Wednesday 8th February 2023.

February 8, 2023

A contentious administrative claim for nullity against agreement 142 of Tuesday, August 2, 2022, issued by the Municipal Council of Panama, was filed this Tuesday, February 7, 2023 before the Supreme Court of Justice by the lawyer Ernesto Cedeño. The municipal agreement, approved in August 2022 and published in  the Official Gazette  that same month, contemplates an increase in municipal taxes. “Agreement 142 was born in the legal way but with a hint of illegality,” said Cedeño, when filing the lawsuit before the Third Administrative Litigation Chamber of the Court. In his opinion, it violates Law 38 of the year 2000 (regulating the General administrative procedure), which states in its article 155 that the administrative act must be adequately motivated.In addition, the lawyer remarked that a proper justification of the need for the increase in municipal taxes was not made. He added that these increases were not submitted to a public consultation, as  indicated by Law 6 of January 22, 2002, which dictates standards for transparency in public management. In view of these considerations, Cedeño said that he requested the magistrates of the Third Chamber to provisionally suspend the effects of the aforementioned agreement. Taxpayers in the  Municipality of Panama  have expressed their discomfort over the controversial tax increase. The tax increase, in some economic activities, reaches 200%. On Monday, unions such as the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama and the Panamanian Association of Business Executives spoke out against the measure to increase municipal taxes and have requested the suspension of the increase.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) stressed that it has the obligation to allow the passage of any ship that meets the requirements, so it will not prevent the transit of two Iranian military ships . In this regard, the ACP issued a statement in which it stated that both Iranian vessels comply with the obligations derived from the international treaties to which Panama is a signatory, as well as with the provisions contained in the Political Constitution , the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea , the organic law of the ACP and other regulatory norms that regulate the transit of ships through the interoceanic route. “Every ship must comply with the provisions regarding innocent passage when entering the national waters of the Republic of Panama, as established in Section 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of ​​1982,” says the ACP in its statement. This convention establishes a comprehensive regime of law and order in the oceans and seas of the world. “The ACP has the obligation to allow the passage of any vessel that meets all these requirements,” he emphasized. In the statement, the Panama Canal also stated that it “sees regularly, and as part of its daily operation, because the vessels that wish to transit through this route comply with all these requirements and in accordance with the operational guidelines that apply to the more than 13 thousand transits a year that the Canal makes”.According to the publication of the maritime and logistics affairs portal , two Iranian warships were to be crossing the Panama Canal yesterday February 7. coming from Venezuela, a country that has been an  important ally of Iran in Latin America.

Law 364 of February 6, 2023 has already been published in the Official Gazette , which “develops the human right to mental health and guarantees its national coverage”, also known as the mental health law. Among the objectives of the aforementioned law are to provide protection for people’s mental health and well-being, guarantee respect for the dignity of people with mental illnesses, in addition to reducing suicide rates and health-related mental stigmas. Other purposes are to ensure access to quality services for mental health care and non-discrimination of people with mental illnesses. “The State will ensure universal access and coverage of mental health services for the entire population in the national territory. For such purposes, free public care services will be provided to any person who requires mental health treatment”, the law specifies in its sixth article. The following article establishes that insurance companies may not discriminate against people with mental health conditions when contracting a life or health insurance policy. This law also states that public and private educational institutions of all academic levels, government organizations and public entities will plan and carry out educational programs that promote mental well-being, the prevention of mental deterioration and awareness of people with health problems. mental health and in the rehabilitation process, especially when it comes to children and adolescents. The Executive will regulate Law 364 of February 2023 in a period not exceeding six months, counted from its promulgation in the Official Gazette .Deputy Gabriel Silva, one of the proponents of this initiative, stressed that it is a law that places mental health as a priority and establishes public policies to ensure care and services for the  entire population. “Mental health is just as important as physical. And you must take care of it and protect it, “said the deputy on his account on the social network Twitter.

The escalation of violence that has been experienced in San Miguelito in recent days forced the authorities to resort to a new strategy: reinforce security with personnel from the National Border Service (Senafront) and the National Aeronaval Service (Senan), which since last weekend they patrolled the streets together with the National Police. According to reports from the Ministry of Public Security, in this district, located in the metropolitan area of ​​the country, at least 24 gangs operate and some of them dispute control of the territory for the sale of drugs. In fact, according to the authorities themselves, 18 of the 52 crimes that have occurred in the country so far in 2023 have been committed in that district, located 9 kilometers from Calle 50, in the banking area of ​​Panama City.  “What is happening in San Miguelito is due to drug riots that have awakened old disputes and promote fights for control of the territory between criminal groups, which are responsible for 80% of the registered homicides,” acknowledged the Minister of Public Security Juan Pino Rosa Mercado (the source requested that her real name not be used, for security reasons) has lived for 50 years in Veranillo, a community in the town of Belisario Porras, in the district of San Miguelito. Despite the fact that she is known in the neighborhood, probably because she was one of the first inhabitants of it, she does not feel free to move freely in the area. She locks herself up every day at 7:00 pm for fear of shootings, robberies and fights that abound in the sector. She’s seen it all: a neighbor killing another as a ritual to join a gang, shootouts over a parking lot, and robberies. Lots of robberies.

About 31 people linked to the crime of gangs were captured this Tuesday, in the province of Colón. These are the results of Operation Rising Sun 2, carried out in this province by the National Police and the Public Ministry. The operation led to 47 judicial raids against the gang calling itself Niños Sufridos (NS). According to the entities, said criminal structure would be linked to violent acts such as homicide, extortion, drugs, possession of weapons, robberies, among others. Among those apprehended are three leaders: alias “Saimita o Bala”, alias “El Viejo Saimán” and alias “Aza”. In a press conference it was reported that these search procedures were carried out in the sectors of Villa Luzmila, Nuevo México, El Polvorín, Altos de Los Lagos and Villa Del Caribe. The apprehended were due to be presented before a guarantee judge.

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