Maytin to  report on her travel expenses

The director of the National Authority of Transparency and Access to Information, Angélica Maytín, must appear before the National Assembly, to render a report on her travel expenses.

The summons comes days after Maytin asked the president of the Assembly, Yanibel Ábrego , to create an accidental commission to investigate alleged cases of nepotism in which some deputies would have incurred through the 080 form.

Creating an accidental commission to investigate cases of alleged nepotism in which several deputies would have incurred is not in the plans of the National Assembly.

In the Legislature, they consider that there is already an instance that is responsible for ensuring possible failures of legislators: the Credentials Committee, chaired by the deputy of Cambio Democrático (CD) Sergio Chello Gálvez , which also investigates the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice, among others.

For the president of that State body, Yanibel Ábrego, article 50, numeral 12 of the Internal Rules of the Assembly, is clear. This establishes that among the functions of the commission are: "Study and issue a concept about complaints that arise about violations of the Code of Ethics and other conducts ...".

The issue arises after Angélica Maytín, director of the Transparency and Access to Information Authority (Antai) , sent a letter to Ábrego asking her to create a commission to investigate possible cases of nepotism through the 080 form, which contains the trusted staff of the deputies. Maytin mentioned the case of CD deputy Marylín Vallarino, who has two daughters as "advisors". We must also remember that her substitute is her husband Agustín Sellhorn.

There is also the case of the PRD Rosa Canto , who hires her sister Isabel Canto, and two children. Another one that is in similar circumstances is the Panamericanist Adolfo Beby Valderrama, who has a nephew and his mother-in-law on his payroll.

The decision of the Assembly not to create such a commission, in the opinion of leaders of organized civil society, seeks that nothing be investigated and leave everything in the hands of the deputies. Carlos Lee, from the Citizen Alliance for Justice, considers that the Uniform Code of Ethics of Public Servants is clear and regulates the ethical conduct that all officials must observe. Remember that Article 41 of that rule establishes that state servants must refrain from naming their relatives up to the third degree of consanguinity or second degree of affinity, including the spouse.

He warns that although the Assembly has its own rules, it must apply the Uniform Code. "The Credentials Commission will analyze the situation of the appointment of relatives and conclude that if the code prohibits it," he added. While Gabriel Tribaldos , of the Independent Movement, considers that with this position the National Assembly move away from democratic principles such as transparency and accountability.

Olga de Obaldía , executive director of the Foundation for the Development of Citizen Liberty, Panamanian chapter of Transparency International, recalled that one year and seven months ago, President Abrego said that she was going to appoint a commission to investigate what happened with the forms, and that  the citizenship is waiting for those results.

Yesterday, the Assembly plenary summoned Maytin to answer a questionnaire of 11 questions. It includes questions such as: how many employees did you find working in the institution, how many have you fired and how many have been appointed by you? What is the budget of the Antai for travel expenses abroad? How many trips have you made abroad? They asked her to give the detail of the fees charged in travel expenses,  how many investigations has the Antai made to the ministerial forms? and are you aware that the Assembly has published the 080 form on its website?