24/12/2012 - Panameñista Deputy José Isabel Blandón said today that "we are starting 2013 with great concerns for the future of democracy in Panama and the administration of justice" after the National Assembly approved Ana Belfon as attorney general and José Ayú Prado as Supreme Court justice this past weekend.
According to Blandón, the appointment of Ayú Prado was "compensation for services rendered" for him faiing to pursue corruption investigations as the attorney general. He said that the appointment was proof that President Ricardo Martinelli made empty promises to the people when he promised to stop corruption.
For Aurelio Barría, the ratifications are the prelude of what will happen in 2013 and the early months of 2014 before the general election.
He said the appointment of Belfon raises the specter of the military dictatorship, during which time she served as a prosecutor who went after opponents of the government.
Barría said that Beflon owes "favors" to members of the current government, which was why she was designated as the attorney general.
Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD) Legislator Juan Carlos Arosemena also criticized the way Ayú Prado and Belfon were ratified.
Arosemena said that, in these cases, their resumes were not the problem. Instead, he said that there was little time for public consultations and little transparency in the process.
Molirena Legislator Jorge Alberto Rosas, who caucuses with the opposition, reported that labor leaders have already said they will challenge the ratification of Belfon.
Roses said Belfon was ratified by the Assembly before Ayú Prado had resigned, which is a violation of the law.
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