My wife, whom we always seem to coordinate things together took it upon herself to run a few errands. I then get my cell ringing, and the background is like she’s in the middle of a war zone.
Indeed, the issues with the Mining workers and the government is reaching it’s apex. It is close to impossible to move a few blocks in certain area.
The future of the contract between the State and the Minera Panamá company, which took legal life through Law 406, continues to be increasingly uncertain.
Yesterday, in a majority and unexpected way, both official and opposition deputies – who are part of the Commerce commission –, while discussing project 1110 that seeks to establish a moratorium on metal mining, approved the introduction of an article to repeal it. the controversial mining contract.
The debate was going on normally, when suddenly the president of the Commerce commission, Roberto Ábrego, declared a recess.
During this recess and in a small room located next to the auditorium where the session was taking place, a closed-door meeting was held between the members of the Commerce commission, in which the deputy president of the National Assembly, Jaime, participated. Vargas, in addition to the pro-government deputies Raúl Pineda, Gonzalo González and Kayra Harding, who are not part of this legislative body.
After this meeting, all deputies, both government and opposition, reached a consensus to approve the repealing article of Law 406.
One of the deputies of the Commerce and Economic Affairs commission, after the meeting led by Jaime Vargas, reported that the repealing article of Law 406 was presented at the initiative of the official deputies of that instance, “the Executive Body did not want to,” he exclaimed.
Although initially the president of the commission, Roberto Ábrego, had stated that a law contract could not be repealed by another law, in a matter of minutes he changed his mind and gave his vote in favor of the new article that repeals Law 406.
The project approved in the first debate, in addition to proposing the repeal of Law 406, also prohibits the granting of new concessions for the exploitation of metal mining.
Popular consultation approved
At the same time, in the Blue Room of the Assembly, the Government, Justice and Constitutional Affairs commission was meeting, which also approved, in its first debate, project 1109 that calls for a popular consultation to adopt a decision on whether or not to terminate the mining concession contract.
The magistrates of the Electoral Tribunal (TE) attended this session. The presiding judge, Alfredo Juncá Wendehake, reiterated that the TE maintains its position that for a call of this type to be carried out, minimum conditions of security and mobilization must exist for citizens who come to vote.
Magistrates Eduardo Valdés Escoffery and Luis Guerra Morales indicated that the Electoral Court will comply with the legal and constitutional mandate if the National Assembly approves the popular consultation law and the Executive sanctions it.
The project was approved with five votes in favor and there were four votes against. The five votes in favor were from the PRD deputies Leandro Ávila, Roberto Ábrego and Raúl Pineda, in addition to Corina Cano; of the Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement, and Alaín Cedeño, who recently registered with the Realizing Goals (RM) party.
Representative Eugenio Bernal, from the PRD, voted against; Mayín Correa, from Cambio Democrático; Luis Ernesto Carles, from the Panameñista Party, and Edison Broce, from the independent bench.
Representative Mayín Correa said she did not understand what the intention of the pro-government deputies was to maintain the decision to endorse a popular consultation when the Commerce commission had already approved including an article to repeal the controversial mining contract.
While Deputy Broce assured that if both projects are approved in the third debate, he does not believe that the President of the Republic will sanction the one that repeals Law 406, but rather the one that calls for the popular consultation.
Once approved, both projects were returned to the legislative plenary session, which from today will be able to discuss them in a second debate in extraordinary sessions convened by the Executive Branch. Just yesterday the president of the Assembly closed the first legislature of the fifth regular period of sessions.
While both legislative bodies were in session, the Canadian company First Quantum Minerals Ltd., parent company of Minera Panamá, issued a statement informing that it contacted the Panamanian authorities to learn about the call for a popular consultation.
In the press release he noted that he took note of the unconstitutionality appeals filed against Law 406; six of them have already been admitted by the Supreme Court of Justice.
Just yesterday the Supreme Court of Justice admitted six other unconstitutionality lawsuits between last Monday and yesterday Tuesday filed against Law 406 of October 20, 2023.
“It is important to note that in accordance with the provisions of article No. 2564 of the Judicial Code for this type of processes, once the file is returned with the attorney’s opinion, an edict will be published for three days in a newspaper of national circulation, so that within ten business days the plaintiff and all persons interested in the case present their arguments in writing through a lawyer,” the CSJ reported in a statement.
Upon expiration of the previous term, the substantiating magistrate will examine all the documents that have been presented and will proceed to prepare a draft decision, which will be submitted to the consideration of the CSJ magistrates, who may present observations and considerations.
Yesterday afternoon it was learned that the Attorney General of the Nation, Javier Caraballo, described Law 406 of October 20, 2023, which adopts the contract between the State and Minera Panama as ‘unconstitutional’.
His observation requested by Judge Olmedo Arrocha, rapporteur of the unconstitutionality lawsuit filed by Martita Cornejo, was sent yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, to the Supreme Court of Justice.
Demonstrations against the mining contract continued this Tuesday for the tenth consecutive day both in the capital city and in other areas of the country. The Arraiján-La Chorrera highway was even completely blocked.