20/12/2012 - The Credentials Committee of the National Assembly met today to discuss the ratification of Ana Belfon as the attorney general.
Belfon, who has worked in the Ministry of the Presidency as a presidential advisor, has been strongly criticized for her role as a prosecutor during the military dictatorship. Panameñista party legislators argued that Belfon should not be nominated until the post has been vacated. Current Attorney General José Ayú Prado will remain in office until Dec. 31.
The commission also intends to start two days of consultations for the ratification Prado as a Supreme Court justice, replacing Anibal Salas.
Follow a blog of everything that happens here at this session by using Prensa.com.
BLOG FROM THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
9:38 a.m. : Legislators Jose Blandon, Noriel Salerno and Francisco Alemán have reached the National Assembly.
9:45 a.m. : The plenary session begins. The Credentials Committee's enabling resolutions are read.
10 a.m. : Deputy Jose Luis Varela presents a proposal to return to first debate the bill which incorporates the National Secretariat for Food and Nutritional Security in the Ministry of Social Development. The plenary took a break.
10:20 a.m. : Plenary continues in recess while the Credentials Committee, gathered in the Blue Hall, takes queries from guests about the nomination of Prado as magistrate. PRD leader Balbina Herrera is there.
10:30 a.m. : Suntracs members arrive outside the National Assembly, with flags in hand, and shouting slogans against the designation of Prado and Belfon. Security officers close the main gate.
10:40 a.m. : The deputies of the Credentials Committee are coming to the Blue Hall, among them is Jose Blandon, Jose Luis Fábrega andLeandro Avila.
10:52 a.m. : Suntracs protests intensifies through slogans such as: "The ratifications of President Ricardo Martinelli are political to persecute trade unionists and opponents."
11 a.m. : The plenary session resumed. The official bench rejected the proposal to retun to first debate the project that incorporates the National Secretariat for Food and Nutritional Security to the Ministry of Social development. The President of the Assembly, Sergio Gálvez, opened the discussion of the second discussion of the draft.
11: 13 a.m. : Belfon arrives at the Credentials Committee. Belfon said: "I don't have to defend myself from anything, I have not committed any crime."
11:24 a.m. : Deputies have not logged in, but most of them have arrived, among them the Chairman of the Committee, Mario Miller, Secretary Francisco Alemán and Jose María Herrera.
11:30 a.m. : Mario Miller Committee Chairman, declared open the session for ratification of Ana Belfon.
11:44 a.m. : Opposition deputies called for a recess after warning that they may not ratify Ana Belfon as attorney general since Prado has not submitted a letter of resignation.
12 p.m. : Credentials Committee session resumes. Meanwhile, members of Suntracs remain outside the National Assembly. The body of security of the Assembly placed a padlock to the main gate as a preventive measure.
12:15 p.m.: Commission continues discussing the order of the day since opposition deputies emphasize the resignation of Prado has to be submitted to be able to continue with the ratification process of Ana Belfon. They warn of two procurators.
12:24 p.m. : Deputies took a break.
12:42 p.m. : The Commission has just returned to the discussion with a proposal by Deputy Jorge Rosas to be read article 161 of the Constitution that talks about the ratification.
12:58 p.m. : Deputy Hernan Delgado makes a legal analysis on the possible ratification of Ana Belfon.
1:10 p.m. : The Commission took another break, this time with a duration of 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the plenum continues with the second debate of the project that incorporates the National Secretariat for Food and Nutritional Security with the Ministry of Social Development.
1:23 p.m. : Suntracs members withdrew from the vicinity of the Assembly. The plenary took a longer break and the Commission remains on hiatus.
2:04 p.m. : Credentials Committee session resumes. The chairman of that Committee, Mario Miller, reported that despite the delaying tactics of the opposition, the decision to adopt the ratification of Belfon today has been taken.
2:26 p.m. : The Commission approves order of the day, with six votes in favor, two against and one abstention.
4: 26 p.m. : For the past two hours the committee has been in recess, the ratification of Ana Belfon has yet to be discussed.
4:30 p.m. : The Committee has resumed its session. Deputy Jorge Alberto Rosas requested a report on what time has been logged on and Deputy Francisco Alemán, Secretary of the Commission, replied 11:30 a.m. Deputy José Isabel Blandón angry after the four hour session, said it should have been finished since they were going to read a proposal for a permanent session. Deputy Mario Miller requested another recess.
4:36 p.m. : The project that incorporates the National Secretariat for Food and Nutritional Security to the Ministry of Social Development was approved in second debate in the plenary. The plenum closed today.
4:41 p.m. : President of the Assembly, Sergio Gálvez, said that the session should not end at 4 p.m., taking into account the lunch hour has not been fulfilled.
4:43 p.m. : Pro-Government deputies and opposition began shouting if the meeting should or should not be completed. Deputies José Blandón, Adolfo Valderrama and Jorge Rosas were removed from the microphone by Deputy Mario Miller. The session is interrupted. Members see the need to meet in a corner of the Blue Hall to avoid violence.
4:47 p.m. : Deputy Mario Miller reported that he concludes the session for today to give restart tomorrow at 8 a.m.
4:54 p.m. : Ana Belfon withdrew from the chamber after the failure to ratify her appointment as solicitor. Belfon reiterated her preference not to give statements out of respect to the process to the media.
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