Wednesday 5th July 2023.

July 4, 2023


The deputy of Cambio Democrático , Ana Giselle Rosas, formalized on Tuesday afternoon, the presentation for the formation of the new bench called “Good things come”.

She did so during the second day of ordinary sessions of the National Assembly presided over by the new president, Jaime Vargas.

Rosas reported that this new bench, which separates from the current Cambio Democrático (CD) bench, will be made up of her colleagues Rony Araúz, Edwin Zúñiga, Génesis Arjona and herself, she will be the coordinator of this new parliamentary faction. The deputy coordinator will be Araúz.

“This formal presentation results in the resignation of the four of us as deputies of the Cambio Democrático caucus,” she said.

Her request is legally based on articles 221 and 221 of the Internal Regulations of the Assembly, which state that a bench must be made up of no less than four deputies.

The CD bench is chaired by Yanibel Ábrego, deputy from Capire, current presidential candidate of that party and main adversary of Rómulo Roux, presidential candidate.

The Assembly is made up of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Molirena, Panameñista Party, CD and Independents benches.

The Supreme Court of Justice declared legal the arrest warrant and filiation issued by the First Criminal Case Settlement Court against the former Ombudsman, Patria Portugal , sentenced to 96 months in prison for the crime of embezzlement.

In Edict 763 released by the Secretariat of the Judicial Branch this Tuesday, July 4, the parties are notified of the decision adopted by the plenary session of the Court. The ruling was presented by Judge Olmedo Arrocha and supported by the remaining eight judges.

The magistrates validated Official Letter 1844 of March 16, which complied with the conviction of May 25, 2020, issued by the now-defunct Eighth Criminal Court (which became the First Settlement Court for Criminal Cases).

On June 26, the Superior Court of Appeals confirmed a decision by a compliance judge who determined that the former official should serve her sentence in a prison.

Portugal’s conviction followed an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office into two contracts she signed as Ombudsman (April 2011-July 2013).

One of them, with the company Imaginarium Studio, SA, for an amount of $249,845, was for the redesign of the entity’s web page, and the other for $199,983, for personnel training, awarded to the company En Avant, S.A.

Portural was an Ombudsman between 2011 and 2013, during the administration of former President Ricardo Martinelli. (2009-2014).

On the last day of the trial in the Lava Jato case, Jürgen Mossack , co-founder of the defunct firm Mossack Fonseca and one of the 32 defendants for alleged money laundering, addressed criminal judge Baloisa Marquínez .

Mossack, among other things, considered that the prosecution attributes a “non-existent” crime to him, that Mossack Fonseca created more than 250,000 companies for lawful purposes, that his firm was a pioneer in applying due diligence to its clients and that they want me to go to prison, at 75 years of age, is “unbelievable”.

“I have seen during these days, because I show my face, I sit in front… I have seen that you have listened very patiently to both the prosecution and the defense. I believe that you have paid much attention to everything. I thank you for your patience. I am sure that in the end you will make the wisest decision possible,” Mossack told the judge on the last day of a trial that began on June 26 and ended on July 4.

In order for Mossack to have a chance to speak, his lawyer Guillermina McDonald (who also defends the co-founder of the firm, Ramón Fonseca Mora , and Edison Teano and Sandra Naranjo de Cornejo ) asked the judge to listen to her client for a few “five minutes”, to which Marquínez promptly agreed.

Mossack appreciated the gesture and said that he had waited for this moment for seven years. “In court there is a little sign that says that one cannot approach the judge for any matter. So this is my chance,” he said.

His partner Ramón Fonseca did not personally go to Judge Marquínez’s room and followed the development of the trial electronically. For both, the prosecution requested up to 12 years in prison, the same as for 26 other defendants, and the acquittal of four defendants.

Mossack said he has practiced as a lawyer since 1973 and has never had “runs with the law of any kind”, except for a traffic ticket for speeding.

He reiterated that he is not “responsible” for the charges against him, but that he is responsible for other things, “such as providing employment for some 650 families between Panama and abroad, as well as having established, together with my partner and the staff from my office, some 250,000 companies, of which some accounts have been mentioned during the trial and which apparently may have been used for illegal purposes by some end customers”.

He also said that he always worried “about doing things right.”

“We even, before it was an obligation here to meet your client by Law 2 of 2011 , we already had a due diligence office. We already did, ”he assured.

“We were a law firm that did things well for many years and now the prosecution wants me to be sentenced to eight years in prison for a non-existent crime at the age of 75, that, Madam Judge, is implausible,” he said.

Marquínez did not specify when he will announce her ruling, but that decision, which is in the first instance, could be appealed by any of the dissatisfied parties.

An inspector from the National Migration Service (SNM) was bitten by a foreigner while carrying out field work, the entity reported.

The SNM reported that the event occurred on Monday, July 3, on Federico Boyd Avenue, in Panama City.

In addition, the incident occurred when the inspector asked some foreigners for the corresponding documents, to find out the immigration status of these people in the country.

Similarly, the entity explains in a statement that as part of the field action, the official proceeded to provide assistance to foreigners and informed them that child begging is prohibited for nationals and foreigners. At that moment, the official was bitten on the arm and later taken to receive medical attention.

The foreigner involved in the incident was transferred to the entity’s headquarters to continue with the proceedings of the case.

Until the year 2022, Panama registered some 153,444 tobacco users, which represented 5% of the population over 15 years of age, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported on Tuesday.

The information was released as part of the meeting of the secretariat of the Framework Convention of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Tobacco Control, which takes place in Panama.

“The implementation of this protocol will allow us to strengthen international cooperation and adopt joint measures to prevent and combat the illicit trade of tobacco products,” said the General Director of Public Health of the Ministry of Health, Melva Cruz.

She recalled that Panama is one of the 40 countries that ratified the Protocol for the Elimination of Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, which was ratified by Law 27 of 2016.

It is specified that this agreement requires the application of a series of measures aimed at combating the illicit marketing of tobacco products.

It is explained that the issuance of licenses, the application of controls in free zones, international transit and the implementation of tracking and tracing systems are a requirement that the nations that are part of the protocol must comply with.

“The illicit trade in tobacco products not only harms the economy and the legal industry, but also endangers the health of millions of people around the world,” Cruz said.

In Panama, it is estimated that close to 2,000 deaths per year in the country are related to tobacco use. Eight of the ten leading causes of death are reported to be associated with the use of these products or exposure to their toxic smoke.

According to WHO data, tobacco use worldwide is responsible for approximately 8 million premature deaths each year.


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