Wednesday 19th June 2024.

June 18, 2024


The controversial issue of “bottles” in the Government, that is, those people who receive a salary without going to work, has become more relevant in the current scenario, with an inflated state payroll and with “numbers in red”, as as the president-elect, José Raúl Mulino, warned.

Mulino himself warned this during the campaign: “The public servants who truly work hard with me can rest assured. I am going to govern with the best, wherever they come from. But the bottles with me don’t stand a chance. “They just don’t go.”

This was also denounced by several former candidates for the presidency of the Republic, such as Rómulo Roux , from the alliance between the Cambio Democrático and Panameñista parties , as well as Ricardo Lombana , from the Otro Camino Movement.

Although there is no official figure for those people who are paid without working in State entities, both Lombana and Roux, during the campaign, released some numbers about what could be happening with the state payroll.

For example, Roux was referring to about 48,000 bottles on the state payroll, while Lombana estimated that there were between 15,000 and 20,000 .

What they both agreed on was that by eliminating those people who were paid in the State without working, they could be saving about $500 million.

“The bottles do a lot of damage to the country; Getting paid without working is a way of stealing from us all. With that alone we could save $500 million,” indicated Lombana.

While Roux stated that by eliminating bottles there would be more money for basic food baskets and medicines.

When the administration of President Laurentino Cortizo began its administration in July 2019, the public sector workforce was made up of 238,248 people. However, by the end of last year it already had a total of 258,282 public employees.

This means that in four years of management at least 20,034 officials have been added.

This is a scenario that goes beyond the Central Government. Also in the mayor’s offices, a marked growth in the payroll is reported.

For example, in 2019, José Luis Fábrega received the Mayor’s Office of Panama with a roster of 3,564 officials, including permanent and temporary. In May 2024, there were already 6,380 employees; That is, between 2019 and 2024, the payroll grew by 79%.

Something similar happened in Columbus. According to information from the National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information, until April there were 1,006 officials on the payroll of the Municipality of Colón, while for the same period in 2020 there were 662.

The above means that the current mayor, Alex Lee, increased his payroll by 52%.

A few days ago, the elected president José Raúl Mulino pointed out that, after participating in the transition meeting at the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), he was able to verify that “there is no number that is not in red,” referring to the state of the Public finances.

He added that, once he takes power on July 1, “he will have a difficult season.” The size and weight of the public debt will play an important role in the Mulino administration’s ability to maneuver in the face of the obstacles it will face during its administration.

There are less than 15 days until the president-elect and his cabinet team begin their administration. Among the officials called to play a role is Felipe Chapman, who will be responsible for the MEF.

It is now known that the balance of the debt accumulated in the first five months of the year is 49,737 million dollars as of May 31.

The decrease compared to the previous month was the result of the payment of 1,042 million dollars in maturity of internal debt, specifically bonds placed in the local market for 1,088 million dollars.

Additionally, last month funds of 239 million dollars were received from multilateral organizations.

When adding and subtracting what entered and left the debt, the total balance decreased by 804 million dollars, compared to the 50,541 million dollars it reached during the month of April.

Despite the payment of 1,088 million dollars made in May, in the last 12 months the balance of the debt is 4,355 million dollars higher than the amount registered in May 2023.

A group of 11 former officials of the Second Court of Justice and individuals who were sentenced to 6 and 4 years in prison, respectively, for the crime of corruption, have 15 days to formalize an appeal for their sentence to be reviewed.

Through edict No.156 issued on June 13, the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice announced the deadline to support the appeal.

In May 2023, the second deputy liquidator judge, Fernando Bazurto, sanctioned 8 former officials of the Second Court of Justice to a sentence of 6 years in prison for the crime of corruption of public servants, after it was proven that they received money in exchange for granting measures. precautionary measures, advance trial dates and influence juries of conscience who participated in trials for the crime of homicide.

Judge Bazurto also sentenced 10 people who had participated in trials in which it was proven that they received money to benefit a certain defendant to four years in prison.

In that case, another five of those investigated accepted a sentence agreement of 40 months in prison and another was sentenced to 60 months in prison.

The investigation began in 2015, following a complaint filed by the then presiding judge of the Court, José Ayú Prado, who received information that in the criminal circuit courts, in the Second Superior Criminal Court and in the Office of Judicial Decongestion supposedly collected bribes to free people linked to criminal proceedings and paid bribes to conscientious jurors.

As part of the investigations, the Criminal Chamber of the CSJ authorized telephone wiretaps at the request of the Public Ministry. The telephone calls of judicial officials were followed up and evidence was collected.

Evidence was also obtained that an official in charge of scheduling hearings allegedly charged money to some lawyers to advance or delay trial dates, depending on the need. The scandal generated by the investigation forced the magistrates of the Second Court to establish greater controls.

An illegal activity of logging and use of a tree of the mamecillo species in the La Amistad International Park (PILA) , in the province of Chiriquí, was detected in a joint operation between the Ministry of the Environment (Miambiente) and units of the Environmental Police, Rural and Tourist of the National Police .

The discovery occurred approximately in the afternoon of Saturday, June 15, in a secondary forest in the sector known as Las Nubes , within the limits of the PILA, in the district of Cerro Punta, Tierras Altas district. At the site, 130 pieces of processed wood were found, which will serve as evidence in the legal process.

The regional directorate of Miambiente has initiated investigations to identify and capture those responsible for this illegal activity, which constitutes a serious threat to the flora of the protected area.

The Association of United Pig Farmers of Panama , through a press release, regretted the statements that have been made in the media and social networks that indicate that the swine activity carried out around the La Villa River is the source of contamination of this tributary. .

The members of the association ensure that they implement environmental instruments that guarantee production in harmony with the environment.

Furthermore, they indicate that, as stated by the director of the Institute of National Aqueducts and Sewers (Idaan) , the climatological phenomenon has generated the paralysis of all the plants from Chiriquí to Coclé, because the volume of water to be treated from the rivers has exceeded the tolerable turbidity levels for said treatment.

For this reason, pig farmers consider it very irresponsible to classify the cause of this situation as pork production, when there are other factors that may be contributing to this situation.

A double murder attributed to a drug bust was recorded in a lonely place in the Guánico Abajo area, province of Los Santos, in the early hours of this Tuesday, June.

According to police reports, residents of the area reported several detonations with firearms, which led to the mobilization of police officers who located the bodies of two people with gunshot wounds.

According to reports received by the police, the attackers were traveling in four vehicles that were intercepted after a police operation that involved the establishment of checkpoints on several streets in the sector.

The deputy commissioner of police, Jorge Bryant, explained that eight people were arrested and several assault rifles were confiscated.

Bryant explained that the incident is presumed to be related to a drug bust. Investigations are underway to determine the circumstances in which the events occurred.

The Azuero coast is being used by gangs dedicated to drug trafficking.

On July 1, the elected president, José Raúl Mulino, will take office, which is why it is considered a national holiday.

This is regulated in article 181 of the Constitution of the Republic , which indicates that: “both the President and the Vice President must take possession of their respective positions on the first day of the month of July following their election.” Thus being a mandatory day of rest.

This is why official and private educational centers nationwide will not teach classes this day.

Likewise, workers would be free, as stipulated in article 46 of the Labor Code .

In the event that there are workers who must work that day, article 49 of the Labor Code guarantees compensation.

The rule indicates that the work performed on this day will be remunerated with a surcharge of 150% on the salary of the ordinary day, without prejudice to the worker’s right to receive another day of compensatory rest during the week.

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