Tuesday 8th August 2023.

August 7, 2023


The attorney for the Administration, Rigoberto González, asked Edward Mosley Ibarra, director of the National Decentralization Authority (AND), to account for his intention to hire the lawyer Ángel Álvarez for $190,000, to represent him in the processes that arose as a result of the parallel decentralization.

González asked Ibarra to answer, what criteria and considerations were taken into account for the hiring? And what is the term of duration of that contract? In addition, he asks to tell him where the funds come from.

The action of the Administration Attorney’s Office arose as a result of an administrative complaint filed by the lawyer Ernesto Cedeño, after La Prensa revealed the following news on July 27 : Although it has a legal department, the AND hires a lawyer for $190 thousand.

The journalistic note revealed, for example, that the AND has a Legal Department and 11 lawyers hired for a total of $17,200 dollars per month in the institution, in addition to a “lawyer’s assistant” with a salary of $1,200, according to the published data from the payroll  on their website . The one who earns the most, $4,000 per month, is a PRD delegate who started working in September 2019.

Among the justifications that the entity presented to manage the contract is what they called “a specific situation.” There is “a specific situation”, with “particular elements and circumstances” that “demands an individual and precise evaluation of the legal aspects involved”, justifies the institution in a document of “exceptional procedure”, read in what was published in Panama Compra last July 25.

He then specified what the “specific situation” is about: seven requests from the Administration Attorney’s Office and the Electoral Prosecutor’s Office after the publication of the La Prensa investigation, plus two previous cases in the Supreme Court of Justice.

However, the contract no longer appears in Panama Compra. La Prensa called Edward Mosley Ibarra, director of the AND, on Monday, to consult him on the subject and alleged that he does not answer questions from journalists by telephone. He promised that in the next few days he will give an interview in his office.

After La Prensa published the scandal of parallel decentralization, the citizenry became active: now there are formal complaints, presentation of requests for access to public information and different citizen demands so that the AND is transparent, the Comptroller audits, the justice system investigates and the The Electoral General Prosecutor’s Office guarantees equal conditions in the campaign for the 2024 elections.

The Executive’s budget proposal for 2024 will just begin to be analyzed in the Budget Commission of the National Assembly for its virtual approval in the coming days.

The government is requesting $32,754.5 million to operate next year, exactly $5,170 million more or a growth of almost 20% compared to the 2023 budget, which it has planned to use this year after adjustments.

This growth rate in the budget is almost four times more than the expected growth of the economy which is estimated at 5%.

In the middle of the pre-election year, the assignments to the different entities take a relevant place in the analysis, especially since some incumbent officials are wearing several hats, that of elected officials and aspirants, or that of public servants and campaign brains at the same time.

Along these lines, one of the institutions that would increase its budget the most in proportion to the previous year is the Ministry of Culture, which will go from operating with $52.50 million this year to having $100.22 million next year, that is, almost double in one year to another. It should be remembered that this ministry was created in 2019 by the administration of President Laurentino Cortizo, when he elevated the National Institute of Culture (INAC) to a ministry to give the sector greater projection.

In 2020, in the middle of the pandemic year, this ministry managed a $55 million budget and the scandals over the hiring of artists in the midst of the confinement leave on the table the question of whether this aspiration to project more culture really fulfilled its mission. In 2024, the government doubles its aspiration and practically doubles the budget of the Ministry of Culture, which is under the umbrella of what is allocated to education.

Indigenous groups proceeded to close some points of the Inter-American Highway in the province of Chiriquí, at noon on this Monday, August 7, as part of the protest actions to demand that the government respond to requests to develop infrastructure projects in that region.

The closures occurred in the sectors of San Juan, San Félix and Horconcitos. However, the agents of the riot unit of the National Police went into action and began to clear the road.

At one point, crowd control officers proceeded to move protesters to the side of the road.

Joel Chavarría, one of the leaders who is coordinating the closure points, announced that the protests will continue and reiterated that they want concrete answers.

“We are awaiting the responses of what was agreed by the commission that the natives established with the Panamanian government commission,” said Chavarría.

The measure of the indigenous people was announced for 11:00 am this Monday, but everything depended on the answers given by the Executive.

Indeed, this Monday a presidential commission traveled to the Ngäbe Buglé region to talk with the leaders of these communities.

The mission is headed by the Minister of Public Works, Rafael Sabonge , and the Minister of Government, Roger Tejada .

Before embarking on the trip, both officials agreed that the projects are being carried out gradually.

The indigenous leadership had announced that at least five points on the Inter-American Highway would be closed this Monday, as a pressure measure to demand the construction of road projects in that region of the country.

In the early hours of this Monday, the National Police found 28 packages with drugs and at least 600 dollars that were on the roof of a bus on the Panama-David route.

A report from the National Police states that the procedure was carried out in the township of Los Canelos, district of Santa María, province of Herrera.

It was reported that the bus driver and his companion, both Panamanians, were detained and placed under the orders of the competent authorities.

In the same way, it is highlighted that an investigation is being carried out to determine the origin and destination of this drug.

The National Migration Service reported this Monday, August 7, that so far in 2023, in coordination with the National Border Service (Senafront), 244 irregular migrants have been rescued in the Darién jungle.

According to a report by Migration Panama, these actions have been carried out in the dense jungle that makes up the Darién National Park, the majority being for rescues and medical evacuations.

“They are supported with the transfer to the immigration reception stations and they are offered medical attention,” explained María Isabel Saravia, deputy director of Migration, who recalled that these irregular travelers cross into Panamanian territory using desperate measures, in precarious health conditions.

The murder of the lender Abel Gallardo , by Carlos Cabrera Tello , who works as head of the payroll of the Regional Health Directorate of the province of Herrera, has brought to light the clandestine business that uses the payment of so-called medical appointments as collateral in the public health system.

Gallardo died as a result of a bullet wound that Cabrera gave him on August 3 in Chitré. The fight, according to the investigators of the case, occurred in a pick-up truck , the same vehicle that the perpetrator used to transport the body and turn himself in to the police.

The judge of guarantees of Herrera, Luis Arturo Villalaz , decreed provisional detention for Cabrera Tello, 30 years old, who was charged with the alleged commission of the crime against life and personal integrity in the modality of aggravated intentional homicide .

Boris Barrios, Cabrera’s defense attorney, alleges that his client acted in self-defense when Gallardo tried to collect the money from him and threatened him with a firearm.

The Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology of Panama (Imhpa) issued this Monday, August 7, a warning for rain and storms, which will last until midnight on Wednesday, August 9.

According to the Imhpa report, the bad weather in a large part of the country will continue in the next hours with rains of different intensities, gusts of winds and downpours with storms.

It is warned that these conditions could generate landslides and floods in various sectors of the country.

“The movement of tropical wave 22 and its future incursion into the Panamanian nation in the following 18 to 32 hours is under surveillance,” the entity’s report states.


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