Wednesday 3rd July 2024.

July 2, 2024


Judge Cecilio Cedalise , of the Third Chamber of Administrative Litigation, will be responsible for determining the legality of the settlements by mutual agreement in favor of managers and trusted personnel of the Electric Transmission Company, SA (Etesa) .

Sources from the Judicial Branch confirmed that in a distribution held last Friday, Cedalise was responsible for processing the request for viability made by the comptroller Gerardo Solís , in order to determine whether or not the agreements in favor of at least 14 people are legal, including Carlos Mosquera and Óscar Rendoll , general manager and assistant manager, respectively, until June 30. Víctor González was appointed as interim general manager , until Roy Morales is ratified in that position .

It was reported that the appeal filed by Solís is currently being processed and that Judge Cedalise is already analyzing the legal regulations that regulate the period of civil servants in mixed companies (such as Etesa) in order to prepare a project and present it to the rest of the members that make up the Third Chamber.

The Public Prosecutor, Rigoberto González , said that it is not “legally viable” for the members of the boards of directors of joint ventures to authorize mutual agreements contrary to the provisions contained in the law. Therefore, according to Gonzalez, these trusted officials would not be entitled to compensation for the termination of their duties.

González’s opinion was made following a query made by former Minister of Commerce and Industry Jorge Rivera Staff, who chaired the board of directors of Etesa when these liquidations were authorized. Rivera requested to determine the scope of Law 24 of 2014, which regulates the periods of public officials within public institutions.

In his response to Rivera, González argued that general managers and other members of senior management of joint ventures are civil servants governed by administrative law and are not required to maintain an indefinite employment relationship under the Labor Code.

Etesa sent a request to the Comptroller’s Office to terminate Mosquera’s employment, who will receive compensation of $249,195. Mosquera already earns a salary of $14,315 a month, more than double what the President of the Republic, ministers and deputies receive.

Rendoll, for his part, agreed to a mutual agreement of $306,615. In total, La Prensa reported compensations by mutual agreement in favor of 14 officials, which in total represents an expense of $1.6 million.President José Raúl Mulino asked the Comptroller’s Office not to approve these amounts, considering them to be an abuse of public funds.

From the Demetrio H. Brid Municipal Palace , the installation of the new councilors, the inauguration of Mayor Mayer Mizrachi and the election of the board of directors of the Municipal Council of Panama for the period 2024-2029 took place this Tuesday.

At around 12:30 pm, Mizrachi took the floor and said that he would not be able to do this job in the Panama City Hall alone, and that to do so he has surrounded himself with experienced people, such as his deputy mayor, Roberto Ruíz Díaz.

“The times of favoritism and of favorite community councils are over,” he warned.

According to the new mayor, his term will not be one of excuses, but of results, and he will therefore maintain direct contact with the central government and urged private companies to get involved in the improvement of Panama City.

“I took over a decadent and neglected administration, with finances in a critical state and a politicized organizational chart. The numbers are in the red, but we are going to solve the problems and create a more prosperous municipality in the region,” he said.

He referred to creating a healthy and modern city, as well as taking care of every penny and cutting privileges. “Those who don’t work don’t get paid, and with these savings we will reach all the districts,” he added.

Mayer was accompanied at the inauguration ceremony by his family, as well as former first lady Marta Linares de Martinelli.

The mayor of the San Miguelito district, Irma Hernández , took office this Tuesday, July 2. In her speech, she highlighted that the district is ready to have its cable car and its first district park, the first lung of San Miguelito, located in Andes N°2.

Hernández acknowledged that the district deserves the best. However, he asked that it be taken into account that he has received a bankrupt municipality, but at the same time promised that he will leave a mayor’s office with plenty of resources.

The process of repatriating undocumented migrants entering Panama through the Darien jungle will begin in the coming weeks, according to U.S. government officials at a press conference on Tuesday, July 2.

The United States will be in charge of these flights, which are part of a pilot plan agreed upon with Panama to deter the approximately 1,200 migrants a day from countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Haiti who cross the Darien border heading north.

“The situation in Darien is unsustainable and in many cases tragic,” said Marcela Escobari, special assistant to US President Joe Biden and White House adviser on migration.

“We hope that this action will deter migrants from putting themselves and their families at great risk when crossing the Darien and the rest of this route,” he said via video conference.

From January 2024 until June 27 of this year, 195,817 irregular migrants have been recorded passing through this inhospitable and dangerous area that connects Panama and Colombia.

The Biden administration will provide $6 million to the Panamanian government for training, technical assistance and the cost of flights for migrants to their countries of origin, according to officials from the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security.

The number of migrants who would be repatriated daily under this pilot plan is unknown. It is also unclear whether the United States will administer these funds or whether Panamanian authorities will be responsible for managing the use of the funds.

The initial details of the pilot repatriation plan come a day after U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and President José Raúl Mulino signed a “memorandum of understanding” to address the migration crisis in Darién.

Mulino took advantage of Mayorkas’ visit, part of the United States delegation that attended his inauguration on July 1, to sign the bilateral agreement.

On the morning of Tuesday, July 2, the President of Argentina, Javier Milei , and the President of Panama, José Raúl Mulino , held a telephone conversation in which they exchanged impressions on their respective economic challenges and the need to implement deep reforms in their countries.

“The change that you have made to Argentine politics has a lot in common with the change that I have to make here,” were the words with which the conversation between the two leaders began.

Mulino expressed the urgency of carrying out a “very deep clean-up” in the economic system of Panama, taking as an example the measures adopted by Milei in the South American country. “I do not have the capacity to pass a law like the one you passed, but I would have loved to. However, it is a lot of money that is being thrown away,” he added.

Milei declared a public emergency in Argentina in administrative, economic, financial and energy matters for a period of one year, and granted the President delegated powers in those areas.

Mulino, for his part, stressed the need to make significant adjustments to maintain economic stability and avoid losing investment grade.

“There is a lot of optimism and the private sector is completely behind me, supporting me in everything that needs to be done,” he stressed.

Mulino thanked his Argentine counterpart for his support.

For her part, Milei left open the possibility of a visit to the country. “I will consider making a stopover in Panama and visiting it.”

A bill seeking to make transparent the process of granting scholarships and financial aid from the Institute for the Training and Utilization of Human Resources (Ifarhu) was presented on Tuesday, July 2, during the first plenary session of the National Assembly.

The proposal was presented by deputy José Pérez Barboni , from the Otro Camino Movement (Moca). He explained that the project responds to what citizens have asked of that State body.

“Thus addressing one of the most corrupt institutions in the last administration of President Laurentino Cortizo’s government,” he said.

An interactive database prepared by La Prensa revealed that Ifarhu granted non-reimbursable subsidies to relatives of several high-ranking officials, including a niece of President Cortizo himself. However, Ifarhu kept secret the names of almost 3,000 beneficiaries of the economic aid that was distributed between July 7, 2019, and May 24, 2023. This involved a disbursement of at least $141.6 million.

Pérez Barboni also presented a bill to reform the Assembly’s Internal Regulations. The deputy asked his colleagues from the different parties to discuss and support these bills.

The President of the Republic, José Raúl Mulino , formally installed his Cabinet this Monday, July 1, 2024, in an official ceremony held at the Palacio de las Garzas.

After signing the decrees that support these appointments, Mulino addressed the ministers and vice-ministers who will accompany him in his government management.

“This country needs to change from A to Z,” said Mulino, who won the presidential elections in May with 34% of the votes and was nominated by the Realizing Goals (RM) and Alliance parties.

The new Panamanian president said that the country expects significant changes. “The Panamanian people expect this and will remind us of it at the first slip, especially in the handling of vital and important issues,” he added.

He also stressed that the Minister of Economy and Finance, Felipe Chapman, will be the leader of the country’s finances, and recalled that Chapman has his full confidence “to do what he has to do.”

Overall, the new president of Panama thanked the Cabinet for “this adventure that we are going to enjoy” and for “trying new things,” although he warned that “what we are facing is not easy.”

On the other hand, Mulino said he felt “very comfortable” with the National Assembly, which on July 1 installed the first legislature of the first ordinary session period 2024-2025.

Deputy Dana Castañeda, from the RM party, was elected as president of the National Assembly. Deputy Didiano Pinilla, from Cambio Democrático, will be the first vice president, while Deputy Jamis Acosta, from RM, was chosen for the second vice presidency.

“I think we can have good chemistry with the National Assembly,” said Mulino, a 65-year-old lawyer.


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