Tuesday 20th June 2023.

June 19, 2023


The president of the Otro Camino Movement. Ricardo Lombana, plus several presidential candidates for free nomination and members of the Vamos coalition attended this Monday, the headquarters of the Attorney General’s Office, led by Waleska Hormechea .

This, in order to request the prosecutor Hormechea to “get the comptroller of the Republic, Gerardo Solís, to audit” the National Decentralization Authority (AND) on the management of funds from the so-called “parallel decentralization”.

“We present this complaint because we have a possibility that State money could have been wasted on parallel decentralization,” said lawyer Ernesto Cedeño, who was appointed to present the document to the Accounts Prosecutor.

Cedeño said that they are not only asking the prosecutor Hormechea to urge the Comptroller to carry out the audit, but to respond in the sense that “if a week has passed and they do not answer, you reiterate the request.”

This, because without the findings that the Comptroller General must determine, the jurisdiction of accounts would not have inputs to investigate, he explained.

It must be remembered that the Accounts Prosecutor’s Office, created by Law 67 of November 14, 2008, has the function of investigating the alleged irregularities contained in the repairs made by the Comptroller’s Office in the accounts of employees and management agents, which affect the funds and public goods.

“We want there to be accountability and, above all, an audit of a public and what has become a notorious event,” said Cedeño.

Lombana said that so far there is no state entity that has reacted on the use of public funds for activities not permitted by law. For this reason, he asked Hormechea to accept this complaint and be the voice of the people.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor said that the entity he directs cannot initiate an ex officio investigation, but can request the Comptroller’s Office to do the proper investigation and determine if there are irregularities.

The request from this group of citizens comes after, on  May 16, La Prensa revealed that the AND ordered payments for more than $200 million to 473 of the 679 community boards in the country, outside the scheme established by the law.

“Obviously, the Comptroller’s Office must audit the resources that are transferred to the different community boards .” The phrase was launched by the President of the Republic Laurentino Nito Cortizo on June 11 in the middle of the voting day for the primaries of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), the political group to which he belongs.

It was the answer he gave when he was asked about the diversion of $202 million to local governments in the hands of the PRD. That day, both the president and his vice president and PRD presidential candidate, José Gabriel Carrizo, did not explain the diversion of millions with a political criteria.

Days before, a statement from the National Decentralization Authority (AND) , the entity responsible for the multimillion-dollar transfers, had also invoked the entity in charge of Gerardo Solís. The comptroller exercises “pertinent control of the funds,” said the press release in which AND justified parallel decentralization and exempted the deputies from any responsibility.

However, the Comptroller’s Office, which by law has the duty to monitor the use of public money, has not ruled on the matter. Since last May 16, when La Prensa revealed that the AND ordered payments for more than $200 million to 473 of the 679 community boards in the country, outside the scheme established by law, Solís has remained silent. The matter raised alerts about the null role played by control entities in a government that manages an annual budget of more than $27 billion.

“It is inadmissible that with the issue of parallel decentralization, the control entities are not playing their role. I have urged the comptroller of the Republic (Solís) to carry out two actions: an audit of everything that the National Decentralization Authority dispensed and another audit for alleged unjustified enrichment of some people, according to the news that came out, and the comptroller well he has not said anything at all (…)”, assured the lawyer Ernesto Cedeño, who asked Solís to audit the decentralization funds.

The cost of housing, water, electricity and gas services increased by 10.9% in one year (May 2022 versus May 2023) according to the report of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) that is registered monthly by the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) of the Comptroller General of the Republic.

The report details that the CPI for electricity skyrocketed 41.4% in one year, impacted by the elimination of subsidies that were given to some customers based on consumption due to the pandemic. The seasonal increase in the service that is recorded each semester due to the increase in energy costs also had an impact.

In the case of housing, the prices affected by the rise were housing repair and maintenance services, which increased by 11.7% in one year.

Between May 2022 and May 2023, the CPI for food and non-alcoholic beverages also accelerated by 4.2%.

The food products that increased in price the most in one year were pasta at 10.8%, followed by creams and flour at 9.1% and bread and other bakery products at 3.8% interannual variation.

Meat prices on average rose 2.7% in one year, driven by the 11.9% increase in products such as canned beef and pork, in addition to sausages by 8.4%.

In the case of the milk, cheese and eggs group, the CPI increased by 6.4% and the greatest increases were in products such as cheese at 9.1% and eggs at 6.1%.

Patients from the Social Security Fund (CSS) protested again on the morning of this Monday, June 19, at the entrance of the Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital Complex, on the Transístmica highway. The patients carried out what they called a “silent protest” in the face of the lack of medicines in that entity, among other claims.

Enma Pinzón, vice president of the National Federation of Associations for Critical, Chronic and Degenerative Diseases (Fenaeccd), said that the CSS speaks of a 90% supply. “But it would be good to ask how many months does that supply that they have cover because there are many cases that it is not even a month,” she said.

Pinzón also stated that the patients do not want to protest when there are no more medicines, but that we are doing it before, so that this matter can be addressed once and for all.

She reiterated that the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, has been asked for an appointment, and thus achieve a direct intervention of the Executive Branch.

“There will have to be an executive order of prioritization so that we do not have a very acute problem [due to the lack of medicines] in the last semester of the year,” she added.

The leader of the Fenaeccd also complained because the CSS has not carried out single-price public acts to buy medicines throughout the year.

In this protest, the patients reiterated that they ask for an end to the “there isn’t”, “it’s out of stock” and “it’s coming next month” when they go to the CSS facilities for their medicines.

For its part, the CSS has ensured that it implements a strategy to expedite the purchase of medicines.

In the next 24 hours, tropical wave number 7 would be entering the national territory, which is currently over Colombia.

This was reported by Roberto Martínez, a meteorologist from the Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology of Panama (Imhpa), this Monday, June 19.

He indicated that rains are expected in various parts of the country such as Azuero and southern Veraguas for Monday afternoon hours. Overnight cloudy conditions are expected, especially in coastal areas.

The Panama coach, Thomas Christiansen, presented this Monday the list of 23 players for the 2023 Gold Cup without any variation with respect to the one that played in the Final Four of the Concacaf Nations League.

“The chosen ones repeat the call that played the Finals of the Concacaf Nations League,” announces a statement from the Panamanian Football Federation (Fepafut).

The Central Americans, who were fourth in the League of Nations, began their work for the Gold Cup on Monday in the US city of Fort Lauderdale (Florida).

Panama will debut against Costa Rica on June 26. The second duel of the Central Americans will be on the 30th with the winner of this Tuesday’s match between Curacao and Puerto Rico.

And the campaign in the group stage will close on July 4 with El Salvador.

The runners-up in 2005 and 2013 are the greatest achievement of the Panamanian team in this tournament for teams of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Football Confederation (Concacaf).




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