Martinellli has survived much bigger smear campaigns. He WILL be President barring shady business.
- By : James Bryson
- Category : Journalism, Legal, Politics
Has Varela served time? Has Porcell served time? Has Varela paid back monies received? Has Porcell done the same?
The former President of the Republic Ricardo Martinelli, who aspires to be the presidential candidate of his Realizando Metas (RM) party, facing the general elections on May 5, 2024, is currently facing judicial processes that could disqualify him, but there is the factor time that also plays in your favor.
Currently, Martinelli leads the presidential polls at the end of 2022, according to Gismo Services, with 30% of the intention to vote.
However, he faces the well-known high-profile cases “Odebrecht” and “New Business”, which could disqualify him, depending on legal times.
Regarding the Odebrecht case, accused of the crime of money laundering, it was submitted to a preliminary hearing for 12 days, after being called to trial, together with former president Juan Carlos Varela and former officials of the two governments.
The preliminary hearing that began on September 12 and ended on the 28th of the same month, in which the third liquidator judge of criminal cases of the Third Judicial Circuit of Panama, Baloísa Marquínez, after having heard the arguments of the lawyers of the defense and the opinions of prosecutor Ruth Morcillo, announced the summons to trial of former President Martinelli, whose trial date was set from August 1 to 18, 2023 and was established as an alternate date from September 27 to October 17, 2023 .
In the New Business case, the judge, Baloísa Marquínez M., through Order No. 23 of December 9, 2022, ordered the summons to trial of the former President of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli, for the alleged commission of the crime against economic order in the form of money laundering.
The main hearing date was set from April 17 to 28, 2023, and as an alternate date from May 23 to June 5, 2023, both hearings at 9:00 a.m. Likewise, a defender from the Defense Institute was appointed Public, in the event that the private technical defense of the former President of the Republic does not appear.
One of the requirements established by the current Electoral Code is that for a citizen to be able to run for the offices of President and Vice President of the Republic, they must not have been convicted of an intentional crime with a custodial sentence of 5 years or more, through enforceable judgment handed down by a court of justice”.
Will the legal times render, according to the dates set for the trials that Martinelli must face, which would prevent him from being a presidential candidate?
We consulted the lawyer Alfonso Fraguela, and he explained that the legal times are very forced to try to make everything happen before the dates on which the presidential candidate of each party will be chosen.
The Realizing Goals party set its presidential primaries for June 4, 2023, and former president Ricardo Martinelli will be the standard bearer of this political group.
Fraguela considers that the judicial processes that have advanced former president Martinelli, seek to disqualify him from the general elections of May 2024. “I see the legal times very forced.” He assures that if they prevent Martinelli from running for the presidency of the Republic, they would be violating his fundamental rights and guarantees that the Electoral Code contemplates regarding the Electoral Criminal Jurisdiction ”.
Article 305 of the Electoral Code establishes that criminal electoral jurisdiction is the right of presidents, vice-presidents, secretaries and general undersecretaries of legally constituted parties, candidates, electoral delegates, electoral bodies of political parties, members of corporations electoral officials, electoral officials and links to avoid being investigated, detainees arrested or prosecuted in criminal, police and administrative matters, provided that the latter involve the imposition of a custodial sentence, without the express and prior authorization of the electoral administrative courts except in the case of flagrante delicto.
In addition, it establishes in Article 306 that the criminal electoral jurisdiction will be valid for the presidents, vice presidents, secretaries and general undersecretaries of the legally constituted parties, in this case for the primary and general elections: from the date on which the campaign period begins electoral process corresponding to the electoral process of their respective political parties and until the last proclamation of the event is executed.
And for the elections of the national internal authorities: from the date on which the electoral campaign period corresponding to the electoral process of their respective political parties begins and until the last proclamation of the event is executed.
For political candidates, in primary elections: from the date on which the period for the electoral campaign of their party begins and until the day after the proclamation and, in general or partial elections: from the date on which the period begins for the electoral campaign and until the following of the execution of the proclamation.
But, what is the situation of former president Ricardo Martinelli in terms of criminal electoral jurisdiction?
The issue with the former president is that Judge Baloisa Marquínez requested the lifting of the criminal electoral jurisdiction that he enjoyed by the president of the Realizando Metas party, for both cases (New Bussines and Odebrecht), which the Electoral Tribunal accepted and with this firm case, Martinelli will have to face both processes, scheduled for 2023.
The political analyst, José Eugenio Stoute, pointed out that whether Ricardo Martinelli can run or not in the next electoral elections will depend on the speed with which the Judicial Branch acts before the trials already scheduled for 2023 and the speed with which it resolves the appeals. to those who take advantage of their lawyers, because obviously they will go before the Superior Court of Appeals and if they rule against they go to the Supreme Court of Justice, until the last resort is exhausted.
“He no longer enjoys criminal electoral jurisdiction, therefore, even if he were to become a presidential candidate for the RM party, his judicial processes continue their course and if he is convicted, he can continue in his political processes since there is no final sentence.” .
If he becomes elected president of the Republic, he will automatically obtain electoral criminal jurisdiction, however, he can continue to be prosecuted and in this case it will be up to him to be tried by the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, the General Directorate of Income (DGI), ordered an audit of the former president, in addition to the delivery of information on his income with their respective vouchers, among legal documents that include daily records and general ledger between 2018-2022, the contracts for services rendered and detail other income received.