There Will Be No Special Supreme Court Meeting To Hear Ballesteros' Allegaions
Tuesday, April 08 2014 @ 12:42 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
The presiding judge of the Supreme Court, Jose Ayu Prado, called for caution and prudence with regards to the request by three of the sitting judges who are calling for an extraordinary meeting of the full body to discuss the issue, which was addressed by the Judicial Council on 31 March and during the regular meeting of the full body on April 3. There is an administrative process that has been circulated and decided.
The allegations being made by Ballesteros were analyzed during the meeting of the Judicial Council of 31 March and the regular meeting of the full court on April 3.
Right now there is a disciplinary process against the judges of the Second Superior Tribunal of Justice, currently located in the office of Judge Diaz.
Judge Diaz was challenged by lawyers defending the former judge Alexis Ballesteros on 31 March, and this challenge must first be resolved by Judge Luis Ramon Fabrega, Ayu Prado said.
The presiding judge of the Supreme Court said during the regular meeting of the full session of the Supreme Court and sitting judge is free and sovereign to raise any issue or matter they consider to be relevant.
The Supreme Court judges Oydén Ortega, Harley Mitchell and Víctor Benavides requested the President of the Supreme Court José Ayú Prado to call an Extraordinary meeting of the full body for today, April 8 at 3:00 pm, to address the allegations being made by the former judge Ballesteros.
The former judge complained his arm was twisted to issue decisions and rulings that would favor friends of President Martinelli. (TVN)
Editor's Comment: Martinelli appointed Jose Ayu Prado to the Supreme Court, and Martinelli also has a majority of the judges sitting on the bench. What you will see are delaying tactics, and nothing of any significance will be decided before the election on 4 May. In fact the three PRD judges Oydén Ortega, Harley Mitchell and Víctor Benavides all know nothing will happen and that they don't have the votes on the court to actually accomplish anything, so this is all about headlines and trying to keep this issue in the news as much as possible between now and the election.
After the election is over and Arias wins, then these three judges will be replaced by players who are faithful to the CD.
Two of the judges appointed by the former PRD president Martin Torrijos in January 2006 - Harley Mitchell and Víctor Benavides - will be leaving the bench on 1 January 2016. Oydén Ortega also appointed by Torrijos in January 2008 will be leaving office on 1 January 2018.
Jerónimo Mejía - also appointed by Torrijos in 2008 - is the last of the four "non CD" judges who remains on the Supreme Court. I have no idea why he didn't include his name on this list of judges calling for a special or extraordinary hearing into the Ballesteros matter.
But no matter what the bottom line remains the same. There is no judicial security in Panama. The facts in the case file mean nothing at all, if the person who you are going against is Panamanian, rich, and connected. This fundamental truth becomes even more true the higher up you go in the judicial food chain. No one will ever win any sort of legal case of any kind against Ricardo Martinelli, and that also will become even more true after Arias wins the election on 4 May. They won't "own" all nine judges until 1 January 2018 but it really doesn't matter when all you need is a simple majority, and they already have that.