Tuesday 17th January 2023.

January 17, 2023

The Third Settlement Court for Criminal Cases suspended on Monday, the trial of Adolfo ‘Chichi’ De Obarrio and 16 other people for the alleged commission of the crime of embezzlement to the detriment of the now extinct National Aid Program (PAN) through a contract for the purchase of backpacks that would be delivered to public school students. The trial was scheduled to start at 8:00 am, but it was interrupted after one of the defense lawyers appealed the evidence that had to be evaluated during the process. The first judge of criminal cases, Agueda Renteria, sent the appeal to the Superior Court of Settlement to resolve it and then set a new trial date. For this case, De Obarrio was notified by the Court so that he was duly represented. De Obarrio also maintains a process for the alleged commission of the crime of illicit enrichment.

The Supreme Court of Justice did not admit a complaint filed by the lawyer Carlos Muñoz Pope, on behalf of the former Comptroller General of the Republic, Federico Humbert, for the alleged commission of a crime against the administration for the management of funds that deputies of the National Assembly (AN) delivered to community boards and municipalities that were allegedly used for political purposes . This is a complaint filed against the deputy of the Nationalist Liberal Republican Movement (Molirena), Francisco Alemán, after in 2018, the Comptroller’s Office carried out a series of audits of the National Assembly payrolls and found serious irregularities in the hiring of personnel and delivery of funds to community boards and municipalities as donations. Under the presentation of the magistrate, Carlos Vásquez, and unanimously, the magistrates decided not to accept the complaint presented by Humbert, using as argument articles 487 and 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Law No. 55 of September 2012, which reformed the Criminal Procedure Code , which establishes that among the requirements for the admission of a complaint against a deputy is the presentation of appropriate evidence of the punishable act denounced.

The director of the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (Imelcf), Vicente Pachar, warned about the critical situation of the morgue in the province of Darién, located in La Palma, where they have received 62 bodies of migrants who have died during the Journey through the Darien jungle. Pachar explained that most of the bodies are unidentified, since they were located on the routes used by the migrants and that many did not carry documents. He specified that this has caused a limitation of space for the officials who work in the morgue and that they must adjust their activities since the work areas are overcrowded. The forensic doctor revealed that they are working with the International Committee of the Red Cross for the construction of a humanitarian pantheon to bury migrants who die while crossing the Darien jungle. He specified that the pantheon will be built in the town of El Real de Darién to deal with this situation. A report from the Ministry of Security (Minseg) reveals that some migrants died when they were surprised by heads of water when crossing rivers and streams. Others are left behind due to exhaustion or suffered injuries that prevent them from completing the journey without help. The Imelcf is also working on the creation of a DNA bank for migrants to work on identifying the bodies that have been located in the jungle, in the event that relatives try to find out their whereabouts.

The Municipality of Panama awarded this Monday, to the Consorcio Mejorando Vía Italia the project to improve and expand the sidewalks of Vía Italia, in the Punta Paitilla area, for a cost of $2.8 million. According to the Mayor’s Office, the sidewalks in this area of ​​the capital require prompt intervention due to their advanced state of deterioration. For this reason, last year it put out to bid this project for the best value, whose reference cost was $3 million. The winning consortium is made up of the companies Gadinsa and Pinturas Garantizadas SA and competed with seven other companies. The project extends along two roads within the Punta Paitilla sector, San Francisco corregimiento. These are the sections covered by the entire route of Via Italia and Via Juan Pablo II, details the statement of objections. “The existing sidewalks do not meet the adequate dimensions for the best use and displacement of the people who use them daily, for which their immediate intervention is required,” indicates a report from the Mayor’s Office. The work seeks the construction of wider sidewalks, including urban furniture, landscaping, relocation of public services, rainwater adaptations and coating with tactile tiles in their different formats.

Four people who were in a nightlife center at the Flower and Coffee Fair in Boquete, Chiriquí, presented symptoms of intoxication, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) confirmed in a statement. Those affected were treated by medical personnel from the Boquete Health Center, explained the regional director of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Gladys Novoa. They are three women and one man. According to Nova, two women were transferred to the Dr. Rafael Hernández Regional Hospital in David, where they “evolved satisfactorily”, the other recovered at the Health Center. Meanwhile, the man was treated at a private clinic. The women between the ages of 20 and 28 presented symptoms “such as confusion, dizziness, headache, and sphincter relaxation, and it is suspected that they were drugged by substances added to their drinks”. Novoa warned about the risk that exists during this type of public activities where many people attend, since “they can involuntarily be drugged by substances, which can even cause their death.”

Panama closed 2022 with accumulated inflation from January to December of 2.9% according to the Consumer Price Index (IPC) reported by the National Institute of Statistics and Census of the Comptroller General of the Republic (INEC). In the month of December, the prices of goods and services at the national level accelerated 2.1% compared to the same month in 2021. In one year the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages accelerated 5.2%; those of restaurants and hotels 4.9%; alcoholic beverages and tobacco rose 3.9%; education costs increased 2.6%; various goods and services experienced increases of 2.5%. Likewise, the costs of housing, water, electricity and gas services registered an interannual variation of 1.5%; the costs of furniture, articles for the home and for the ordinary maintenance of the home increased 1.0% and transport 0.8%. The rise in prices in December compared to November was impacted by the 1.8% increase in alcoholic beverages and tobacco; followed by food products and non-alcoholic beverages that reported inflation of 0.6%, restaurant and hotel prices increased 0.3%; and that of various goods and services 0.2%. The INEC details that the increase observed in the alcoholic beverages and tobacco group corresponds to the rise that was registered in December in the price of beers that rose 3.2%, and of wines with increases of 0.2%. The increase in the food and non-alcoholic beverages group was due to the increase in eleven product classes. The greatest variation was registered in the prices of legumes and vegetables, which accelerated 3.9% in December, due to the increase in the price of canned tubers, legumes, and beans. In the case of inflation in the category of restaurants and hotels, the largest increase was in restaurants, cafes and similar establishments, which reported a 0.3% rise. In contrast, in December the prices of health products, clothing and footwear, housing services, water, electricity and gas, and communications reflected slight reductions.  The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) pointed out that the world food price index closed 2022 with an increase of 14.3% compared to 2021 and adds that important tensions and security concerns were reflected.“It is important to remain vigilant and continue to make mitigating global food insecurity a high priority, as world food prices remain high, many staples are near all-time highs, rice prices are rising and still there are many risks  associated with future supplies,” warned FAO chief economist Máximo Torero

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