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Friday, July 25 2014 @ 04:57 AM EDT

33% Say Juan Hombron Scandal Is The Biggest Of The Martinelli Administration

Corruption The case of land titles given for free in the area of John Hombrón, along the Cocle coast, was identified by respondents in a poll taken by the company Unimer commissioned by La Prensa, as the biggest corruption scandal of the government of President Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal. 33% of those surveyed by Unimer, between 19 and 22 July, quoted spontaneously and as their only answer the case of free land titling in John Hombrón. In October 2011, this newspaper published a series on the land titles granted for free along coastal lands, revealing the network of people, actions and complicity that allowed 54 hectares of beach to pass into the hands of corporations belonging to the family of the then Minister of the Presidency, Demetrio Papadimitriu.

The implications of the case, starting with the resignation of the primary executives of the National Land Management Authority, Alejandro Castillero and Anabelle Villamonte, reach these days, due to the recent expropriation of land by the executive and the resignation of Papadimitriu.

Besides the case John Hombrón, respondents mentioned other Martinelli administration scandals, such as Valter Lavítola related to the purchase of radars, helicopters and other safety equipment from the Italian Finmeccanica group of companies (16.6%), the extra cost of public works (9.7%), the free transfer of the land in Punta Paitilla (7.7%), booting the former Attorney General Ana Matilde Gomez out of office (2.7%), and the dismissal of former Foreign Minister and Vice President Juan Carlos Varela (2%). 4.9% of respondents said there have not been any scandals in the current government. Unimer polled 1,205 people, interviewed by face to face methodology, and distributed throughout the country except Darien and the indigenous regions. The confidence level is 95%, with a maximum margin of error of + / -2.8%.

Editor's Comment: See? That's exactly why president Ricardo Martinelli had to issue Executive Order 425 and order the expropriation of land in Juan Hombron. The scandal has been hurting them in the polls, and that's why Papadimitriu had to go. Still waiting to see if La Prensa goes after the Punta Chame land grab with the same gusto as the Juan Hombron case. There might be more than a couple of Panameñistas in the woodpile on that one - and it so, La Prensa will not go after it. Well, there's always Alvarado Alvarado, Telemetro, and the PRD to carry that torch. See? It's all politics.

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