Wednesday 4th October 2023.

October 3, 2023


The Supreme Court of Justice did not pay attention to the claim of unconstitutionality against several articles of Law 37 of 2009 (and its subsequent modifications), on decentralization in public administration, presented three months ago by the lawyer and candidate for deputy in the circuit 8-4 for free nomination, Daniel Lombana Franceshi.

On August 30, the full Court decided not to admit Lombana’s claim. If this claim had been followed up, it would have been possible to attribute responsibilities regarding the management of the so-called parallel decentralization.

Lombana, in his lawsuit, pointed out that the National Decentralization Authority (AND) had been “transferred” responsibilities that the Constitution attributes directly to the Executive. The lawyer supports this point in a statement from the President of the Republic himself, Laurentino Cortizo, who on June 11 told journalists that he does not “manage” the decentralization money, but rather the AND .

That day, the journalists asked Cortizo about a journalistic investigation by La Prensa , which recorded that the current Government injected at least $240 million into 474 community boards outside the procedure contemplated in Law 37 of 2009, without any control and without making transparent the information. The majority of the community boards favored with these photos are under the command of a representative of the PRD or aligned with that official group.

“I don’t handle that issue. In the Presidency there was a secretariat and it was passed to an authority,” Cortizo insisted to journalists.

In this way, the AND is interpreted as a kind of intermediary between the central government and local governments.

For this reason, Lombana presented the unconstitutionality claim, which was finally not admitted by the full Court, with a presentation by Judge Ariadne García. There was a reasoned vote: that of Judge Olmedo Arrocha .

In this regard, Lombana said that the Court did not understand his claim.

“That is the summary of the inadmissibility. They do not understand. When they don’t want to, they act like they don’t understand,” she said.

“The Court, and also some courts, sometimes turns the admission stage into an almost background stage. The admission stage is a stage of formalism… But entering into things like ‘I don’t admit it because I don’t like your argument or I don’t understand it’… Judge Arrocha even makes a reasoned vote, but adds that no shares the substance of the claim, which is already a fundamental criterion. If the demands meet, they must be given way. You don’t know what the attorney is going to say, what the people who intervene in the pleadings stage are going to say. There is so much fabric to cut. But they just close the door because they don’t like the exit argument,” Lombana added.

This Tuesday, October 3, the Cabinet Council authorized the Minister of Commerce and Industries, Federico Alfaro, to withdraw from the National Assembly bill 1043, which approves the contract between the State and Minera Panamá.

In a statement, the Presidency reported that the decision to withdraw the project is “to make the adjustments required and indicated by the Commerce Commission” of the Assembly.

“The measure obeys the style of the National Government, which is open-door and listens to all sectors,” the statement highlights.

“In the coming days the Executive will work together with the company Minera Panamá, to agree on the wordings that resolve the points indicated by the Commerce Commission of the National Assembly,” he adds.

Last week, the Commerce and Economic Affairs Commission suspended the discussion, in the first debate, of bill 1043.

In the legislative session of September 28, Roberto Ábrego, president of the Commission, mentioned the three reasons why they proposed to the Executive to take their bill: the articles that have to do with the restriction of airspace, the possibility of expropriation and the distribution of the final benefits of the mining concession.

Surprisingly, since the topic was not on the agenda, the Commission on Credentials, Regulations, Parliamentary Ethics and Judicial Affairs of the National Assembly agreed on a methodology to discuss the 17 complaints that there are in that instance against the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo , and the judges of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ).

The decision was adopted this Tuesday, October 3, in a session that began at 8:00 am and was chaired by PRD deputy Raúl Pineda . Ricardo Torres (PRD), Hugo Méndez (Panameñista), Yanibel Ábrego (Cambio Democrático), Gabriel Silva (independent) and Mercedes Gálvez , substitute for Sergio Chello Gálvez (CD) also participated .

Benicio Robinson (PRD), vice president of the aforementioned commission, Roberto Ábrego , Mayín Correa (CD) and Francisco Alemán (Molirena) were absent .

As part of the recently approved methodology, the 17 complaints were divided into five folders, according to the date on which they were presented.

The first complaint that will be dealt with is one by the former president of the Republic and now presidential candidate of Realizing Goals (RM), Ricardo Martinelli , against the president of the CJS, María Eugenia López Arias , presented in April 2022, for an alleged “persecution ”. She had previously denounced her for alleged “manifest enmity.”

Martinelli accuses López of altering the calendar of the Accusatory Penal System (SPA) , to supposedly advance the dates of the hearings of the judicial cases that follow him.

Pineda promised that these sessions, which will be held every Tuesday at 8:00 am, will be “open” to the media, in the offices of the PRD bench:

The judge of guarantees of the First Judicial Circuit of Panama, Irene Cedeño, decreed the precautionary measure of provisional detention of a 25-year-old citizen, for the alleged commission of the crime against economic assets in the form of aggravated robbery, as primary accomplice.

This case has to do with the arrest, last Saturday, of a person allegedly linked to the robbery of the branch of the Banco General de Hato Pintado, town of Pueblo Nuevo. The arrest was made in the vicinity of Plaza Conquistador on Domingo Díaz Avenue.

In a hearing held this Monday, October 2, Judge Cedeño based her decision after considering it proportional to the nature of the event and the degree of involvement of the accused, and also took into account the procedural risks of flight risk.

Previously, the arrest was legalized and the formulation of charges made by the Public Ministry, represented by prosecutor Ofira Agrazal, was considered presented.

Last Friday, September 29, four criminals attacked the Banco General branch on 12 Octubre Avenue in the afternoon. Before entering the bank, the criminals snatched the firearm from the private security agent guarding the premises and with a sledgehammer they burst one of the glass doors of the branch.

The investigations continue.

The Canal Museum, within the Old Town, announced the call for the selection of the resident artist for its annual Faro 2024 program.

The program constitutes a significant space for emerging and mid-career artists in the field of contemporary art in Panama, it was reported.

Faro is designed to facilitate processes of research, experimentation and artistic production, allowing an enriching dialogue between artists and the museum, its history and urban environment.

Thus, the selected artists will have the opportunity to explore the museum’s collections and connect them with the history of Panama and its Canal, it was detailed in a statement.

In the 2024 edition of Faro, the artist in residence will have privileged access to the museum’s historical and documentary collection to develop research and create works of art that will feature in the permanent room La Ruta por la Soberanía 1903-1964.

It should be noted that this residency is aimed at visual arts professionals with a short or medium-term career, of legal age, and based in Panama City. The selected artist will receive financial and technical support to develop their artistic project based on the historical archive and collection of the Canal Museum.

The rules and contest form are now available on the Canal Museum’s Instagram account: @museodelcanal.

The deadline to submit applications ends on October 31, at 3:00 pm, while the selected person will be announced on November 15, also through the Canal Museum’s social networks. The resulting exhibition will be open to the public between May and December 2024.

The Canal Museum is a research, cultural and educational center that was founded as a non-profit organization in September 1997, to tell the story of Panama as a transit route and the importance of the Panama Canal.

Panama is the tenth most innovative country in Latin America, according to the new Global Innovation Index (GII) 2023 released last week, which gauges the performance of nations in issues such as science, technology and innovation.

The Central American country maintained its position last year in Latin America according to the index prepared by Cornell University in the United States, the Insead business school and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

However, Panama fell three places compared to the previous world index in 2022, ranking 84th this year with 25.3 points.

The study measures a total of seven pillars, in which Panama is located far from the top: institutional (77), human capital and research (103), business complexity (124), infrastructure (55), complexity of the market (102), knowledge and technology (87) and creativity (67).


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