Justice Minister on leave of absence
Delgado Diamante was accused by the daily La Prensa of murdering an NCO, Andres Garcia 38 years ago. Torrijos announced that Delgado Dia...
Delgado Diamante was accused by the daily La Prensa of murdering an NCO, Andres Garcia 38 years ago. Torrijos announced that Delgado Diamante was going to be replaced by the Security Deputy Minister, Rodrigo Cigarruista until further notice.
Delgado Diamante insisted that he has not resigned and that he was merely leaving his post until the situation can be clarified.
Last Monday the Citizens Democratic Network asked for the head of Delgado Diamante in view of the murder accusations.
Torrijos allowed Delgado Diamante to present himself before the Attorney General`s Office while still holding his post as Minister, to give copies of the documents that proved that the the Garcia murder was investigated by the authorities in 1970.
The former Minister of Government and Justice was accompanied by his lawyers Carlos Carrillo and Silvio Guerra, his ministry advisor, Danilo Toro and members of the National Police.
During the next month Delgado Diamante will use all the necessary legal tools to clear his name once and for all.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General, Ana Matilde Gomez will interrogate the witnesses, who could confirm that Delgado Diamante took part in the assassination of Garcia.
However, in order for the case to progress, she needs the witnesses to come forward to give testimony of the facts.
The main obstacle the Attorney General has, is that there are not files of the Garcia case in the archives, because files in the Judicial Organ only go back as far as 1991, according to the Second Judicial Tribunal.
Gomez will have to look for files of the Garcia case in the National Archives and if she does not find them the case file will have to be reopened again.
Adriano Varela, first cousin of corporal García remembering the day of the incident, said that he was devastated when saw the body of his Andres covered in blood and the house surrounded by policemen.
He added that on February 8 1970 his cousin had a fight with his wife and while he was drunk he went to the garrison of Tigres de Panama Viejo to try to sleep, because he was not on duty.
A few minutes later, the widow arrive to the garrison to complain about Garcia’s conduct.
Delgado Diamante, who was a lieutenant at the time ordered a beating, but the drunken Garcia left the garrison.
Delgado Diamante told his juniors that he would take matters into his own hands.
He went looking for him, found him at his own house, kicked the door and shot him, said Varela.
The now suspended Minister of Government and Justice, said after he left the Public Ministry that he is now facing an infamy, the product of the daily La Prensa and its smearing campaign.
Delgado Diamante said that he will take legal action against the newspaper.
Over the last four months, Delgado Diamante has been a figure of controversy, due to his endorsement of the security decree laws, that many civil group consider that they are given too much power to the National Police, which could bring back a force similar to the former Panamanian Armed Forces and the military regime.
Torrijos’ government is onshaky ground over the Delgado Diamante scandal and he and his party could lose credibility, if he ignores public opinion and decides to suspend the investigation over the Garcia’s case.
The only person who can dispel the mystery now is the Attorney General Ana Matilde Gomez.
She will need to decide if the former military man is telling the truth.