The Constitutional defense interposed by Ricardo Martinelli's attorney, Leonardo Paul Aparicio, representing another client, was rejected by a magistrate sitting in Panama's Supreme Court of Justice, who declined to refer the matter to the full Court for consideration, and Martinelli's case has now moved much closer to the entry of an order requesting the United States to extradite the former president.
Paul had argued that, due to his status as an eleventh-hour appointment as a member of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), he was immune from any legal proceeding, but the magistrate Judge hearing the case found that Martinelli's position was legally flawed. The fact that his Parlacen appointment appeared to be improper, and probably defective, most likely was a contributing factor.
The specific case, one of a dozen pending against Martinelli, and others involved the illegal diversion of delinquent taxes, collected from Panamanians, but never paid into the National Treasury. Martinelli reportedly was one of the recipients of the stolen tax money; the charge is Crimes Against Public Administration.
Martinelli's attorney has sought to combat the numerous cases pending against him, through what most legal observers see as strictly dilatory tactics, throwing up procedural, rather than substantive, defenses. The mass of clear and convincing evidence against Martinelli most likely has caused his attorney to scrupulously avoid any mention of the merits of the cases, for any such discussion claiming a lack of factual basis for the charges would open the door to the public introduction of extremely damaging information, which might further infuriate an already angry Panamanian public.
|Leonardo Paul Aparicio|
Will the Panamanian street get their wish, and will the individual now considered to be the absolutely most corrupt president Panama has ever had, sit in Panama City courtroom, to face his accusers ? We cannot say, but the world is watching.