Tuesday 12th September 2023.

September 11, 2023


The Panamanian State withdrew the civil lawsuit that it filed three days earlier against Credicorp Bank, SA , from whom it demanded compensation of $600 million for its alleged participation in the scheme of bribes that the construction company Odebrecht distributed to Panamanian politicians and officials, between the years 2010 to 2014.

This Monday, September 11, lawyer Carlos Muñoz Pope , representing the Minister of Public Security, Juan Manuel Pino , presented the documents before the Second Liquidation Court of Criminal Cases, in which he announced that he was withdrawing the civil action against the bank.

The lawsuit had been filed against the bank, in its capacity as a “civilly responsible third party,” last Friday, but the Executive had not reported anything about it, until last Sunday it became known through the digital portal Foco .

This Monday, shortly before it became known that the State was withdrawing the claim against the bank, Credicorp issued a statement in which it stated that it has never been charged in the Odebrecht case (although three former executives of the entity pleaded guilty and agreed to a settlement agreement). collaboration and punishment with the Public Ministry) and that complies with all obligations and supervision processes before regulatory entities. He also indicated that he was operating “completely normally.”

Last Friday, the Minister of Security also filed a civil suit against former presidents Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal (2009-2014) and Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019) , also for Odebrecht bribes. Both will be tried in this case starting next September 27. Two of Martinelli’s sons have already been convicted and imprisoned in the United States, for confessing that they laundered at least $28 million in bribes from Odebrecht, and will also be tried in Panama, but before the Supreme Court of Justice, for their status as Parlacen deputies .

The leaders of the Democratic Change (CD) and Panameñista parties assured this Monday, September 11, that the pact of their alliance , announced yesterday afternoon, Sunday, is based on issues and agreements for the benefit of the country; and that they leave the door open to add more groups to their electoral union, ahead of the 2024 general elections.

Among the agreements that both Rómulo Roux , from CD, and José Blandón , from the Panameñista, agreed upon is, for example, a reform of the Constitution , but through a constituent; that among other aspects, reduce the size of the National Assembly. They are also in favor of an anti-corruption agenda, in which the budget of the Assembly, public spending is reduced

According to Blandón in Telemetro , the Legislative budget is “exaggerated” compared to when he was a deputy.

The issue of financing the Social Security Fund program is also on the alliance’s radar. “This is a priority that cannot be postponed any longer,” said Blandón.

For his part, Roux said on TVN that they are open to other parties joining and that they want to make it clear that this is an alliance that is based on “principles and objectives.”

“We want all those who agree with dismantling the current system; a corrupt, clientelistic political system that joins in,” said Roux.

While Blandón pointed out that “we are open, and yesterday’s message said it more clearly, to adding other actors to this alliance, because we believe that it is important that it be a great, broad alliance (…) that they coincide with us that this country needs a profound change, that it needs a new Constitution ”

They assure that they agreed to seek measures to generate employment in the country and reactivate the economy, as well as reduce public spending. Blandón assured that they agree that the next government must declare “a moratorium on mining activity and reform the Mining Code .”

Regarding the issue of the bill promoted by the Executive to repeal Law 6 of 2002, regarding transparency, both politicians have been against it. However, Roux asked that the project be withdrawn from the Assembly and announced that if it was approved, he would repeal it if he became President.

Both Roux and Blandón insist that the important thing about their alliance is that it is in favor of the Panamanians.

“The most important thing is that we agree on the need to go together towards the elections and we agree on a State agenda on the points that I have mentioned, there are many other points on which we agree that are also important, such as the issue of education, health reform, etc.,” said Blandón. Neither politician wanted to mention who would lead the alliance. That, they pointed out, will be known on September 16 when simultaneously both groups in their respective boards make their alliance official in the first instance.

“On September 16, which is the day we have our boards of directors in parallel, we are going to test the alliance and the presidential payroll will also be approved,” said Blandón.

The National Aeronaval Service (Senan) reported that this Sunday night the site of the AN-141 helicopter accident was located in the mountainous area of ​​Coclesito, province of Coclé.

The authorities confirmed that due to the difficulty in reaching the accident site, the condition of the crew members is unknown.

Senan reported that the crew was made up of Captain Javier Hinestroza (pilot), Major Félix Barrera (co-pilot) and First Corporal Héctor Atencio (technician). In addition, the aircraft continued to carry out a relief mission (transporting personnel and cargo) from the naval air stations on the Caribbean coast.

“Due to the difficulty of accessing the accident site, the condition of the crew members is unknown and efforts to reach the accident site are being exhausted,” Senan said in a statement.

Likewise, it is highlighted that a team has been formed with search and rescue agents, and special forces from the security establishments, who are already in advance towards the scene of the accident.

After the cancellation of the tender for the construction of the new headquarters of the National Cancer Institute (ION) on January 11, the amount of which was $434.8 million, there is no concrete progress on a new tender.

While the current ION facilities, on the slopes of Ancón Hill, Panama City, are too small for the at least 5,000 new patients who enter each year to receive medical care.

On the subject, the Minister of Health, Luis Francisco Sucre , indicated that there are two strategies for the work: start with the first phase, which costs $72 million, or completely construct the building for at least $480 million.

Sucre did not specify a date when the project could be put out to tender and begin, but added that the president wants the new Oncology project to be carried out.

However, on March 22, in the Budget Commission of the National Assembly, Sucre stated that they “really” do not have a date to build this new hospital.

“The president gave instructions for its construction so that the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) looks for strategies so that the ION can be financed,” said Sucre during the inauguration of the new Infinity Linear Accelerator, at the ION, where they also participated. the president of the Republic Laurentino Cortizo and the first lady Yasmín de Cortizo.

The national director of Health Infrastructure of the Minsa, Carlos Candanedo, explained a few weeks ago to La Prensa that he already has a complete and consolidated specifications to continue with the Bidding procedure on the Panama Compras electronic portal.

Candanedo stressed that it has a 4.3-hectare plot of land, located behind the City of Health, township of Ancón. The legalization process was carried out before the Administrative Unit of Reverted Assets (UABR) for the allocation of this land to the Nation for the use and administration of the Minsa.

Organizations, unions and citizens are not the only ones who point out that project 1031, which repeals Law 6 of 2002, on transparency in public management, would leave the National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information (Antai) with powers to pair of State bodies. This is also interpreted by the president of the Supreme Court of Justice , María Eugenia López .

The judge, in a note she sent to the Government Commission of the Assembly, asked to “ review ” and “ adjust ” the document that repeals Transparency Law 6, because if not, Antai “ would be above the rest of the public authorities.” , including the three organs of the State .”

López Arias refers to article 22 of project 1031, which grants Antai the power to, in a “binding” manner, give an opinion on the information that will be classified as reserved or confidential access. This call for attention occurs despite the fact that the magistrate considers that in general terms the project is an “advance”, since – according to her criteria – it improves access to public information.

Article 22 of project 1031 , promoted by the Executive, states that the subjects obliged to provide information will send the resolutions issued to the “governing and guarantor authority”, in this case the Antai (according to the project), at the level of “consultation”. in which the information is classified as “reserved or confidential access” with its respective background, so that Antai decides in a “binding manner” what is appropriate, within 30 days following the date of receipt, verifying that said classification comply with the requirements established by law.

The judge makes it clear that the figure of “ consultation ” is not the appropriate term. In addition, she warned that establishing that Antai “will decide in a binding manner” makes it a “ supra authority, which would be above the rest of the public authorities, including the three organs of the State .”

During the last few weeks, authorities, unions, civil society organizations and citizens have sent a series of recommendations and reproaches to the Government Commission, following the insistence of the Executive and Legislature to repeal Law 6, in the middle of the pre-electoral year and without having allowed a broad and prior consultation with all sectors of the country.

In addition, they have asked the Executive to withdraw the project from the National Assembly, considering it “ disastrous ” and a “ setback ” for the transparency and democracy of the country.


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