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Thursday, April 24 2014 @ 09:33 AM EDT

Moncada Luna Submits Bill To Kill The Fifth Chamber - Once And For All

Law & Lawyers
Alejandro Moncada Luna - President of Panama's Supreme Court
Alejandro Moncada Luna - President of Panama's Supreme Court
Empowered by the plenary of the Supreme Court, Judge Alejandro Moncada went to the National Assembly yesterday to present a Bill to repeal Law 32 of 23 July 1999, which created the Fifth Chamber of Guarantee Institutions. "For the sake of social peace and harmony that should govern our country, today I present to you (the members of the National Assembly) the Law that would repeal that Chamber from the Supreme Court," he said. In its preamble, Moncada said given the situation of social unrest among the sectors of organized groups, unions, political parties, professional associations and individuals who are opposed to the appointment of three new judges, they chose to promote the repeal of the controversial law. The judge noted that the Full Court accepted the suggestion of the Council of National Coalition to repeal Law 23 of 1999. He said the theme of the Fifth Chamber, by its matter, fits in the field of the Judicial Branch of government. With the action taken yesterday by the judges of the Court, together with the Cabinet Council Resolution 68 of 26 June 2012, revoking the appointment of three new judges of the Court, are intended to give the legal death to the Fifth Chamber. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: The entire concept of the Fifth Chamber was originally created by Ernesto Perez Balladares in 1999 as part of his bid to illegally remain in office by expanding the size of the Supreme Court, in order to control it. As soon as Mireya Moscoso took office she passed a new law to repeal the original law that created the Fifth Chamber. But then the Supreme Court, controlled by Martinelli, decided the law passed by Moscoso was unconstitutional, legally bringing the original law that created the Fifth Chamber back to life. Once Martinelli and company finally realized the people of Panama would not stand for this blatant power grab, it made sense to completely kill the Fifth Court vampire once and for all. All of this was a massive waste of time for no gain whatsoever - by definition a badly played and very risky political gambit with little to no upside. The only possible positive spin for the 2014 election - Martinelli can blame it all on the Supreme Court, claiming he had nothing to do with it (citing plausible deniability), that he "had" to make the appointments in accordance to the law and constitution, and now - thank God - it's been killed once and for all. No one will believe it, but that's the message and stance anyway...

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