Tuesday 15th March 2022.

March 15, 2022


The epidemiological report of the Ministry of Health (Minsa), from this Monday, March 14, reports 3 deaths from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, which brings the accumulated number of deaths to 8,140. It was confirmed  there are 146 new infections. To detect the new cases, 3,668 tests were applied for a positivity of 4.0%. The report adds that the active cases total 2,420, of which 2,297 are in home isolation and 123 hospitalized. Those in isolation are divided into 2,268 at home and 29 in hotels. While those hospitalized are 108 in rooms and 15 in an intensive care unit. Regarding the number of recovered patients, from March 2020 to date, 749,222 have overcome Covid. In the last 24 hours 433 people recovered.

Starting yesterday, nursing staff from the Ministry of Health and the Social Security Fund carried out school vaccination against Covid-19 in 1,552 schools in 39 circuits and 81 districts in the country. The Minister of Health in charge, Ivette Berrío, said that the number of vaccines necessary for this day, which will last until March 18, are available. “We are prepared for the number of students,” she stressed. Berrío urged parents to take advantage of the opportunity and allow their children to be vaccinated. To do this, they must sign the consent or accompany their children on the immunization day.

Considering that it is not recommended, the Attorney for the Administration, Rigoberto González , objected to Bill 650, which aims to modify the municipal regime to exempt municipalities, community boards, provincial councils from the provisions contained in the Public and regional Procurement Law. Said bill was presented in July 2021 by the deputy of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) Javier Sucre, who chairs the Municipal Affairs Commission of the National Assembly. The attorney, however, concluded that granting this discretion to municipalities, community boards, provincial and county councils would conflict with the intention of standardizing public contracting processes. According to his criteria, if what is sought with the aforementioned project is to speed up minor purchases in the municipalities, community boards, provincial and county councils, what should be promoted is the introduction of these mechanisms within the Public Procurement Law, which would ensure compliance with the ethical principles linked to the purchasing system.

When investigating the case about the possible sale of a ruling in the Supreme Court of Justice – for which Oydén Ortega Collado (son of former magistrate Oydén Ortega Durán ) and former secretary Claudia Purcait were convicted last Friday – the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office did not find elements that revealed the connection of magistrates with this crime and that forced them to send the file to the National Assembly, the competent entity to investigate the magistrates. This is stated in the conviction of Ortega Collado and Purcait –issued by judges Ilka Castillo, Jennifer Saavedra and Roberto Tejeira–, after a trial that lasted from Tuesday the 8th to Friday the 11th of March. In order not to go to jail, Alvarado signed a collaboration agreement with the prosecution, for which he appeared at trial as a witness and gave details of the conversations and the payments he made to achieve a favorable ruling in a lawsuit for the recovery of eight farms in Chiriqui. He specified that he made payments of $5,000 and $15,000 to obtain the admission of the cassation appeal, remove it from the office of then-magistrate Harley Mitchell and that it be brought to the attention of magistrates Hernán De León and Oydén Ortega. He explained that, in the end, they demanded another $250,000 to resolve the process in his favor, but since he did not have that amount of money, he decided to report the irregularities.

By admitting the request to revoke the mandate filed by the lawyer Roberto Ruiz Díaz against the mayor of Panama, José Luis Fábrega , the Regional Directorate of Electoral Organization of the Electoral Court (TE) incurred a “clear abuse of authority.” This was argued by the lawyer Carlos Carrillo – who represents Fábrega – when appealing the decision of the TE last week. According to the appeal, by admitting the request for revocation, the TE violated the fundamental guarantees of Fábrega, since article 500 of the Electoral Code states that no authority can face more than one request for revocation of mandate by popular initiative at the same time, and the TE is already processing a request in this sense presented by Raúl Ricardo Rodríguez.

External deposits boosted the growth of deposits in the international banking center last year. The market closed 2021 with $33,880.6 million in external deposits, a figure that represents an increase of $1,625 million or 5% compared to 2020. The Superintendent of Banks, Amauri Castillo , said that the performance is a reflection of confidence in the banking center, also favored by Panama’s being a dollarized economy. External deposits set the growth trend, but the bulk of the deposits continues to be in internal deposits, which closed 2021 at $63,134.3 million. The growth was $193 million or 0.3%, a slower pace than the one recorded in previous periods. The regulator pointed out in the report that this behavior may be related to the reopening of activities affected by the pandemic, the reduction of precautionary savings and the resumption of payment of obligations covered by financial relief programs. Adding foreign and domestic deposits, the international banking center closed the year with $97,014.9 million in deposits, 1.9% more than in 2020.

The National Migration Service reported this Monday, March 14, on the arrest of a Somali citizen, with a criminal record, who had entered the country irregularly after crossing the border with Colombia. The authorities confirmed that this person was held at the immigration reception station in San Vicente (Darién), after verifying that he had a “criminal record and links to terrorist activities.”

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