Tuesday 1st August 2023.

July 31, 2023


The trial of the Odebrecht case, considered the most emblematic cause of corruption in recent times, and a process that involves two former presidents of the Republic, among others, will not be held starting today, Tuesday, August 1, as initially scheduled.  The Second Criminal Case Settlement Court postponed it to its alternate date: from September 27 to October 17 next.

The Judicial Branch informed that the court is still analyzing the evidence presented by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office and the defense lawyers.

It is an accumulation of testimonial, expert and documentary elements, presented by the defense and the prosecution, that the court in charge of Baloisa Marquínez must evaluate to determine if they will be admitted for trial or, on the other hand, exclude them.

It was reported that the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, for example, presented 30 documentary pieces of evidence and 14 testimonials. Among them are bank reports on the movements of the accounts through which Odebrecht funds circulated; legal assistance requested from Brazil, Andorra, Switzerland, Spain, the United States and Belize, among other jurisdictions.

The names of the witnesses who must appear to testify before the witness stand were not provided.

An annulment motion presented by Carlos Carrillo, from the team of lawyers of the former President of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, is also being processed. Martinelli, together with former president Juan Carlos Varela, are among the 36 called to trial for the crime against the economic order and against the national economy, in the form of money laundering. The preliminary hearing in this case was held between September 12 and 28, 2022.

Basilio González, lawyer for two defendants (former Minister of Public Works, Jaime Ford Castro , and businessman Aaron Ronny Mizrachi ), said he was unaware of the prosecution’s evidence brief and explained that the defense attorneys can appeal the admission of some of them.

González explained that once the evidence is admitted by the court, the lawyers and the prosecutor’s office can appeal its admission and that this would be resolved by the Superior Court for Settlement of Criminal Cases.

In addition to Martinelli, Varela, Ford and Mizrachi, those called to trial also include former ministers Demetrio Jimmy Papadimitriu, Federico Pepe Suárez, Frank De Lima and José Domingo Arias , all from the Martinelli administration (2009-2014).

Also on the List are Carlos Dubois and the brothers Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares , sons of former President Martinelli.

The Martinelli Linares brothers have already been imprisoned in New York, after confessing before a judge that they received $28 million in bribes from Odebrecht, according to them, on their father’s instructions.

The United States designated former presidents Martinelli and Varela as corrupt; both are prohibited from entering that country.

PRD deputy Jairo Bolota Salazar, one of those who received $14.1 million from parallel decentralization during this government, will control the Municipal Affairs Commission of the National Assembly .

Salazar was elected this Monday, July 31, as the new president of that commission. He was sworn in by the president of the legislature, Jaime Vargas, during an act of installation.

The board of directors of this commission is made up of deputies Luis Rafael Cruz, as vice-president, and Ricardo Santo, as secretary. In addition to the commissioners Jaime Vargas, Víctor Castillo, Manolo Ruiz, Elías Vigil, José María Herrera and Hernán Delgado, who complement the Municipal Affairs Commission.

During a brief speech, the colonense deputy questioned the media. “They chased us, but we are not afraid of it. I was the second most voted deputy in the country. They are slandering”, said the deputy, who until now has not given explanations to the country about the millions received.

According to a journalistic investigation by La Prensa, entitled: Bolota: the representative who lives as a rich man and maintains “his” people as poor, Salazar obtained three payments from the Cortizo government for decentralization: on April 24 , May 3 and 4, 2023.

The year had just started and I had already received more money than in each of the previous two years. In five months of 2023, he has accumulated 22% of what he obtained in total, although he has always done well in distributing public funds.

In 2021 he achieved $4.1 million; a year later $3.6 million and so far in 2023 the jump came: $6.3 million.

These are 100 fake Twitter accounts that write content favorable to President Laurentino Cortizo and his Vice President José Gabriel Gaby Carrizo.

  1. The accounts were created in November 2022, as well as in the following January –22 of the total– and last March, when they activated 63.
  2. On average they have less than 2 followers and have made only 2 likes in the time they have been active.
  3. In Venezuela, these accounts published in a coordinated manner in favor of three PSUV candidates who were running for governor in their districts. In their messages addressed to the Panamanian audience, they praise Vice President Carrizo, while criticizing some of his opponents, such as the presidential candidate for the Popular Party, former President Martín Torrijos.
  4. Venqis, SA, a Panamanian political communication company, and its president André Golabek Sánchez, originally from Brazil and proxy for other companies in the digital world, could have been controlling these false accounts.
  5. In its catalog of services for candidates in electoral processes, Venqis offers strategic planning, crisis management and administration of campaigns -including digital ones- and the evaluation of their performance.
  6. In 2022, Twitter took out of the game 352 of the 357 profiles that generated propaganda and misinformation favorable to political leaders and parties, government agencies and initiatives, aimed at audiences in at least four Latin American countries: Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia and Panama.
  7. The information for this note arose from a study by Cazadores de Fake News (April 2022), in partnership with 23 media outlets and 4 digital research specialists that cover the region, in coordination with the Latin American Center for Journalistic Investigation (CLIP).

The Institute for the Training and Use of Human Resources (Ifarhu) published this Monday, July 31, the calendar of the second payment of 2023 of the contest scholarships and the Universal Educational Social Assistance Program (PASE-U).

To know the day that corresponds to collect the scholarship, you must enter the site www.ifarhu.gob and verify the date and place.

The entity recalled that next Monday, August 14, it will disburse the second payment of the PASE-U and the Global Payroll at the national level for those students who receive payment by means of a youth ID and the social key card.

Meanwhile, payments by check will be from August 21. Payment days are detailed by province and can be found at the following link www.ifarhu.gob

For example, by August 21, the disbursement for the schools of Ancón will be made effective; for the 22 will correspond to the schools of Bella Vista and Curundú; for August 23 the schools of Calidonia, El Chorrillo, Santa Ana, San Felipe and San Francisco.

In total, 769 thousand 128 primary, secondary and secondary students in the country will benefit. The disbursement will be $83 million 868 thousand 60.

Some 19 Panamanian productions were registered to participate in the “Central American Section” of the Icaro International Film Festival, a prominent audiovisual event in the region. These Panamanian films include short and feature films, both documentaries and fiction.

It should be noted that the film meeting with the longest in history in the Central American region will take place from November 25 to December 2 of this year at its headquarters, Guatemala City.

These films will be appreciated and evaluated by a jury of filmmakers, who will choose up to 10 productions that will represent the country in the prestigious film event and that will also be part of the programming of the 16th Icaro Panama Film Festival 2023. This last event will take place from September 25 to 30 in Panama City and from October 2 to 6 in David and Puerto Armuelles (Chiriquí) and in Changuinola, Bocas del Toro province, it was reported.

The Icaro Panama Film Festival is a joint production of the University Film Experimental Group (GECU) of the Extension Office of the University of Panama and the Foundation for Performing and Audiovisual Arts.


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