

The Court granted a period of 30 days to the CSS to deliver the required information.

One of the Government’s flagship programs during the pandemic was the Panama Solidarity Plan. Several subprograms were derived from this, such as the “Digital Voucher” and the “Solidarity Bonus”, which received hundreds of millions of dollars, supposedly destined for ” people in a condition of socioeconomic vulnerability, affected by the pandemic “, justified the Presidency. How was the aid distributed? What were the controls?

La Prensa has had access to an audit report, from the head of the Internal Audit Office (OAI) of the Ministry of the Presidency, Marilín Pang. This report was requested by the Vice President and then Minister of the Presidency, José Gabriel  Carrizo, on April 21, 2021. The audit covered a period of three months: between February 1 and April 30, 2021. The results were received by Carrizo on August 16, 2021.

In this report, Pang – a certified public accountant – described a series of serious situations with the use, distribution, and redemption of “solidarity” bonds, amounting to some $960,000, and revealing a pattern of irregular use of state funds. The official pointed out that officials of the Presidency, community promoters and a representative of the corregimiento were possibly responsible for the anomalies. Consequently, she recommended that the vice president report the facts to the Public Ministry (MP).

La Prensa asked the MP if Carrizo or any agency of the Presidency of the Republic filed a complaint for these events or if the MP had initiated an investigation against those possibly responsible for the irregularities detected in the audit. The answer was “no”. There was nothing in any prosecutor’s office, not even in the Anti-Corruption office.

Why didn’t the vice president file the complaint? Carrizo responded to La Prensa that, although he was notified “of an irregular situation” with the bonds in question, said report also “determined that there was no patrimonial damage [to the State, therefore] he did not recommend filing a complaint with the Public Ministry.”

Indeed, said report indicates that there was no economic impact on the State, but it also suggests that the audit was inconclusive in various aspects and that an extension was required. But, although it was barely an administrative investigation, the author of it recommended Carrizo to file a “complaint with the Public Ministry to determine the responsibilities that might arise”. And according to Pang, there was not one, but several reasons for doing so.

The investigation was able to verify an operation, which, although it was clumsily executed, tried to defraud the State. Despite this, the officials identified as possibly responsible for the anomalies discovered are today still in positions within the government machinery, including in the Presidency of the Republic, without apparently having had any significant consequences for them.

Members of the Molirena Rescue movement , an organization that opposes the line of party president Francisco Pancho Alemán, reported this Wednesday,  that they are opposed to the group maintaining the alliance with the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) , ahead of the general elections. of 2024.

Among those who lead this movement is the lawyer Guillermo Ríos , who at the time filed a series of complaints for alleged irregularities in the management of the National Charity Lottery, an organization that is in the hands of the Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement (Molirena). This group also filed multiple complaints about alleged violations of Molirena’s internal process to choose the board of directors, an act that took place last March.

Now, Ríos and other leaders of Molirena ask the bases to be “alert” about the decision adopted in the coming days by the National Executive Committee of Molirena (CEN) on possible alliances for the elections on May 5, 2024.

They assure that Alemán will insist, through the CEN, an organization that he manages, in maintaining his alliance with the PRD or uniting without listening to the opinion of the bases.

“These electoral alliances have not helped to solve the problems of all Panamanians, since they have put the personal interests of some before the collective interest,” says a statement read by members of Molirena Vive, this Wednesday morning in a press conference. However, they made it clear that they will go out to tour the country, to talk with all the national and conventional leadership of all the districts, to listen to their opinions and to know first-hand which option represents the best vision of the country, for all the Panamanians.

The Expanded Immunization Program (PAI) of the Ministry of Health reported that this Wednesday, it received a batch with 39,600 bivalent doses against covid-19 .

Itzel de Hewitt, national coordinator of the PAI, reported that of this total dose, 19,000 will be destined for the population between 5 and 12 years of age and 21,600 for people 12 years of age and older.

Hewitt recalled that these doses are being applied in the medical units of the Ministry of Health and the Social Security Fund from Monday to Friday, during extended hours and on weekends in shopping malls.

It was reported that Health personnel are applying the entire offer of the vaccination scheme at the national level. In the last weekly report on immunization, it was reported that 182,883 doses of the bivalent vaccine against covid-19 have been applied throughout the country to people over 12 years of age.

In addition, 10,643 doses have been applied to children from 5 to 11 years of age and 440 doses to children from 6 months to 4 years of age. This makes a total of 193,966 bivalent doses applied.

Panama Digital Gateway, the first technological data center as a free zone, began operations this Wednesday, with a first technological services company, the Italian multinational Sparkle, Global Operator of the TIM Group.

Gustavo Lagrotta, general manager of Panama Digital Gateway, said that it is a special area with tax benefits, to attract investment from other international technology companies that handle billions of data and can take advantage of the highway of submarine cables that pass through Panama to offer more digital services to the region.

He explained that this area was built in the Corozal area and has a branch or connection arm of the Curie submarine cable, developed by Google and Sparkle that connects from California to Chile passing through Panama and allows data management and Internet connection of uninterrupted manner and with greater capacity for data handling.

Gustavo Lagrotta explained that the data center is built following the strictest anti-seismic criteria and designed to guarantee the highest standards of reliability and performance, while minimizing its impact on the environment with efficient energy and cooling systems available on the market. In addition to the fact that it is constituted as an infrastructure that will compete with large data centers that exist in Costa Rica and other markets in the region.

The ultra low cost airline , Wingo will begin to operate a domestic flight between Panama City and David, in the province of Chiriquí, from August 11.

The route that will depart from the Panama Pacifico International Airport to the Enrique Malek International Airport in David will cost $39 each way and will operate with two frequencies a week on Fridays and Sundays.

In a statement, the airline indicates that it seeks to strengthen its operation in the country from where it already offers seven international destinations: Barranquilla, Cartagena, Bogotá, Medellín and Cali, in Colombia, as well as Havana, Cuba and San José in Costa Rica.


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