Thursday 1st February 2024.
January 31, 2024
Martín Torrijos Espino announced this Wednesday, January 31, that he resigned from the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), the only group in which he has been active all his life, which led him to the Presidency of the Republic (2004-2009) and which his father founded. Omar Torrijos .
Torrijos is competing as a presidential candidate for the Popular Party (PP) in the May 5 elections, which is why the PRD was promoting an expulsion process against him.
“The country is going through a deep crisis, the result of corruption and clientelism. In these circumstances, the last thing I want is for us to get involved in discussions that take us away from solutions to the problems of Panamanians,” Torrijos said in a message posted on his social networks.
“I have made the decision to break the last bond that united me to the PRD… Today I am resigning from the PRD, led by Benicio Robinson and Raúl Pineda , associated with [Laurentino] Cortizo and Gaby Carrizo,” Torrijos remarked.
With Torrijos his wife Vivian Fernández resigned . So did Rosario Turner , the former Minister of Health who is now his running mate, who personally went to the headquarters of the Electoral Tribunal (TE) , to formalize his departure from the PRD. She herself confirmed it in a message on Instagram.
“We cannot continue being part of the PRD. Their leadership does not represent us,” said Turner, who even became part of the National Executive Committee (CEN) of that group.
The PRD has gradually lost adherents, although it remains the largest party in the country. A year ago, on February 2, 2023, it had 734,730. On December 28, it had 688,181 members.
Torrijos did not specify whether he will now join the PP, although that seems unlikely, since that party never set that condition to nominate him for the presidency of the Republic.
Last March, the PP announced that there were rapprochements with Torrijos. On July 16, 2023, it ratified him as its presidential candidate and on October 9, the PRD (which has José Gabriel Carrizo as its presidential candidate ) notified Torrijos about the opening of a process to expel him from its ranks.
The list is extensive. With Operation Alpes, which dismantled a criminal network that was dedicated to drug trafficking through the coastal areas of Los Santos and Herrera, the authorities seized at least 16 farms, several properties on the beach and in Panama City, as well as such as 22 vehicles, and cash, assets that are key to laundering money from drug trafficking.
María del Rosario Falconett Herrera , one of those investigated, had a property confiscated at PH Providence 600, located in Santa María, Costa del Este, district of Juan Díaz.
According to official information to which this media had access, another apartment in the PH Perla Mar, Torre 300 in San Carlos, Panamá Oeste was also seized; and one more at PH 43 GV, in Bella Vista, Panama City.
The authorities also seized a BMW model IX truck, valued at $113,500, as well as a Volvo model XC90 valued at $86,900.
They also found $47,493 in cash on her, and 14,585 euros, as well as small amounts of money in currencies from other countries (Colombia, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Cuba, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, United Arab Emirates). .
While a Toyota Land Cruiser truck, valued at $140,000, was confiscated from David de Jesús Díaz Falconett .
A Mini John Cooper Works brand car, from 2024, which costs $57 thousand, was seized from Claudia Viviana Arroyave Escobar .
Meanwhile, Nimia Itzel Pérez Díaz , romantic partner of Carlos Calitín Mosquera , alleged leader of the network, had a Ford Ranger Raptor truck, valued at 52 thousand, and a property in the PH Punta Paraíso Village, located in Nueva Gorgona, in the district of Chame, Panama Oeste.
Pérez Díaz is the sister of former Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) deputy Alfredo Fello Pérez . This politician represented the 8-1 circuit (Balboa, Chepo, Chimán and Taboga) in the five-year period 2014-2019. Fello Pérez is now running for the Central American Parliament (Parlacen): he is a substitute for Amado Cerrud, number 3 on the PRD list for Parlacen.
Personnel from the Electoral General Prosecutor’s Office (FGE) went to the Electoral Court (TE) this Wednesday, January 31, to request the removal from office of Aristides Vásquez, representative of the township of Las Uvas, district of San Carlos, province of Panamá Oeste.
Vásquez, a member of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) , has a conviction for the crime against the public administration, in the form of embezzlement, to the detriment of the Las Uvas community board.
Israel Rodríguez, head of legal counsel at the FGE, explained that the petition is based on article 498 of the Electoral Code , which dictates the guidelines for the loss of representation, the revocation of the mandate of mayors, of township representatives, and councilors, nominated by political parties and elected by free nomination. Section 1 of that rule says that the position of township representative is lost “due to a judicial conviction based on a crime. In this case, the Electoral Court will declare the vacancy of the position, through a reasoned resolution and at the request of the General Electoral Prosecutor’s Office.”
The TE magistrates must analyze the prosecution’s request.
Vásquez was nominated by the PRD to seek re-election in the May 5 elections. He has Magalys Castro as his substitute.
An edict issued by the Judicial Branch, on October 4, 2023, states that the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice denied an appeal seeking to dismiss the ruling of March 28, 2023, of the Superior Court of Liquidation of Criminal Cases that convicted him.
Regarding other representatives of townships who are convicted of embezzlement, the official said that “there are two applications in process,” but did not give names.
In the capital, there are three local authorities convicted of embezzlement. This is the current representative of Calidonia and PRD activist, Ramón Ashby , convicted of the crime of embezzlement to the detriment of his community board. Last August, the Court denied him a clarification of his sentence. The representative of the township of San Felipe , Mario Kennedy , and the representative of the township of Chilibre , Yoira Perea , are also convicted of embezzlement . Both are also members of the PRD. The event occurs three days before the electoral campaign for the May 5 elections begins.
Two people were arrested this Wednesday, January 31, 2024 in an operation carried out to dismantle a criminal group allegedly dedicated to money laundering and corruption of public servants.
It is about a man and a woman. The latter held the position of coordinator of the Chemical Control Unit of the Public Ministry, according to the authorities.
According to the investigations, the former official, apprehended in Panama Oeste, approved and awarded without consultation or inspection a contract for the transportation, loading and transfer of chemical material, using her position.
Both captures were carried out as part of operation “Alquimia”, carried out in the provinces of Panama, Panamá Oeste and Herrera by personnel from the Public Ministry and the National Police.
The investigation that gave rise to this operation began in July 2023.
The First Superior Court confirmed this Tuesday, January 30, the dissolution of the companies Inmobiliaria TPA, SA and TPHC , both holders of shares in Editora Panamá América, SA (Epasa) , and did not admit a protection of constitutional guarantees presented by the law firm Cruz, Ríos & Asociados , within the framework of the New Business case .
The decision, written under the presentation of Judge Guimara Aparicio Ortega and supported by Judges Melina Robinson and Lilianne Ducruet , maintains in favor of the State the administration of the real estate that is in the name of both companies.
The judges consider that the appeal presented by Cruz, Ríos & Asociados expresses disagreement with the criteria of criminal judge Baloisa Marquínez and sought to convert the First Superior Court into a second instance. Aparicio, Robinson and Ducruet agree that the judge had jurisdiction to order the confiscation of Epasa’s shares. Therefore, the First High Court cannot intervene in its judgment or reasoning.
They remember that this position has been validated by multiple rulings of the Supreme Court of Justice, which establishes that the protection of constitutional guarantees is viable when serious violations of fundamental rights occur, not being an instance to review the weighing of aspects. related to the procedures of judicial processes.
Last July, Judge Marquínez sentenced former president Ricardo Martinelli to 128 months in prison and a fine of $19.2 million for money laundering. That sentence was appealed and confirmed last October by the Superior Court for Settlement of Criminal Cases. Now there is an appeal, which has not yet been admitted by the Criminal Chamber of the CSJ. The speaker is Judge Ariadne García.
Judge Marquínez’s order, endorsed by the Superior Liquidation Court, includes the confiscation of 60% of Epasa’s shares, whose beneficiary is Martinelli. The remaining 40%, which were under the control of Henri Mizrachi, are already in the power of the State.