Thursday 28th March 2024.

March 27, 2024


Torrijos vs Carrizo. One day they were co-partisans, today they are not only political adversaries, but they also fight a duel in the electoral instances.

The Electoral Court (TE) admitted a complaint for alleged dirty campaigning, filed by José Gabriel Gaby Carrizo , presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) , against his opponent Martín Torrijos , presidential standard bearer of the Popular Party.

This is stated in Resolution 371 of March 16, 2024, signed by Osman Valdés , director of the National Directorate of Electoral Organization.

According to the document, Torrijos, through his legal representative Jonathan Batista Calderón , accuses Carrizo of promoting a dirty campaign against him from his account on X (formerly Twitter) @gabycarrizoj. That post was replicated by the user @trafico507panamá on Instagram.

In the publication that is the subject of the lawsuit, the following phrase is read: “4 x 8 = 32 MILLION… that you stole from Odebrecht.” The message is accompanied by a photo in which Torrijos is seen shaking hands with André Rabello, former mayor of Odebrecht in Panama.

According to Torrijos’ complaint, the publication offends human dignity, is discriminatory and makes legal assertions. Furthermore, it disqualifies politically and incurs slander and insult. The complainant asks that the person responsible be punished, as provided in article 575 of the Electoral Code , which entails a fine of 10,000 to 25,000 dollars.

Consequently, the National Directorate of Electoral Organization ordered the administrators of the accounts @gabycarrizoj in X and @trafico507panama to suspend the publications.

The entity also asked the General Electoral Prosecutor’s Office to rule on the issue.

The organization Transparency International (TI) has harshly questioned the order adopted by a Brazilian magistrate that invalidated all the evidence derived from the Odebrecht clemency agreement in that country, at the request of former president Ricardo Martinelli , among other defendants.

TI warned that this decision made by Judge José Antonio Dias Toffoli, of the Supreme Federal Court (STF, for its acronym in Portuguese), “guarantees impunity for numerous cases of large-scale corruption in Brazil and other countries.”

In a report on how the lack of judicial independence slows down the fight against corruption , TI points out that this scenario “weakens the rule of law and promotes impunity for the powerful and criminals to the detriment of people and the common good.”

Last Friday, Dias Toffoli accepted the request of Martinelli and his friend Aurora Muradas to prevent the use of evidence provided in Brazil by the Odebrecht informers, in their leniency agreement, according to the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo in its digital edition. .

Before, Dias Toffoli adopted a similar decision that favored Riccardo Francolini and Juan Antonio Niño . Both, along with Martinelli and Muradas, will be tried in the case of the bribes that Odebrecht distributed in Panama, next November.

The same strategy was also followed by the former president of Peru, Ollanta Humala.

TI, in a report in which it maintains that the lack of judicial independence slows down the fight against corruption at the regional level, mentions that the independence of the justice system in Brazil has had significant setbacks for almost a decade.

“The participation of important figures in the Lava Jato operation , including the main judge and prosecutor, in the government of former President Jair Bolsonaro has seriously called into question the independence of the Judiciary and the investigation itself. Although Lava Jato has celebrated its tenth anniversary this year and has the undeniable merit of having exposed grand corruption schemes, it has also been the target of criticism for having compromised its impartiality,” indicates TI.

He adds that both Bolsonaro and current President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva have evaded processes to increase the legitimacy and independence of the Judiciary by appointing trusted people to the role of attorney general.

Regarding Dias Toffoli, the organization mentions that “the controversial decision that Lula made to appoint his former lawyer as a judge of the Supreme Federal Court raises even more concern.”

Dias Toffoli has been a member of the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil since 2009, thanks to Lula, whom he also favored by nullifying all the evidence against him provided by the Odebrecht informers.

As recalled, Lula was sentenced to almost 10 years in prison in 2017, in the Lava Jato case, after being found guilty of “passive corruption”, that is, of receiving bribes from the Brazilian construction company OAS, as well as the crime of money laundering. of money.

The former president served 18 months in prison between 2018 and 2019, but his sentence was annulled by the Supreme Court of Brazil in 2021, not because he was innocent, but because the Court considered that violations of his criminal process were committed.

Seven of those accused of the explosion at the PH Urbana , an event recorded on November 1, 2022, will not be able to leave the country without judicial authorization. They will also not be able to change their address without permission from the authorities.

In a hearing that concluded this Wednesday, March 27, the Superior Court of Appeals of the First Judicial District of Panama, made up of judges Fernando Alonzo (president), Omaira Jaramillo and Mauricio Marín, confirmed the precautionary measures issued by a guarantee judge.

Meanwhile, two other defendants had better luck, since the magistrates revoked their ban on leaving the country after they presented documents proving that they have health problems and require care abroad. The Specialized Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime did not oppose this request.

The defendants are being investigated for the alleged commission of crimes against public health. At the hearing to bring charges, the Prosecutor’s Office maintained that there was “clear negligent management on the part of the administrators of the PH Urbana by not notifying the Fire Department about the alarms generated days before the explosion.”

However, the defense lawyers alleged that the guarantee judge applied measures without the Public Ministry being able to link their clients to possible illicit activity. They also alleged that the Prosecutor’s Office has already collected all the evidence in this case and that there is no longer the possibility that their clients can affect it.

According to a press release from the Judicial Branch, at the hearing, the Public Ministry was represented by prosecutor Raquel Méndez De Gracia.

The event occurred on November 1, 2022, on 54th Street located in Obarrio, in the heart of the capital. At 7:15 am a powerful explosion on the 12th floor of PH Urbana (33 floors) broke windows, collapsed furniture, threw debris that affected citizens and vehicles, and left 21 people injured, including a woman who He suffered burns on 80% of his body.

In February 2023, a report from the Panama Fire Department confirmed that the explosion occurred due to a gas accumulation registered in a stove in apartment 12C-2.

The banks will again receive public debt securities as part of the payment for the section of preferential interest granted on mortgage loans, as well as for tax incentives for restorations in the Old Town.

In total, the banks will receive $651.5 million in these financial instruments, as reported by the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo Cohen , on the social network X.

“Today I announced to bank representatives that the State debt of $651.5 million for preferential interest, and preferential interest for Restoration of the Old Town, will be canceled through Treasury Notes and via budget, without affecting the 2024 fiscal deficit,” he said. the national leader.

In a statement sent later by the Presidency, it is detailed that after meeting with the representatives of the main banks in the country, the national leader signed the Executive Decree through which the National Government cancels, during the fiscal period of 2024, the sum of $651. 5 million to local banks for the debt that was outstanding due to the preferential interest that banks assume when giving mortgage loans for housing units with a value of less than $180,000.

Part of the resources issued in securities will also be to recognize tax incentives for restorations in the Old Town of credit applications validated as of January 31, 2024.

The decree establishes that all tax credits validated as of January 31, 2024 will be paid through public debt securities to mortgage creditors with debts greater than $5.2 million of preferential tranches in preferential mortgage loans, for a total amount of $626.7 million.

This is not the first time that they have paid off the debt for the preferential interest tranches through securities. In December 2023, the Government paid $208 million to the banks with treasury notes that were traded through an issue on the Latin American Stock Exchange Latinex.

It also indicates that it will be paid with the recognition of tax credits to mortgage creditors with debts of less than $5.2 million of preferential tranches in mortgage loans.

During the meeting with representatives of the banking sector, President Cortizo reviewed the economic situation and said that inflation is currently at 1.2%, the lowest in all of Latin America.

The Government reported that national and municipal public offices will be closed starting at noon this Thursday, March 28, on the occasion of the commemoration of Holy Week.

This Good Friday, March 29, being a day off by law, public offices will not be operating either.

The provision exempts public offices that, due to the nature of the service they provide, must be operational. Among them are the Institute of National Sewers and Aqueducts, health facilities (hospitals), postal services, Fire Department, National Civil Protection System, security establishments, the Metrobus system, the Panama Metro and the Cleaning Authority, among other.

It is remembered that these agencies must work uninterruptedly and may adhere to the legal work schemes, procedures or regulations that they have in place for such purposes.


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