Tuesday, January 31 2012 @ 04:40 PM EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
CONFUSION - For National Assembly Deputies Elias Castillo from the Revolutionary Democratic Party and Jose Isabel Blandon from the Panameñista party, there were irregularities in the motion to table Bill 402. "What they did, they did so in violation of our rules of procedure," Blandon told reporters in the Chamber. Before the vote, Rep. Jose Luis Varela of the Panameñista party, speaking on behalf of his party's caucus, asked the National Assembly for the full withdrawal of the proposal made by his party, which consisted of a request to halt the debate and to have the bill returned to committee.
"Today the Panameñista caucus has decided to withdraw this proposal because we will not follow the game being played by the President of the Supreme Court, who practically has entered in order to legislate, when it is not the responsibility of the judges of the Supreme Court and, therefore, we have decided to withdraw the proposal," said Varela.
These remarks came shortly before the Vice President of the National Assembly - acting as the ad-hoc president - requested the initiation of voting on the proposal put forward by the Deputy from the Democratic Change political party Abraham Martinez, who called for the withdrawal of Bill 402. It was at this time there was an altercation between members who oppose the Fifth Chamber. The vote on whether or not to table the bill was eventually done, but in a confused manner, because there was an incident between members of the official (CD) and opposition (PRD and Panameñista) caucuses. There were insults, shouts and even slaps and shoves. (Prensa)
Editor's Comment: Did you follow that? What matters is that the President of the Supreme Court basically chewed out the National Assembly, and told them it was not their job to pass legislation that tries to tell the judiciary how to do their jobs. He said whatever the National Assembly ends up passing with regards to the Fifth Chamber, in the end that law would probably be challenged as to whether or not it is constitutional. So, that decision would be up to the Supreme Court anyway (and ironically, the Fifth Chamber would be deciding its own fate. So, basically, the National Assembly got the message and realized there’s no need for them to pass any law whatsoever regarding the Fifth Chamber. In response they decided to table the whole thing. There’s a meeting of the Executive Cabinet Council this afternoon, and the president issued a press release saying he would be appointing the judges who will sit on the Fifth Chamber. I expect that to happen today. Then, those appointments will go to the National Assembly for ratification.