Thursday 29th September 2022.

September 29, 2022


The Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office asked Judge Baloísa Marquínez this Wednesday to reject each of the incidents (of nullity, double jeopardy, prescription, lack of jurisdiction…) presented by different defense attorneys in the pleadings phase, during the preliminary hearing for the bribes paid by Odebrecht . Prosecutor Ruth Morcillo said that there were more than 15 incidents, which have already been resolved by the court and by higher courts, for which she requested that they be dismissed. However, the prosecutor agreed to declare the double trial of the Uruguayan Maya Cikurel , sharing the opinion of her lawyer Jerónimo Mejía , insofar as these same facts and crimes were investigated in her country. In Montevideo, the process followed by Cikurel was archived in 2020. Morcillo asked the judge to reject the nullity incidents due to the alleged lack of jurisdiction to investigate former presidents Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) and Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019) . Both claim to be deputies of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) and, therefore, the task of prosecuting them fell to the Supreme Court of Justice. Morcillo, in this regard, pointed out that Judge Morcillo previously ruled on the matter and recalled that article 19 of the Parlacen’s internal regulations states that deputies acquire all the “functional prerogatives” inherent to the position, once they are sworn in. On the principle of specialty that Martinelli claims, Morcillo recalled that “it is already an issue overcome… This court has already issued a concept”, and cited three court orders and one from the Second Superior Court that support this statement. At 11:18 am, the judge closed the preliminary hearing and will now have up to 30 days to decide if the 49 defendants are prosecuted.

The National Police apprehended in the early hours of this Wednesday, September 28, a person who was possibly involved in the assault on a branch of the Savings Bank, in the Galápago shopping plaza, in front of Villa Lucre. The arrest occured after a raid on a residence in the sector known as La Colmena, in the district of Ernesto Córdoba, north of the city, at around 3:00 a.m. Police officers and Public Ministry officials seized money and clothing possibly related to the robbery, said Police Director John Dornheim, who was at the scene. He did not provide details of the amount of money found in the suspect’s hands. The assault was on the morning of this Tuesday, September 27. The thieves escaped in a sedan vehicle, which was later abandoned in the Santa Clara neighborhood, Juan Díaz.

Five pro-government deputies who are part of the Trade and Economic Affairs Commission of the National Assembly were responsible for overthrowing the legislative initiative that sought to repeal Laws 122 of 2019 and 314 of 2022, which grant tax incentives to tourism and that, according to industry insiders benefit a group of people close to power.These are the deputies Jaime Vargas (president), Néstor Guardia (vice president), Julio Mendoza (secretary), Roberto Ayala and Maira González, substitute for Francisco Pancho Alemán. The first four belong to  the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) . The last milit-ates in the Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement (Molirena) , an ally of the PRD. The five opposed discussing bill 844, presented on August 1 by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Federico Alfaro, after President Laurentino Nito Cortizo promised to push that initiative due to citizen pressure. Ironically, those who supported the Executive’s proposal were opposition deputies: Hugo Méndez ( Panameñista Party ), Juan Diego Vásquez (independent) and Ariel Ortega, substitute for Lilia Batista ( Democratic Change ), who voted in favor of discussing project 844. Everything happened starting at 10:30 am yesterday, Tuesday, September 27, when the commission began the discussion. First spoke the Vice Minister of Foreign Trade, Juan Carlos Sosa, who supported the proposal. Then the president of the National Chamber of Tourism, Ovidio Díaz, took the floor, who among other things assured that 16 of the 17 unions that make up the chamber were against laws 314 and 122, because they benefit a “reduced group of businessmen ”. The three deputies who voted in favor of the Ministry of Commerce bill also argued against tax incentives. Méndez even narrated that he consulted on the subject in Chiriquí, a sector he represents in the Assembly, and most of the merchants told him that these incentives did not benefit small investors. In contrast, none of the pro-government deputies who voted to reject the project that sought to repeal the two laws supported their position before the commission. To bury the project of the Executive, the will of the majority was simply imposed. Vice Minister Sosa issued a few brief words after the discussion. “We came on the instructions of the president [ Laurentino Cortizo ]. However, the Assembly has taken other decisions. We call for consensus so that we have broad discussions,” he stated. Then he assured that “the incentives are not bad”, but that they must be agreed upon so that more people benefit. But just as one proposal died, there is another that advances enthusiastically : bill 888, presented by Melchor Herrera, also a PRD member, which keeps afloat the extraordinary tax credits contemplated in the laws that the Executive is asking to repeal. The initiative reaffirms the right to receive the tax incentive to anyone who has started its process, without specifying which of its stages it is in. Herrera, who represents the 2-2 circuit, corresponding to the Antón area, in Coclé, was the one who proposed Law 314 of 2022. The first symptoms of what the fate of project 844 would be became evident on August 11, when the president of the National Assembly, Crispiano Adames, unexpectedly organized a public consultation hearing on the subject, an activity in which representatives of groups participated. linked to tourism investment and promoters, who defended the rules that offer tax incentives.

The Comptroller General of the Republic released this Wednesday the results of the Multiple Purpose Survey, which sought to know what Panamanians think about some issues such as abortion, the use of cannabis, same-sex unions and sex education in schools. This survey was carried out in April and the sample included 30,554 people interviewed. For example, the statistical study showed that 49% of citizens disagree with the approval of laws that promote euthanasia and 37% said they agree. The rest did not respond. Also, 57% of those surveyed agree with the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, but 88% said they do not agree with recreational use. Regarding abortion, 76% indicated that they are against modifying the law on abortion so that women decide to have an abortion if it seems that way to them in any case, while 70% of those interviewed do agree with the sex education in schools. Another topic analyzed was that of the LGTBTIQ+ community, in which 57% of those surveyed indicated that they have the same rights as the rest of the citizenry, but 77% of those surveyed said they did not agree with legalizing unions between people. of the same sex.

The hall of the American Trade Hotel, in Casco Antiguo, was transformed into an innovative catwalk for Panama Fashion Week 2022 (PFW), the Panamanian fashion week, which began this Tuesday. In  the room, where weddings and other events are held, a catwalk was set up that made the models cross from one side to the other parading among the attendees; it was not a straight road as it has been done in previous years. The first day was inaugurated by the Michelle Nassar show , followed by a block of four designers (Nicolás Real, Palo Santo, Curu and Edda González). Just before this block, a video of the Chamber of Fashion and Design of Panama was projected.

Thomas Christiansen, coach of the Panamanian National Soccer Team, continues to be faithful to his philosophy of speaking openly about both the good and the bad after each match played by La Roja, and yesterday, Tuesday, was no exception. After the friendly match that Panama beat Bahrain 0-2 in that country’s national stadium, Christiansen made his assessments before the Fepafut press department. Christiansen said he was “happy with the victory” because, precisely, that was the objective of traveling to this duel in the Middle East. “There are many things to improve, such as for example we had to have given him a little speed and that is the criticism that we must make. But, in general, we have to keep working”, highlighted the coach, who opened the game playing with a line of three backs not so used to, as he said, to “automate the movements”. Among the positive things that he highlighted was the debut in the Sele of midfielder Martín Londoño and attacker Azarías Londoño. “It’s very positive. They are the future of Panama and you have to see them in action in international matches. They gave a very good feeling. They entered quite well”, specified the European DT. Michael Amir Murillo (18′) and Ismael Díaz (46′) scored the goals for Panama. “Murillo and Diaz have to take responsibility for the team, push the youngsters and show that they are committed,” argued Christiansen.

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