Wednesday 27th March 2024.

March 26, 2024


The Attorney General of the Nation, Javier Caraballo , believed that the Electoral Tribunal (TE) did not violate the Constitution when it designated José Raúl Mulino as presidential candidate, replacing Ricardo Martinelli.

“The requirement for citizens nominated on a party basis to be elected through a primary, if it is a party with more than 100,000 members, and by a board of directors, in parties with less than 100,000 members, is not a constitutional requirement to be elected. ” to the position of President of the Republic, but a legal requirement , provided for by Article 352 of the Electoral Code ,” wrote Caraballo, in an opinion that was requested, in writing, by Judge Olmedo Arrocha , rapporteur of the unconstitutionality claim that presented by lawyer Karisma Karamañites against Plenary Agreement 11-1 of March 4, 2024, of the TE .

In that agreement, judges Alfredo Juncá, Luis Guerra and Eduardo Valdés disqualify Martinelli as presidential candidate of the Realizing Goals (RM) and Alianza parties and, in his replacement, appoint José Raúl Mulino , who until then was his colleague on the payroll. and candidate for vice president of the Republic.

That 47-page opinion was sent to the Court last Monday. This Tuesday, it was published on the site . Caraballo’s opinion is not binding.

Lawyer Karamañites alleged that the decision of the TE magistrates violates 6 articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Panama. These norms are articles 19, 142, paragraph 3 of 143, 177, 181 and 185. Karamañites alleges that the absence of the candidate for president or vice president of the Republic, whether due to resignation or death, implies the disappearance of that presidential list, given that it would be incomplete.

Caraballo warns that this eventuality “is a consequence that is not described in the Constitution or the law.” He emphasizes that the Plenary Agreement 11-1 “has constitutional support, as well as legal support” and considers that ordering that Mulino appear on the presidential ballot, in the box that corresponds to RM and Alianza, “does not seem to fit into the granting of a privilege or discrimination against other presidential candidates, since it arises from an exception expressly provided for by the electoral law.”

According to Caraballo, the designation of José Raúl Mulino as the vice presidential candidate for RM constituted a power reserved for the presidential candidate, in this case Martinelli, elected in the primaries of that political conglomerate.

According to Caraballo’s opinion, for the designation of Mulino as a candidate for vice president, only ratification by the national board of RM was sufficient.

A former public servant was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, in conjunction with the National Police, due to her alleged involvement in crimes against public administration, in the form of different forms of embezzlement and crimes against the economic order, in the form of financial crimes. .

According to what was revealed, the apprehended woman worked at the Savings Bank, in the position of Payment Methods Manager.

The arrest of this person was carried out through a search of a residence located in the district of Río Abajo. Technological equipment and documents were also seized at the site.

According to investigators, the former official of the banking agency, using her position, managed to cause a financial loss to said banking entity through credit cards for the sum of $16,306.94.

The woman was placed under the orders of the Public Ministry for the corresponding procedures.

The plenary session of the Electoral Tribunal (TE) confirmed the lifting of electoral criminal jurisdiction for Alma Cortés, candidate for deputy to the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) for the Realizing Goals (RM) party and former Minister of Labor.

Through edict 49-202-SG dated last Friday, March 22, the TE magistrates decided to confirm in all its parts resolution No. 20-202 of last March, issued by the Second Administrative Electoral Court, which resolved to lift the electoral criminal jurisdiction to Cortés, who is investigated by the First Criminal Cases Settlement Court.

The decision bears the signature of judges Luis Guerra, who acted as rapporteur, Eduardo Valdés Escofery and Alfredo Juncá.

The first judge liquidating criminal cases, Agueda Rentería, requested the TE to lift Cortés’ criminal jurisdiction, within the process being followed for the alleged commission of the crime of unjustified enrichment.

The investigation began in 2016, when the Comptroller General of the Republic, at that time headed by Federico Humbert, delivered copies of an audit report related to Cortés’ assets, in which he had allegedly failed to justify $2.6 million obtained between July 1, 2009 and May 31, 2011, when she served as minister.

In December 2022, the Superior Court for Settlement of Criminal Cases revoked a first instance ruling that acquitted the former minister and the former officials of that entity accused of the crime of embezzlement.

This case is related to the collection of travel expenses to attend a series of meetings at the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Geneva, between June and November 2011, for an amount of $9 thousand.

Panama is one of the Central American countries that has the most resources reserved for emergencies and disaster risk prevention, reported the Vice Minister of Finance, Jorge Luis Almengor, when inaugurating the Second International Forum on Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management.

He explained that the country has a revolving fund that is renewed every year of $500 million that has resources from the World Bank and other multilateral organizations to address natural disasters, in addition to mitigating the impact of climate change and adapting to risks. .

“The country has been provided with as many financial resources as possible, so that they are available for use once disaster risks materialize. There are at least $500 million a year, which are recurring through lines that can be used immediately,” added the vice minister, indicating that these are several loans associated with the issue of risks from natural disasters.

Almengor indicated that the country also has the Comprehensive Disaster Risk Cabinet and the country also has an insurance policy that guarantees coverage up to a certain amount in the event of major events, in addition to tools such as the Panama Savings Fund. (FAP).

The Supreme Court of the United States refused this Monday to admit the challenge filed by the Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) consortium , of which the Spanish Sacyr is a part , against the arbitration awards that condemned it to pay $271.8 million (about 250 million euros ) to the Panama Canal Administration (ACP).

The US high court ruled out studying the case, thus leaving firm the ruling of a lower court that validated international arbitration.

The GUPC consortium, made up of Sacyr, the Italian Impregilo , the Belgian Jan de Nul and the Panamanian CUSA , was awarded the design and construction contract for the new locks of the Panama Canal in 2009, worth $3.118 million, but the final cost was higher.

An international arbitration court based in Miami (Florida) ordered GUPC to pay the ACP some $271.8 million in a dispute over the materials used in the works, among other elements.

The court also dismissed a large part of the consortium’s $671 million claims against the Panama Canal related to the gates and labor in the project to expand the interoceanic waterway, through which 3.5% of world trade passes.

It also recognized the consortium’s right to receive $35 million more from the Panama Canal Authority for labor costs.

The Amador cruise port, a port infrastructure that was completed at a cost of approximately $206 million and faced several years of delay, was finally inaugurated on the morning of this Tuesday, March 26.

The ribbon cutting becomes a protocol act to deliver the work, but it has been put to the test since before with the arrival of huge cruise ships and thousands of tourists.

The work was carried out by the construction company China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC).

In November 2021, this cruise port received the first ship, it was the Viking Star cruise ship from the Viking Cruises company.

According to the construction contract, the work on the Amador cruise terminal , which began in 2017, was to be completed between March and April 2019, but through a time addendum it was extended until September 2022 so that the Cruceros del consortium Pacific finishes the work.

Later, this newspaper reported that July 1, 2023 was the date for the final delivery of the work. But the then administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP), Iván Eskildsen, said that it would be done in November of last year. Finally, delivery took place in March 2024.

In addition to time, its cost also increased by $41 million more to go from $165 million to $206.7 million.

Noriel Araúz, administrator of the Maritime Authority of Panama (AMP), explained that between 2021 and until the end of 2023, even when the entire facility was not completed, more than 105 cruise operations with an average of 2,000 passengers were received at the temporary terminal. per boat, for a total of more than 200,000 people that generated approximately $20 million of economic impact.

“According to the International Association of Cruise Lines, the operation through a HomePort or base port operation for the exchange of tourists and the change of crew can generate the country $350 per tourist and $100 in the case of people in transit” Araúz added.


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