Tuesday, January 31 2012 @ 11:55 AM EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
Disturbances - While Moncada Luna issued his accusations against the Executive and Legislative branches of the Panamanian government, at the National Assembly militants (political activists) from the different political parties and members of the "civil society" shouted slogans for and against the bill about the Fifth Chamber, ending in scuffles, blows, and insults. The clashes between the various sectors caused the debates on the bill to be suspended until today, Tuesday, 31 January 2012.
Report - When he learned of the arguments issued by the coordinator of the notables, Rolando Murgas Torraza, the president said he does not agree with the creation of a "constitutional court" because of the negative experience this kind of initiative has had in other countries. Martinelli justified his views by stating "it has been inoperative for some countries, and can make all the projects being done by the government, or all of the bills passed by the National Assembly, subject to a demand of constitutionally in the new court." Martinelli also spoke about the issue of presidential reelection, and he asked to eliminate the possibility of reelection for all those who have occupied the position of President and Vice President of the Republic.
Reactions - In response to Martinelli's opposition to the creation of a "constitutional court," the former Supreme Court Magistrate and member of the Council of Notables Esmeralda de Troitiño first explained that the president was wrong when he said it would be constitutional court. The former judge said she does not share the president's position, because this institution would make a real change in the judicial system. Troitiño explained this new institution would serve only the protection of fundamental rights in the system of guarantees, preventing it from staying in the hands of three people. The new entity also would address the control of constitutionality.
Another who also disagreed with the president's remarks was Rolando Murgas Torraza, who said that the Notables believe and advocate for a constitutional court.
Meanwhile, Edgardo Molino Mola, a former Supreme Court judge, said if there were a debate explaining the advantages and disadvantages of both the Fifth Chamber and the Constitutional Court, the president would change his point of view.
Proposals - In addition to the creation of a Constitutional Court, the initiative, which contains 590 articles, includes the creation of the Water Authority, and prohibits the death penalty. The proposal includes raising the constitutional recognition of the payments being made to Senior citizens (the $100 for 70 program) as well as the thirteenth month payments, the privilege of parenthood, annulment of discriminatory dismissal, and tripartite participation in the labor relations system. It proposes the creation of economic aid to ensure free education, law, and sports promotion, access to medicines, and non-contributory pensions for the elderly, among others. These initiatives will be reviewed by the Executive, and then turn to its analysis in the Assembly. (Panama America)
Editor's Comment: Hmm. Martinelli is smart. I suspect he knew eventually the alliance between the CD and Panameñistas would fracture. If he had made the three Supreme Court appointments back in January 2011, then at least one of those guys would have been a Panamñista. Now, all three will be CD. The 590 articles contained in the report written by the "Notables" is for a change to the Constitution. The finalization of this report is the first step of the process. Now Martinelli will make his changes and forward it to the National Assembly. There, it will be debated and adopted. Then (I think) it goes to a National Referendum (vote). And then the implementation is delayed. It's a long process. Anyway - I still expect that Martinelli will announce his three new Supreme Court justices today.