Wednesday 3rd January 2024.

January 2, 2024


In his last report to the nation, President Laurentino Cortizo defended the right of voters to freely choose their next rulers and promised an “orderly transition” with whoever is elected in the elections on May 5.

“We live in a country in which democracy, the rule of law, respect for the separation of powers, freedom of expression and diversity of ideas govern,” Cortizo said before the legislative plenary session, which resumed its sessions this Wednesday. ordinary.

The representative Benicio Robinson , president of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) , was not present in the plenary session , who last week, during the discussion in the second debate of the draft general budget of the State for the period 2024, said: “Are they going to do they carry out a coup d’état? The coup d’état, gentlemen, you know who knows how to do it… Heh, heh… Don’t provoke us, don’t provoke us.”

In Robinson’s seat was his substitute Rupilio Ábrego.

The Pension Savings and Capitalization System of Public Servants (Siacap) reported assets of $863.5 million at the end of November 2023, which represented an increase of $48.1 million or 6% compared to November 2022.

This savings system was created through Law 8 of February 6, 1997, and its objective is to provide additional benefits to permanent disability or disability pensions granted to public workers.

According to the latest data available from Siacap, there are a total of 572,049 affiliates, of which 178,374 are contributors and 394,117 have savings, but no longer contribute as active workers.

Civil servants automatically have a contribution of 2% of their monthly salary deducted from their salaries to create personal savings when they reach retirement age.

As of November 2023, the funds reported an accumulated return of 5.6%. Since last year, an improvement in these yields began to be seen, reversing the downward trend that was being experienced, linked to factors such as the pandemic and its economic consequences; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and inflation in the United States.

Siacap began operations in the year 2000 with $435 million and to date has managed $1,937 million of assets.

Unlike the public pension system, this savings structure has managed to double the size of its assets. It has low administration costs and its organizational structure is small, being composed of a board of directors, made up of 8 people, and an executive secretary with 40 officials.

It contrasts with the Social Security Fund (CSS) , an entity that manages a payroll of nearly 35 thousand employees, which is not capable of timely having financial statements, actuarial studies or the individual savings accounts of the contributors who are part of the subsystem. mixed pension.

The operating cost for managing investments and administering Siacap is 30 cents for every $100 in the affiliate’s account in the year, considering that the fixed annual commission is 0.30% on the balance.

The plenary session of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) will meet this Wednesday, in an extraordinary session, to elect its board of directors for the next two years (2024-2025).

The press office of the Judicial Branch reported in a statement that the plenary session was called to meet on January 3, starting at 10:00 am, “to discuss that only issue on the day’s agenda.”

The call was made by Judge María Eugenia López Arias , current president of the CSJ, who would seek re-election.

Other candidates for the position would be Olmedo Arrocha (current vice president) and Carlos Vásquez , who preside over the First Civil and Third Administrative Litigation chambers, respectively. López presides over the Second Criminal Chamber.

López and Vásquez were appointed to the position by President Laurentino Cortizo ; Arrocha, by former president Juan Carlos Varela .

Only the nine members of the plenary participate in this election, who must elect a provisional president to exclusively direct the voting process. Each candidate must be nominated by another magistrate. If he wins, he also becomes president of the room to which he belongs. The candidate who has the simple majority of votes wins: half plus one.

The vice president will be chosen from among the presidents of the chambers.

After a consensus was not reached between workers and employers on what percentage increase in the minimum wage in the country will be, it is up to the Executive to establish that adjustment through a decree.

The Minister of Labor, Doris Zapata, said this Tuesday – upon arriving at the National Assembly – that they expect the new minimum wage to be announced at the end of this week.

She also revealed that the minimum wage, which is made up of a total of 53 wage rates by zones that cover 73 economic activities, will come into effect in the second half of January so that companies can adapt their payrolls.

She maintained that they have had several meetings with the technicians of the Ministry of Economy and Finance and that last December 27 was the last follow-up table with the workers and the private sector.

She stressed that the workers presented a proposal to raise the minimum wage for micro, small and medium-sized companies between 20% to 25% and 30% to 32% for large companies. While the private business sector presented proposals to preserve employment and reduce informality in order to improve productivity.

On the other hand, the Minister of Labor indicated that, due to the cessation of operations of Minera Panamá, some 3,000 workers have signed the withdrawal by mutual consent.

“At Mitradel we have reinforced the teams at the national level to provide guidance and make corrections to the calculations and some adjustments and corrections were made by the company and the differences that had been detected in the Ministry of Labor were paid.”

Zapata pointed out that Mitradel is evaluating the request for authorization of layoffs made by the company, since this is a mechanism established in the Labor Code when it is an economic activity that has permanently ceased operations.

He said that the loss of around 4,500 workers in mining activity will represent an increase in the unemployment rate in the country that will rise approximately 2 additional percentage points to the last unemployment rate, which stood at 7.4%.

Another attempt by Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal and his lawyers to overturn the conviction in the New Business case fails .

On this occasion, the plenary session of the Supreme Court of Justice did not admit a protection of constitutional guarantees (the sixth already) presented by Cordobés Jean Pierre Miranda , Martinelli’s lawyer, against a verbal order from the magistrate of the Superior Court for the Settlement of Criminal Cases, José Hoo Justiniani.

Hoo did not accept a “remediation” request presented by Martinelli’s defense.

Miranda alleged irregularities committed by the Superior Court for the Settlement of Criminal Cases, when processing an appeal against the sentence of criminal judge Baloisa Marquínez , who last July sentenced Martinelli to 128 months in prison and the payment of a fine. of $19.2 million, for laundering public funds to acquire the shares of Editora Panamá América, SA (Epasa) , in December 2010.

The lawyer maintains that the Superior Court for Settlement of Criminal Cases gave his client the file of the New Business case on a USB memory and that this documentation is supposedly “incomplete.”

he decision not to admit the protection of lawyer Mirada was presented by Judge Miriam Cheng Rosas and was unanimously supported by the rest of the plenary session. Judge Maribel Cornejo issued a concurring vote. The ruling, although adopted last December 7, was announced this Tuesday, January 2, through Edict No. 1.

This is the sixth protection of guarantees that both the Court and the First Superior Court of Justice have rejected to the former president, in relation to the trial and sentence of the New Business case.

The Criminal Chamber is pending whether or not to admit an appeal against the sentence imposed in July by the First Settlement Court of Criminal Cases, ratified in October by the First Superior Court of Justice.

The Mayor’s Office of Panama plans to hold the queens festival on the coastal strip on February 25, 2024 in the afternoon.

At the end of December, the Mayor’s Office put out to tender this activity “in order to inject tourism”, whose reference price is $170,848.

On January 8, the Municipality is scheduled to receive the proposals during the public event.

According to the Mayor’s Office, “the festival of queens and troupes serves as a platform to strengthen the culture that allows us to maintain and exalt our traditions that date back to ancient times, in addition to making known how these traditions are developed through the different regions that “ They make up the Republic of Panama .”

The company that wins this tender must organize the event and provide, among other things, sound, lights, meals for participants, portable toilets and installation of platforms.

A 39-year-old man was accused of the manslaughter of a cyclist in the community of El Espavé , in the district of Chame, whom he ran over and drove along the road almost 29 kilometers, to the Casamar residential complex , in San Carlos, where he was detained.

In a hearing held on January 1, guarantee judge Luis De León ordered the preventive detention of the driver.

The defendant was driving a Lexus vehicle when around 7:40 pm on December 31, New Year’s Eve, he ran over a 26-year-old cyclist.

The investigations carried out by the Crimes Against Life and Personal Integrity Section of Panama Oeste and the National Police revealed that the driver continued the march and drove along the Inter-American Highway with the body of the deceased on the engine cover, until he entered Casamar. , a private beachfront residential complex.

Once in Casamar , the Police were alerted and arrived at the scene.

Investigators are keeping the names of the victim and the accused confidential.

Prosecutor Miriam Rodríguez requested the provisional arrest of the driver of the Lexus because she considered that it was a serious crime and there was a risk of escape.


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