Thursday 24th January 2024

January 24, 2024


The Criminal ChambAer of the Supreme Court of Justice has rejected, as inadmissible, a request for recusal presented by the defense of former President Ricardo Martinelli that sought to remove Judge María Eugenia López Arias from the New Business case .

Through Edict 18 of this January 24, the parties are notified of the decision adopted by judges Juan Francisco Castillo (substitute for Ariadne García ) and Maribel Cornejo , of the Criminal Chamber.

Carlos Carrillo , from Martinelli’s team of lawyers, presented the request for recusal against López on January 12, arguing that the judge had an enmity with his client and, therefore, could not participate in the discussion of the appeal that was filed. presented to prevent the sentence imposed on the former president from becoming final for laundering public funds that were used to acquire the shares of Editora Panamá América, SA (Epasa) , in December 2010.

The sentence is 128 months in prison and a fine of $19.2 million, and was handed down last July by criminal judge Baloisa Marquínez and ratified in October by the Superior Court for the Settlement of Criminal Cases .

The challenge maintains that Martinelli filed several complaints against López (the last one was presented this Wednesday) before the Credentials Commission of the National Assembly. Not one of those complaints has progressed or been decided in favor of Martinelli.

In addition to the challenge, Martinelli’s defense also presented a warning of unconstitutionality against article 2439 of the Judicial Code , which specifies the requirements to annul a sentence.

The presiding judge of the Supreme Court of Justice, María Eugenia López Arias , defended the adoption of sanctions, such as withdrawing the license to practice law, to those lawyers who hinder the administration of justice with the repeated presentation of unfounded legal appeals or repetitive.

During his participation in a discussion about laws and democracy with the judge of the Superior Court of the United States, Sonia Sotomayor , López said that abusing the exercise of law with the repeated presentation of resources that hinder the correct administration of justice deserves to be severely punished.

A lawyer can defend a client without hindering the process and without needing to wear down the justice administration system, López considered.

“We judges have so many cases to handle, that if a lawyer presents the same appeal 20 times with different names, that is not ethical,” he said.

The judge claimed to be in favor of withdrawing the license to practice the profession from those lawyers who “abuse” the law and this should be introduced through a reform to the law that regulates the practice of the profession in Panama.

He added that it is not about being “a lawyer to make money, but about being a lawyer because I can help or contribute to my country being better.”

He stressed that the Constitution specifies that justice must be quick and timely, but sometimes this is not met due to the constant presentation of legal appeals that delay the resolution of the processes.

In that sense, the independent deputy Juan Diego Vásquez considers that presenting appeals with the sole purpose of delaying the solution of the cases is an ethical breach.

Vásquez expressed that López, as president of the Court, has legislative initiative and can request changes to the law.

“We must put a stop to this abuse of law to the detriment of justice,” he added.

The independent deputy Gabriel Silva also considered it appropriate to sanction lawyers who hinder the normal development of justice.

Silva alleged that the constant presentation of legal appeals by some lawyers also causes expenses for the Judicial Branch and overloads magistrates and judges with work, causing judicial delays.

The Electoral Tribunal (TE) monitors and investigates politicians who, during the electoral ban, promote proselytism with clientelistic practices in their communities.

Without mentioning names, Alfredo Juncá, presiding magistrate of the TE, assured that they are “monitoring and supervising them.” He sent them the following message: “Do not think that because nothing has happened at this time, there are no investigations underway. Of course there are. They don’t think that because no one has knocked on their door to ask them how much they are spending? “They are not going to be called.”

Juncá reiterated that both he and his colleagues (Eduardo Valdés Escoffery and Luis Guerra Morales) are “concerned” by the “indiscriminate manner” in which they are investing “money of dubious reputation” in politics.

“The prosecutor’s office must do its part in the criminal sphere,” he stated in the middle of a conversation with journalists after the launch of , a platform where citizens can report misinformation in the midst of the electoral process towards the elections of the 5th. May 2024.

So far, the General Electoral Prosecutor’s Office, headed by Dilio Arcia, has not commented on the issue. Neither has the Public Ministry.

Panama is the first Latin American country to sign a “working agreement” with the European Union Agency for Criminal Judicial Cooperation ( Eurojust ).

This cooperation will allow “closer communication to accelerate the execution of requests for judicial cooperation from both parties” in cases of organized crime, the Attorney General’s Office reported in a press release .

The agreement was signed on January 12, by the attorney Javier Caraballo and president of Eurojust, the Slovakian Ladislav Hamran.

Caraballo believes that the agreement with Eurojust is a “benchmark” to combat serious cross-border crime and vital to dismantle criminal groups with links to Panama and Europe. According to the Attorney General’s Office, the signed agreement includes exchange of strategic information, communication with the point of contact and data protection provisions.

It is not yet known who will pay for the closure plan of the mine located in the mountains of Donoso and Omar Torrijos , in the province of Colón, formerly concessioned to the company Minera Panamá, SA (subsidiary of

“We are executing the bases for the closure plan,” said this Wednesday, January 24, 2024, the Minister of Commerce and Industries, Jorge Rivera Staff , in an interview on Telemetro Reporta . He did not mention who will pay for the execution of said total closure plan.

In the morning news, the official also referred to the preservation and safe management program of the mine, which -according to the calculations given by the mining company itself- would cost between $15 million and $20 million per month.

“We are evaluating this care and maintenance plan that allows us to validate the information that they are presenting,” said the minister, after Minera Panamá delivered, on January 16, the maintenance and management plan that the Ministry had required . of Commerce and Industries (MICI).

Regarding the contribution of $567 million that Minera Panama delivered to the Panamanian State last November, Rivera indicated that they have not been returned to the company and remain in a restricted account in the National Bank of Panama (BNP).

He added that currently, the cost of the maintenance and management plan is assumed by Minera Panamá, which, he insisted, is no longer carrying out copper extraction and marketing work, after the Supreme Court of Justice declared that its concession contract was unconstitutional. , in a ruling released on November 28.

Developing that plan usually takes between six to 18 months, but the minister said that “we don’t have that time,” so it is time to make “adjustments.” Once the plan is adopted, executing it could take between seven to eight years, the minister estimated.

Fuels will register a price increase starting this Friday, January 26, confirmed the National Secretariat of Energy.

95 octane gasoline will have an increase of three cents per liter, so it will sell for $0.98 ($3.71 per gallon).

While 91 octane gasoline will register an increase of two cents and will be on sale for $0.90 per liter ($3.40 per gallon).

Low sulfur diesel also increases in price: two cents, leaving it at $0.91 per liter ($3.45 per gallon).

These new prices will come into force shortly before 6:00 am on Friday the 26th until next February 9, detailed the Ministry of Energy.


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