Tuesday 30th April 2024.

April 29, 2024


The presidential candidate for free nomination and for the Social Independent Alternative Party (PAIS) , Melitón Arrocha , announced today, Monday, in his campaign closing that he will support Martín Torrijos , presidential candidate for the Popular Party (PP).

The convention center of the Marriott hotel, located in Albrook, was the scene of the announcement of a pact between Arrocha and Torrijos, where the PAIS candidate proposed a different alternative.

Arrocha stated that he has made a difficult decision. “I give my support to another political project, to Martín Torrijos,” he stated.

Since the last presidential debate, on April 17, the candidates winked at each other, with which they gave hints of a non-formal alliance before May 5, election day.

Today, in his campaign closing speech, Arrocha announced, in front of more than 2 thousand people, that “with humility and projection, I offer my support to another political project.”

“A person who wants to change the course of a weak economy and turn it into a prosperous economy, because he already did it once. A person who knew how to create thousands of jobs and who put us on the path to full development,” he said.

At that moment, he was trying to generate expectations, but the entire country already knew who he was referring to. His wife, Anamae Boyd de Arrocha, and Vivian de Torrijos, were waiting for the announcement in front of the media cameras.

It was then that he shouted at the top of his lungs: “I want to ask Martín Torrijos for support.” With these words, the supporters did not wait and reacted with euphoria.

The plenary session of the Supreme Court of Justice will meet this Tuesday, April 30 in an extraordinary manner, confirmed sources from this State body.

The call was made for 9:00 am and comes at a time when the country is pending the decision on the unconstitutionality claim against the agreement of the plenary session of the Electoral Tribunal (TE) 11-1 of March 4, 2024 that disqualified Ricardo Martinelli as presidential candidate of Realizing Goals and Alliance and appointed José Raúl Mulino in his place.

The sources did not detail whether during the plenary meeting the possibility of declaring a permanent session to analyze the issue of the unconstitutionality claim will be analyzed.

As explained, this motion would have to be presented to the full Court by five judges with arguments about the importance of debating the lawsuit before the electoral elections on May 5.

If a call for a permanent session is approved, the judges would begin to debate the draft ruling, prepared in this case by Judge Olmedo Arrocha, who acts as rapporteur for the lawsuit presented by lawyer Karisma Etienne Karamañites.

Last week, in a press conference, Arrocha explained that on April 23 he had requested from the TE information that, according to his perspective, was necessary to be able to complete the complete drafting of the draft ruling that he would circulate among the rest. of the magistrates that make up the Plenary Session of the Court.

In that letter, Arrocha asked the TE magistrates whose idea it was to designate Mulino as a presidential candidate, and they responded that it was their decision, which was made without consulting the RM or Alianza parties.

The TE also told Judge Arrocha that the plenary session was prevented from carrying out any negotiations with the parties that nominated them, since the Electoral Code, in its article 362, provides that, in the event of a lack of a principal, the substitute must assume its place.

To make his draft ruling, Arrocha must analyze the 88 opinions presented to the Court’s secretariat by people interested in presenting their points of view, as well as the opinion presented by the attorney Javier Caraballo and all existing jurisprudence.

Meanwhile, this morning the lawyers Italo Antinori, Miguel Antonio Bernal, Juan Carlos Araúz and José Alberto Álvarez appeared before the Court, who submitted an urgent request to declare the subtraction of matter in the unconstitutionality lawsuit against the presidential candidacy. by José Raúl Mulino.

The four jurists delivered a letter addressed to Judge Olmedo Arrocha, rapporteur of the aforementioned lawsuit, arguing that in this case the phenomenon of material theft should be declared.

According to the lawyers, in this specific case this phenomenon has occurred, after the so-called early voting of people who live abroad and those who for some reason cannot cast their vote began on April 23. next May 5th. They stated that when Mulino appeared on these early voting ballots, the debate raised by Karamañites has already been settled in favor of him being able to participate.

The presiding judge of the Electoral Tribunal (TE), Alfredo Juncá , reiterated this Monday, April 29, that in this electoral process a greater number of attacks on its computer systems are expected than those reported during the 2014 and 2019 elections. However, he assured that the entity he directs is getting ready to face them.

“We are preparing seriously and responsibly, carrying out penetration tests and detecting possible flaws in the process. We will be ready for the process,” he stated, a task in which external advisors and TE plant staff participate.

Juncá emphasized that they are vigilant against possible contingencies and stressed that computer attacks are not an isolated phenomenon, but have been registered in several Latin American countries. “Panama will not be the exception. The important thing is to be prepared for it,” he concluded.

Juncá’s statements are known after the newspaper La Prensa reported that, in two tests of the TE’s computer systems, carried out last January and March by the Spanish company Mnemo Evolution & Integration Services, SA , at the request of Juncá, they were found Vulnerabilities that would make it possible to manipulate the results of the elections on May 5 can be manipulated.

Juncá recalled that computer systems advance over time, which implies the appearance of various weaknesses. “It is our responsibility and duty to subject them to various tests to identify where those weaknesses are and proceed with the necessary corrections,” he added.

In La Prensa publications it was mentioned that in the 2014 electoral process, 1.5 million attacks were recorded, while in the 2019 elections the figure rose to 92 million. Juncá estimates that in 2024, the figure will be higher.

The results of the tests on the TE’s computer systems have raised concern in the political class.

The majority of the deputies of the Credentials Commission of the National Assembly approved this Monday the renewal of several members of the board of directors of the Social Security Fund (CSS), making it evident that several of them had been in their positions for several years without be ratified, while neither the resumes nor the documents validating that, in fact, they were those nominated by their organizations were delivered.

The independent Gabriel Silva was the only representative of the Credentials Commission who voted against the appointments of Miguel Ángel Edwards and his deputy Griselda Valencia; Gregorio Guerrel and Héctor Hurtado, (main and substitute); and the duo of Guillermo Puga and Eric Bonilla. All, representing unions that bring together workers.

In favor, and almost with a beating drum, were Raúl Pineda, Mercedes Gálvez, (substitute for Sergio Gálvez) ; Ricardo Torres, and Francisco Alemán and Rupilio Ábrego, (substitute for Benicio Robinson).

Since last year, La Prensa warned that the three representatives of the workers’ sector were in the condition of expired charges: Miguel Ángel Edwards, Guillermo Puga and Gregorio Guerrel.

Silva asked Guerrel how long he had been on the CSS board of directors. “Since 2016,” he replied. This means that his term expired in 2021 and he has remained in office without any legal basis.

Silva also warned that in the National Assembly there are barely two days left, counting this Monday, April 29, for the regular sessions to end, “and here we have been able to see that there are appointments that should have been made two, three, four or even five years. “People who have been in positions on the board of directors of the CSS without any type of resolution or decree or designation that could support them.”

The Executive placed all the components of the public force under the orders of the Electoral Tribunal with a view to the elections on May 5.

These institutions are: the National Police, the Aeronaval Service, the National Border Service and the Institutional Protection Service.

The average obeys the provisions of the Electoral Code, which states that six days before the general elections and until the proclamation of the President of the Republic, the Executive will place the public force at the orders of the TE to guarantee the freedom and effectiveness of the national suffrage. .

The President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, and the judges of the Electoral Tribunal Alfredo Juncá, Eduardo Valdés Escoffery, Luis Guerra, among other authorities, were present at the event.

The National Police reported that after intelligence and investigation actions, they located 65 packages with drugs on a boat that was about to set sail from a port on the Panamanian Atlantic coast.

According to a preliminary report from the authorities, the drugs were inside black suitcases, which were attached to the hull of a merchant ship, and the presence of amphibious agents from the Anti-Drug Operations Tactical Unit was required. For its part, the Public Ministry reported that the drugs were destined for Italy.

To date, no arrests have been reported and investigations continue by the Colón and Guna Yala Drug Prosecutor’s Office.

The Civil Aeronautics Authority (AAC) approved and published in the Official Gazette the new fees that, starting next month, the administration of the Tocumen International Airport will begin to charge the airlines that operate in the air terminal.

There are four new charges that passenger and cargo airlines must assume, such as payment for the handling and subsequent elimination of solid waste left by passengers on aircraft. International health standards establish that garbage collected from airplanes must be incinerated to prevent the spread of diseases.

Another charge is related to the handling of passengers’ luggage. With the entry into operation of the new passenger terminal, Tocumen saw the need to integrate the luggage system of the two terminals to improve logistics and movement between the two buildings.

A new fee was also established for the time that airline companies use the counters to serve passengers, as well as a charge for the use of automated equipment owned by the air terminal for the registration of travelers.

Raffoul Arab, manager of Tocumen, commented that these new charges are for services that the airport offered free of charge to airlines, but noted that, after the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic, which caused a 60% drop in flights, income from Tocumen, it is important that the airport have new sources of income.

Arab estimates that the new fees will inject between $5 and $6 million annually, depending on passenger movement. He assured that a consulting process was carried out to determine what new charges the airport could implement without affecting the development of the air sector in the country.

He said that the rates were consulted with the airlines that operate at the airport and noted that there should be no increase in the cost for air passengers to and from Panama. On this point, spokespersons for Copa Airlines, the main user of Tocumen, indicated that “a fare increase is not expected” due to the new service fees.

“The increase in airport taxes at the Tocumen International Airport was consulted and coordinated with the main users of the terminal, with the Panama Airlines Association (ALAP) being its main representative,” they added.

The manager of Tocumen commented that the collection of the new fees will allow the airport to continue providing optimal service to the airlines themselves and that it should not translate into increases for passengers.


More articles