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Thursday, September 19 2019 @ 02:09 am EDT

Torrijos Has Protection, With Or Without The PARLACEN

CorruptionBy MONICA PALM for La Prensa - Panama's Vice President and Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela said yesterday that former President Martín Torrijos will lose his newly acquired "immunity" as a member of the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) once Panama formalizes its departure from this organization. "They [Torrijos and Samuel Lewis] are within their rights, but once our country is no longer a member of the PARLACEN, they will lose their immunity, because that makes no sense," said Varela. But the Parlacen is not the only jurisdiction that protects Torrijos and keeps him out of the reach of justice. It happens that, as the current Secretary General of the PRD Torrijos still enjoys electoral protection because, although the general elections were four months ago, the process still has not yet been formally closed. In fact, in late September, the Electoral Tribunal (TE) is organizing a an election that will be held in Veraguas. Thus, although Torrijos will no longer have immunity through the PARLACEN, if anyone wanted to investigate him they would first have to send a request to the justices of the Electoral Tribunal which they would either authorize or not. That same election protection covers Balbina Herrera as a former presidential candidate and President of the PRD. The question is a valid one, because both Torrijos and Herrera are being questioned for their involvement in the CEMIS bribes and corruption scandal, and the approval and ratification of the Supreme Court Judges Winston Spadafora y Alberto Cigarruista. The case was reopened by the Supreme Court, which now must decide under what conditions the investigation will continue.

Torrijos tiene fuero, con o sin Parlacen

MÓNICA PALM mpalm@prensa.com

El vicepresidente y canciller Juan Carlos Varela dijo ayer que el ex presidente Martín Torrijos perderá su recién adquirida “inmunidad” como diputado centroamericano, una vez Panamá formalice su salida del Parlacen.

“Ellos [Torrijos y Samuel Lewis] están en su derecho, pero una vez que nuestro país salga del Parlacen, perderán la inmunidad, porque eso no tiene ningún sentido”, remarcó Varela.

Pero lo del Parlacen no es el único fuero que protege a Torrijos del alcance de la justicia. Sucede que, como secretario general del PRD, tiene fuero electoral, ya que aunque las elecciones generales fueron hace cuatro meses, el proceso aún no ha sido formalmente clausurado. De hecho, a finales de septiembre, el Tribunal Electoral (TE) organiza una consulta para desempatar unas elecciones en Veraguas.

De ese modo, aunque Torrijos no tuviese inmunidad por el Parlacen, si alguien quisiera investigarlo, tendría que mandar una solicitud a los magistrados del TE, para que éstos autoricen o no, en sala de acuerdos.

Ese mismo fuero electoral protege a Balbina Herrera, como ex candidata presidencial y presidenta del PRD.

El tema cobra actualidad, porque Torrijos y Herrera están cuestionados por su participación en el escándalo de los sobornos por la aprobación del Cemis y la ratificación de los magistrados Winston Spadafora y Alberto Cigarruista. El caso fue reabierto por la Corte, que ahora debe decidir bajo qué condiciones continúa la investigación.

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