Wednesday 21st June 2023.

June 20, 2023


The former Ombudsman, Patria Portugal, was arrested on the morning of this Tuesday.

The arrest was carried out by officials of the Judicial Investigation Directorate and occurred on the premises of Plaza Ágora, Panama City.

Judge José Carrera ordered the execution of the conviction against the former Ombudsman, following the request of the Compliance Section of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, represented by prosecutor Johaira González.

It must be remembered that the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice had rejected a request for clarification of the sentence of August 10, 2022, in which it confirms a sentence of 96 months in prison for the former Ombudsman for the crime of embezzlement.

By virtue of this and based on “the request of the Compliance Section of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, the conviction against the former Ombudsman, Patria Portugal, of 96 months in prison for aggravated embezzlement, which occurred in 2012,” the Public Ministry (MP) confirmed on its Twitter account around noon.

The liquidated Eighth Criminal Court handed down this sentence as a result of an investigation into two contracts that Portugal signed as Ombudsman: one in April 2011, with the company Imaginarium Studio, SA, for an amount of $249,845, for the redesign of the entity’s website, and the other in July 2013, in favor of En Avant, SA, for $199,983, for staff training.

The Prosecutor’s Office was able to demonstrate that Portugal, as Ombudsman, issued guidelines tending to give priority to the execution of the consultancy contract with the company Imaginarium Studio, SA, “without justified cause, indicating ‘obvious urgency’, which led to the funds being embezzled from the public entity she directed,” the MP said about this case

Under the shadow of scandal over the multi million funds delivered by the National Decentralization Authority (AND) delivered to local governments related to the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) , in full electoral process, the Vice President of the Republic and now also PRD presidential candidate, José Gabriel Carrizo , held a meeting with the National Executive Committee (CEN) , of his party.

That meeting, held this Tuesday, June 20, was attended by the president of the AND’s board of directors, Alexander Hepburn , who also appears on the payroll of the Ministry of the Presidency, with the position of “executive assistant.”

Next to Hepburn sat Julio Spiegel , Carrizo’s brother-in-law.

Carrizo himself released an image on his Instagram account, in which it can be seen that Hepburn, president of the PRD’s National Board of Directors (CDN) , is there in circuit 8-3 (currently 8-7).

In the photo published by Carrizo you can see the deputies Benicio Robinson, Raúl Pineda and Ricardo Torres , president and third and fourth undersecretary of the CEN, respectively; the ministers Rogelio Paredes (Housing) and Doris Zapata (Labor), second vice president and first undersecretary, respectively, and former deputy Rubén De León, general secretary.

In the photo are not the deputies Crispiano Adames and Julio Mendoza , who hold the positions of first vice president and fifth undersecretary of the CEN, respectively. Adames competed against Carrizo for the PRD presidential candidacy, in the primary on June 11, with the support of Mendoza.

According to a press release sent by the Carrizo campaign, the purpose of the meeting was to address “the unity of the great PRD family.”

Paredes, according to that press release, believes that this is the moment “to build bridges.”

An unconstitutionality lawsuit against two articles of the Electoral Code −which establish a distinction and differential treatment for candidates for elective positions due to free nomination compared to candidates of political parties− was presented this Tuesday, by the civic group called United for Democracy .

The appeal, filed by the lawyers Carlos Ernesto González Ramírez and Isabel Cristina López Serrano , seeks to declare unconstitutional the phrase “in a single-member constituency” , contained in articles 370 and 380 of the Electoral Code, which establishes ” that in In multi-member circuits, two or more political parties may nominate up to a common candidate for deputy ”.

The demand specifies that the current norm only allows candidates for free postulation to establish alliances for popularly elected positions in single-member circuits, but not in multi-member circuits, that is, those where two or more deputies are elected.

They allege that these provisions promote differentiated treatment of candidates for free nomination, compared to candidates of political parties, who can establish alliances in multi-member circuits.

If you are a driver or owner of a vehicle, know that most of the private parking lots inspected in Panama City by the Authority for the Protection of Consumers and Defense of Competition (Acodeco) do not comply with any of the regulations that protect you as a user of this service.

Acodeco revealed that of 65 stores that rent parking services in Panama City, only 9 satisfactorily complied with all the parameters reviewed and 56 presented anomalies.

Among the most frequent irregularities, it was detected that the collection is not consistent with the time used, in addition to the failure to issue the invoice in favor of the client and the visible announcement of the conditions for the provision and collection of the service.

In some places, the time used by the user is recorded with personal watches and a piece of paper is given with the time written by hand.

Another practice that does not offer transparency to the consumer is the delivery of a card when entering the parking lot, which is validated when leaving the site, but whose payment is made verbally.

In other cases, the consumer does not have a mechanism to make the corresponding calculation and verify if the charge is consistent with the time used.

The entity has been able to verify that the information on the entry and exit times are recorded in the tax invoice that is delivered to the consumer, but it is impossible to make the calculation before paying because it does not have the previous information.

“The law establishes that charging by fraction or upward rounding is not allowed, and in this verification a large number of businesses were detected that, because the collection is made with the fiscal printer, which is programmed to two figures after the decimal point, the system automatically rounds up”, said Acodeco through a press release.

Businesses that charge fraction of a minute were also found, which is prohibited.

Acodeco indicated that it will evaluate each of the acts of non-compliance and apply the respective sanctions for non-compliance with article 56 of Law 45 of 2007, in relation to the parking rental service.

Some 18 people were apprehended this Tuesday, June 20, 2023 as part of the Mate operation, carried out jointly by personnel from the Public Ministry and the National Police.

Through this operation, the aim was to dismantle a criminal group, made up of nationals and foreigners, dedicated to vehicle theft.

Since early Tuesday morning, proceedings were carried out simultaneously in four provinces of the country.

At a press conference, the authorities said that there were more than 40 raids and searches in residences and commercial establishments (workshops), located in the metropolitan area, district of San Miguelito and sectors of the provinces of Panama Oeste, Veraguas and Los Santos. .

As a result of these proceedings, a vehicle and two car engines with complaints were recovered. 135 vehicle computers, technological equipment and various documents were also seized.

Next, the apprehended will be placed under the orders of the guarantee courts for hearings on requests for legalization of apprehension, imputation of charges and application of precautionary measures.

Operation Mate dates from the year 2020. During that period, another 13 members of this criminal organization have been apprehended, who are being held in prisons.

During the recent silent protests, the patients stated that the officials who denounce the lack of medicines are subjected to harassment by the administrative authorities of the CSS, as is the case of the nurse specialized in mental health and former president of the National Association of Nurses, Ana Reyes de Serrano.

Reyes recently denounced the shortage of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs for mental health and on Tuesday she was summoned to the CSS administrative offices in Clayton to make her defence before an investigation that is being carried out based on statements given to the media.

The Fenaecd makes it clear that the shortage of these medicines is a harsh reality for patients who use the services of the pharmacies of the Social Security Fund. For mental health: fluoxetine and quetiapine have just arrived after more than 6 months out of stock. There is still no olanzapine and clonazepam with more than 6 months out of stock. Anatensol comes and goes in the emergency rooms, and others also suffer the same fate.

La Prensa learned that the CSS issued an order prohibiting officials from meeting with suppliers, with the objective ” that they be carried out under the formality to guarantee the transparency that guarantees the current administration .”

Given the lack of medicines reported by patients, the CSS assured that it is implementing a strategy to expedite the purchase of medicines, as well as for the payment owed to suppliers of $48 million.

The issue of shortages in the country is not new, as the authorities since last year created a technical table for medicines to find a solution to this problem that affects patients. The coordinator of that table was the Vice President of the Republic, José Gabriel Carrizo, who recently assured that there is no shortage.



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