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Sunday, March 24 2019 @ 05:10 PM UTC

Two Suspects Arrested In Murder of Former Governor Darío Fernández

Crime & Punishment #Panama - The National Police arrested two suspects yesterday in the murder of the former Governor of the province of Coclé, Darío Fernández, according to sources close to the investigation. The two suspects are "young and of dark complexion" and both were taken to the National Police headquarters in Penonomé to participate in a police lineup. The sources said hours before the murder, two young men had sneaked into and hidden inside of the "Radio Estéreo Favorita" radio station, owned by Fernández, but they were discovered by the staff and thrown out. According to the sources, the National Police used a security video taken inside of the radio station as the basis for the identification of the two suspects who have been arrested, who are the two young men who broke into the radio station.

Among the possible motives in this case, the National Police are investigating a series of public threats received by the victim in the days before his death, related to claims made by Fernandez himself, through his radio station, about irregularities in land titles with links to individuals and former officials of the Public Registry. The sources said Fernández denounced that several parcels of land in the provinces of Coclé and in the Darién were titled using the falsified signature and cedula (identification card) of this late mother, a case he presented to the Public Ministry. Furthermore, after the scandal broke over irregularities in the titling of land in the area of Juan Hombrón, Fernández resumed his complaints against the people who falsified the identity of his late mother, and he presented the case before the National Authority for Land Titling (ANATI), but he did not receive and answer, according to the sources.

About this potential motive (for the murder of Fernández) the National Police have asked for copies of the recordings of the radio programs in which Fernández made his complaints, and in some of those programs he even mentioned the names of some of the people who are allegedly involved.

Meanwhile, yesterday the forensic autopsy of the politician was completed, and the two bullets that killed him were removed from his body, one in the head and one in the back. Both of the projectiles were sent to the Department of Criminology at the Institute of Legal Medicine in Panama City for submission to the ballistics expert for analysis.

THE FACTS: Eyewitness accounts say the murder occurred at 9:00 pm on Sunday evening, shortly after Fernández ended his radio program and was walking to his house, located in the neighborhood of San Antonio (in Penonomé). When Fernández crossed through a park located in front of his house, he was intercepted by an unidentified man, who first shot him in the back, and when Fernández fell to the ground the man shot him a second time, in the head. Darío Fernández Alzamora, one of his sons who went with him, and who had gone ahead to open the door of the house, heard the shots and he tried to catch the murderer, but he failed because the killer shot in his direction. A group of neighbors and relatives took Fernández to the hospital in Penonomé, where he died. "We need to know why these things occurred. This can not remain like this, and that's why I ask the authorities for justice," said the son.

Meanwhile, president Ricardo Martinelli went to the home of Fernández to offer condolences to the family, and he said it was unfortunate that these facts took place, especially in a city like Penonomé which is very peaceful. In turn, Vice President Juan Carlos Varela lamented the fact and called it a cowardly murder.

A Man Of Various Professions: Darío Fernández was the Governor of Coclé during the administrations of Ernesto Pérez Balladares and Martín Torrijos. He served as the Vice Minister of the now defunct Ministry of Youth, Women, and Family. He was the President of the PRD political party in Coclé. At the time of his murder he was a party delegate, and a journalist who graduated from the University of Panama.

They Demand A Transparent Process: The Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) and the National College of Journalists (Conape) yesterday called for a transparent investigation into the murder of Darío Fernández, and for the guilty to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. In a press release, the National Executive Committee of the PRD attributed the insecurity in the country to the "failure of the government" and they demanded that the Public Ministry assume its rightful role in the discovery, processing, trial, and conviction of those responsible. "There is something going on that we don't know about, especially with Darío Fernández, who was a great critic of this government," said Francisco Sánchez Cárdenas, the President of the PRD. The CONAPE concurred with this and said last Friday Fernández raised "serious questions about the scandals and problems related to illegal land titling in Coclé." "We demand an exhaustive investigation to find those responsible, and that there be no impunity," they said. (Prensa)

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