Thursday 27th July 2023.

July 26, 2023


The appeal that the Public Ministry (MP) had announced against the sentence that convicted five people (including former President Ricardo Martinelli ) and acquitted another 10 for the so-called New Business case, will not proceed.

The criminal judge Baloisa Marquínez considered that the prosecutor of the case, Emeldo Márquez , announced the presentation of the appeal outside the term established by law. Therefore, she declared it “untimely”.

After learning of this decision, the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime filed a factual appeal to nullify the criteria applied by the Second Settlement Court for Criminal Cases to declare the appeal against the sentence of April 17 in which she acquitted 10 of the 15 defendants in the New Business case.

In a press release issued on the afternoon of this Wednesday, the MP indicates that the appeal was in fact formalized this morning, after being notified of the decision not to admit the appeal.

The MP’s note explains that the ruling in the New Business case was notified to them on July 18 via email, as provided in Article 6 of Law 75 of December 18, 2015, which adopts measures for the computerization of judicial processes, according to which all notifications between the Judicial Branch, State entities, their users or individuals will preferably be made by electronic means and will have the same validity as those made on paper .

The prosecution’s factual appeal objects to the pronouncement of Judge Marquínez, to reject as untimely the announcement of appeal made by prosecutor Emeldo Marquez, which was sent to the court on the afternoon of Friday, July 21, 2023 at 6:53 p.m. via email, alleging that the New Business case “does not fit under an electronic judicial file.”

The decision not to admit the appeal was adopted by the judge on Tuesday, July 25, one week after the mixed sentence was known for the laundering of funds in the purchase of the shares of Editora Panamá América, SA (Epasa), in December of 2010.

The Panama Canal, through which around 3% of world trade passes, maintains a daily transit average of between 35 and 36 ships, according to what the administrator of the channel, Ricaurte Vásquez said on June 1, for which reason this measure will result in a reduction of between 3 and 4 ships per day.

In a notice addressed to all shipping agents, owners and operators, dated Tuesday and published this yesterday on its website, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) indicated that the reduced transits will be “normally distributed” as “10 ships in the Neopanamax locks (those of the expansion inaugurated in 2016), and 22 ships in the Panamax locks”, which have been operating since 1914 and are smaller.

The ACP clarified that this daily transit capacity “can be further adjusted as deemed necessary, depending on the level of Gatun Lake, weather forecasts, and combination of vessels.”

Vásquez already warned last June that “as an extreme measure”, “the decision would have to be made to limit the number of transits” of ships daily to a minimum of 28 vessels.

The ACP “strongly recommended to all customers that they make use” of the transit reservation system “to reduce the possibility of long delays” due to the reduction in daily transits.

In recent months, the Canal has implemented a staggered reduction in draft which, according to a notice issued on June 14, dropped from July 19 to 43 feet (13.11 meters), when the maximum offered by the canal is 50 feet (15.24 meters).

The draft is the depth that the submerged part of a boat reaches in the water. In practice, its reduction implies that ships must reduce the volume of cargo they carry when they cross the Isthmus, a measure that has an impact on Canal revenues.

The measures adopted by the ACP are due to the prolongation of the dry season that Panama is going through, a situation that has caused water supply problems and has forced the authorities to declare a “state of environmental emergency.”

The Canal is fed by two artificial lakes of Gatún (1913) and Alhajuela (1935), which also supply water to the Panamanian capital, the metropolitan area and surrounding areas, that is, to about half of the population of this country 2.1 million inhabitants.

A guarantee control hearing was held this Wednesday, July 26, at the Gil Ponce Palace of Justice, in the process that is followed by the deputy of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD, Zulay Rodriguez, for the alleged appropriation of some  gold owned by the Mexican José Luis Penagos (now deceased).

Rodríguez, who is seeking signatures to be re-elected as a San Miguelito deputy and compete as a presidential candidate for free nomination, was not present, despite being notified, and was represented at the event by attorney Danilo Montenegro, a court-appointed public defender. Yes, the magistrate María Cristina Chen Stanziola was present , acting as prosecutor of the case.

Magistrate Ariadne García was appointed as guarantee judge .

The deputy is being investigated for the alleged commission of crimes against financial assets, in the form of theft with breach of trust and fraud; against the economic order, in the form of money laundering; against collective security, in the form of illicit association to commit a crime, and against the administration of justice, in the form of prevarication.

The case has its genesis in a complaint filed by Diana Clemencia Ríos Cardona , wife of the deceased José Luis Penagos, who in 2009 was detained at the Tocumen International Airport, when he was in transit to Colombia.

Several gold ingots were confiscated from Penagos under the argument that they had not been declared. The ingots, according to authorities, had traces of methamphetamine.

In 2013, Penagos hired Rodríguez to claim the gold, but at the end of the legal process, he accused her of having appropriated the 66 kilos of gold. She says that her former client never paid her professional fees.

The complainant was also notified of the hearing held this Wednesday but did not attend.

Movements continue within the government team of Laurentino Cortizo , in his last year in office.

This Wednesday, July 26, the director of the Panama Aquatic Resources Authority (Arap), Flor Torrijos, resigned after four years in office.

“I am on my way to the Palacio [de las Garzas] to deliver my resignation letter,” Torrijos said in one of her stories on Instagram.

“Today I close a professional cycle,” she said, while announcing that she will continue working in her family business.

“So grateful for all the support and for all the time,” she added.

On Tuesday, President Cortizo made new appointments in the Ministry of Education, in the Tourism Authority of Panama and in the Institute for the Training and Use of Human Resources.

One person apprehended and two vehicles recovered is the balance of the actions carried out, after a robbery occurred Tuesday morning at the Banco General branch in El Ingenio, Panama City.

The National Police also reported that some $2,850 in cash was located inside one of the taxis allegedly linked to the robbery at this bank. The search of this taxi occurred in the parking lots of Las Multis de Curundú.

The general director of the National Police, John Dornheim, said that search and trace operations will continue to find the rest of those involved in this criminal act.

It should be remembered that there is a man who was captured this morning in the Condado del Rey area for his alleged involvement in the assault on the bank branch.

According to preliminary investigations, at least four people participated in the robbery. Two of them entered the bank and “break into one of the boxes and take the cash,” explained Commissioner Juan Arango, head of the San Francisco police area.

The other assailants attacked the bank’s security agent. Just before the police arrived, the criminals escaped in a vehicle.

At the time of the robbery there were customers inside the bank. No injuries were reported.

Starting this Thursday, July 27, until July 31, 2023, the Government will pay out the voucher for the Vale Digital social program.

This was reported by the president Laurentino Cortizo this Wednesday, through his social networks. The president indicated that the beneficiaries would be those Panamanians who met the established criteria.

This would be the last payment of this Digital Vale program, created during the emergency declaration due to the covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The Executive has not yet announced whether it will extend it.

Beneficiaries receive $120 per month through their personal identity cards.


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