Wednesday 16th August 2023.

August 15, 2023


The Executive approved this Monday to extend for another six months the measure that establishes a 30% discount that cover some 900 medicines, which has been in force for a year.

This is the second extension that the government has issued to the decree that established this discount and that was promulgated on August 10, 2022.

This measure arose from the technical table set up by the Government, with the purpose of facing the problems related to the shortage of medicines in the Social Security Fund (CSS) and the Ministry of Health (Minsa).

This measure has generated diverse reactions, especially from the pharmaceutical and consumer unions, who have stated that the measure has not been beneficial or effective.

The administration of the Panama Metro reported that the extension of line 1, to the Villa Zaíta sector, is 79% complete.

According to a report updated to August 8, it is estimated that part of the work will be delivered in September 2023 and it is projected to be operational by the first quarter of 2024.

Likewise, it was anticipated that the first tests of the trains will be carried out next month.

“Currently we are in the installation stage of all the auxiliary systems of the station, also advancing with the part of the finishes and roof of the station; the station is being built at a good pace”, reported the Panama Metro.

Regarding the viaduct, it is reported that the installation of the railway and the entire wiring system to connect the Villa Zaita station to the existing system that reaches the San Isidro station is being carried out.

The extension to Villa Zaíta will benefit some 300,000 people in the northern sector of the province of Panama and the project includes a terminal station, with a capacity of more than 10,000 passengers at rush hour.

The 2.3-kilometer work was awarded in July 2019 to the North Panama Line Consortium (OHL, Mota Engel), for an amount of $177 million 967 thousand 848.

The defense lawyers of the 10 defendants in the New Business case who benefited from an acquittal by the Second Criminal Court Settlement filed opposition briefs to the prosecutor’s request to revoke said sentence, alleging that the appeal was filed out of time.

Abril Arosemena, lawyer for Iván Clare, one of those acquitted in this process, maintained that the prosecution filed the appeal against the ruling of Judge Baloisa Marquínez extemporaneously.

Arosemena explained that the prosecution filed the appeal brief on July 21, the last business day to do so, and that it was filed after 5:00 pm, when the term had expired.

He alleged that another error by the prosecution would be to have used an email to announce the appeal, a practice that, according to his analysis, is only used in the Accusatory Penal System (SPA) and in civil jurisdiction, but not in the mixed inquisitive. by which this case was handled.

Meanwhile, William Parodi, Vernon Salazar’s attorney, said most defense attorneys agree that the prosecution erred in filing its appeal brief late.

Parodi also described as a serious error on the part of the prosecution to have filed an appeal brief after the deadline.

Meanwhile, Basilio González, Aaron Mizrachi’s lawyer, agreed with the rest of the defense lawyers that the prosecution’s appeal was out of date.

In addition, he stressed that the prosecution used as an argument the application of Law 75 of 2015, which regulates the automated judicial management system, that is, the electronic file. According to González, this norm is not applicable in the files of the mixed inquisitive system, as is the case of New Business, since this norm is applicable to the cases that are processed in the SPA.

He stressed that in the mixed inquisitive system notifications are made in person at the headquarters of the court or tribunal of the case.

For his part, Rodolfo Palma, lawyer for Nicolás and José Carlos Corcione Pérez Balladares, also presented a brief in opposition to the prosecution’s appeal with the same arguments presented by the rest of the defense attorneys.

The First Superior Court rejected an injunction of constitutional guarantees that Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal presented against the criminal judge Baloisa Marquínez , for decisions adopted during the trial of the former president and 14 other accused of the crime of money laundering, in the case known as New Business.

Judges Guimara Aparicio Ortega, Melina Robinson Oro and Lilianne Ducruet did not admit the amparo presented by Alfredo Vallarino , Martinelli’s lawyer, due to the decisions adopted by Judge Marquínez, specifically during the day of May 25.

The amparo was not admitted by the magistrates, “considering that the harmful and transcendent characteristics that justify the admissibility of this constitutional action are not noticed.”

The New Business trial, for which Martinelli has already been sentenced to 128 months in prison and a $19.2 million fine, was held from May 23 to June 2.

Several defense lawyers also protested because when the judge called the two protected witnesses, they did not appear, despite the evidence that they had been duly processed. Later, when the trial entered its final stretch, prosecutor Emeldo Márquez told Judge Marquínez that the two witnesses had expressed that they feared for their safety.

Although Martinelli, in his amparo, maintains that the judge’s actions “curtailed the free and full exercise of the defense’s right to question witnesses”, the First Superior Court considered that the amparo cannot be admitted because it was not proven. that Marquínez’s actions affected constitutional rights and guarantees. Therefore, “the requirement of harmfulness of the act.” is absent.

The three magistrates warned Martinelli’s defense that the use of the amparo as a means to question evidentiary issues only proceeds exceptionally in those cases in which a fundamental right or guarantee has been violated by reason of an arbitrary sentence or by a sentence in which that there is a lack of motivation or poor argumentation.

Consumers are paying 39.5% more in electricity rates than a year ago, according to the July report of the Consumer Price Index (IPC), from the National Institute of Statistics.

In July 2023, an adjustment of 9.2% was registered in the prices of the housing, water, electricity and gas group.

Within the price structure, the cost of housing, water, electricity and gas services represent 7.7% of the total Consumer Price Index.

In this category are detailed the variations in consumer prices for rentals, maintenance and repair of homes, water supply, garbage collection services, electricity and gas rates, among others.

The largest increase in these services was reflected in the electric bill at 39.5%.

Market distortions, due to the lack of tenders, and climate change, which causes less water generation capacity, while consumption has skyrocketed, have made energy increasingly expensive in Panama and homes pay more.

It is expected that the National Authority of Public Services (Asep), after an analysis, defines what will be the increase in the electricity rate that will apply during this second semester.

The companies submitted proposals for rate variations ranging from 0.01% to 5% in the case of Ensa customers and from 4% to 28% for Naturgy customers. These proposed adjustments vary based on the number of kilowatt hours each customer consumes.

The Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology of Panama (Imhpa) issued a surveillance notice for the passage of tropical wave number 25 of the season.

The wave will generate rains with significant storms in various sectors of the country with the possibility of floods and landslides, the entity warned.

The notice will be in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, August 16, 2023.

The provinces of Panama, Panama West, Coclé, Herrera, Los Santos, Veraguas, are some of the areas under this notice.


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