Opposition ticket defends Vallarino
PANAMA:. Two of the recent top stories in Panama, the “Murcia-gate” and the case of mayoral candidate Bosco Vallarino’s double-national...
PANAMA:. Two of the recent top stories in Panama, the “Murcia-gate” and the case of mayoral candidate Bosco Vallarino’s double-nationality, recently merged into one, as Colombian businessman David Murcia was linked to electoral prosecutor Boris Barrios, set to rule on Vallarino’s case early next week.
The opposition ticket made up of Ricardo Martinelli and Juan Carlos Varela, ended its silence on Vallarino’s case after La Estrella published an article on Barrios, where the electoral prosecutor admitted that as a public notary, a role he pursued until joining the Electoral Tribunal in 2008, he notarized multiple limited companies belonging to the alleged Colombian scammer and money launderer.
Martinelli and Varela requested that Barrios be recused and judge Erasmo Pinilla removed from the case that will define whether Vallarino can run or not in the mayoral elections.
For the opposition ticket, which has been strategically quiet about the matter until now, the judges’ objectivity is in question.
Martinelli, Varela and Vallarino headed out together on Thursday to the Electoral Tribunal headquarters to defend the latter’s case.
“We don’t want to think that we are losing someone who has given so much to this country for something minor,” said Martinelli, referring to article 13 of Panama’s Constitution which impedes candidates like Vallarino, naturalized in other country, from running for office. Vallarino applied and received US citizenship in the 90s after fleeing Panama during Manuel Noriega’s dictatorship. According to US voting records, he also voted in the 1996 US presidential elections.
“Bosco is as Panamanian as the Ancon Hill ” said presidential candidate Martinelli, without remembering there are tunnels and bunkers built by the US army through and around the hill and whose name honors the first ship that crossed the US-built Canal.
The vice-presidential candidate, Juan Carlos Varela, spoke of political persecution, defending Bosco, a candidate he personally encouraged to run.
He also suspected Torrijos’ involvement in the case. “It is evident that there is pressure from President Torrijos on the electoral prosecutor.”
Meanwhile, the mayoral candidate, who had previously accused the electoral prosecutor of favoritism for questioning his candidacy yet not his PRD contender’s, Bobby Velazquez, whose campaign allegedly had ties with Murcia, is not standing still. Bosco linked Barrios’ role as Murcia’s notary with the reason behind his resolution to persecute Bosco but not Bobby.
The Electoral Tribunal will rule on Bosco’s candidacy next week. Stay tuned.