Judge Baloisa Marquínez
The New Business case, in which the purchase of Editora Panamá América, S.A. is being investigated. (Epasa) with allegedly public funds, took an important step in court on, Tuesday, May 23, the first day of the trial of held of 21 defendants for the alleged money laundering.
Former President Ricardo Martinelli, the main shareholder of Epasa. And David Ochy did not appear. They followed the process through a virtual format.
Judge Baloisa Marquínez, in the absence of Martinelli, revealed that Luis Eduardo Camacho González, Martinelli's main defender, has covid-19, for which he presented a medical certificate of disability. Marquínez asked Ricardo Massa, from the public defense, to assume the representation of the ex-governor.
It was revealed that the former president also presented a medical disability. Last week, when there were only six days left for the trial, his spokesman Luis Eduardo Camacho Castro was in charge of disclosing a photograph in which the ex-governor is in a hospital bed. He said his boss had undergone spinal surgery for the third time.
After Massa was presented as Martinelli's public defender, the lawyer Oliver Quiel Miranda appeared, who said he had a power of attorney that accredits him as Martinelli's substitute lawyer.
Quiel filed a request for estoppel against the judge (due to the sentimental relationship they had 17 years ago), announced a reconsideration appeal, requested that the trial be rescheduled, presented a medical certificate of disability and a report from the internist Julio Sandoval and asked for a 15-minute break to go to the bathroom.
All requests were rejected by the judge. Regarding the request to reschedule the trial, she recalled that article 2268 of the Judicial Code prevents suspending the trial dates when they have already been postponed once. In this case, the New Business trial was held on an alternate date.
Regarding the medical condition of the former president, on May 17, 2023, a report signed by Julio Sandoval was provided, where it is confirmed that he is in the recovery phase from back surgery. Sandoval reported that Martinelli must undergo rehabilitation therapy for 60 days.
Once again, Marquínez dismissed the petition, explaining that the illness alleged by Martinelli is not a sudden ailment and that the hearing date was set months in advance.
It is not the first time that Martinelli has had back surgery on the eve of a trial: he did it with the puncture case two years ago. That case was also in the court of Marquínez, who on that occasion did not want to postpone anything either and, when Martinelli found out about it, he appeared in the courtroom with the help of a walker.
The whole country witnessed the Quiel performance since the act was broadcast live by the Judicial Branch on its YouTube channel.
Shortly after, Quiel was replaced by lawyers Carlos Carrillo and Alfredo Vallarino, from the legal team that usually defends Martinelli.