23/12/2012 - The plenary of the National Assembly today ratified José Ayú Prado as a new judge of the Supreme Court.
Thirty-nine deputies voted in favor, twelve against and there were no abstentions.
Legislators also approved Gabriel Fernández as the alternate justice and Luis Angel Jimenez Hernandez as a member of the Board of Directors of the Superintendency of Securities.
THE NEW ROLE
After being ratified, Ayú Prado recalled that his main work in the Public Ministry, where he started working in 1984, "was pursuing crime...according to the Constitution and the law."
He indicated that his role was not the fundamental decisions, but to present the best case to the courts.
However, Ayú Prado said that, henceforth, "it is my turn to now have a new role in the administration of justice."
Ayú Prado said, in addition, that he has been characterized as being attached to the current government.
"I am still operating under the rule of law, and I will continue obeying that rule," he said.
The vote began at noon on Sunday, as part of the extraordinary session. But notably absent from this procedure were members of Panameñista Party, who had objected to the appointment in the debate during the morning session.
MINORITY REPORT REJECTED
With four votes in favor, 27 against and eight abstentions, the National Assembly rejected today the minority report which had been submitted by the opposition Partido Panameñista against the appointment of José Ayú Prado as a new judge of the Supreme Court.
That report had been sustained by the deputies José Isabel Blandón, José Luis Varela and Jorge Alberto Rosas.
In his speech, Blandón said that this appointment was for the favors that Prado did for President Ricardo Martinelli.
Varela questioned why the legislature was in session on the Sunday prior to the Christmas holiday. According to Varela, the citizenship is currently focused on themselves and the preparations for the holiday and not what is happening in the Assembly. Rosas said that the government intentionally scheduled the debate for this weekend to avoid public participation.
The opposition Partido Revolucionario Democrático refrained from voting for minority report.
The plenary of the National Assembly began at 9:30 a.m. today to discuss the ratification of Ayú Prado to replace Aníbal Salas, whose term expires Dec. 31.
Ayú Prado said he will not comment until the Assembly votes on the matter.
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