EspañolOn Thursday, May 7, the Credentials Committee of the Panamanian National Assembly has voted to move forward with an investigation against Supreme Court judge Victor Benavides, accused of alleged acts of pederasty and corruption.
Only one of the nine members of the Committee, Congressman Mario Miller, voted against the measure. Miller maintains the complaint against Benavides has no “legal foundation,” and that the person making the accusations is “a criminal.”
“[That person] has no moral nor spiritual standing to denounce [Benavides],” Miller said.
With regard to the pederasty charge, Miller claims the alleged victims are not underage and that a direct accusation from them is needed for an investigation.
The allegations against Benavides were made public on April 22, when Vicente Caballero Zamorano, the magistrate’s former head of security, accused Benavides in a letter.
Caballero is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence for kidnapping and theft.
Now that the Committee has admitted the complaint, the president of the Assembly, Adolfo Valderrama, and the rest of the Congress will designate a prosecutor to take charge of the process.
According to Credentials Committee Chairman Luis Barría, the president of the National Assembly can still summon a judicial session even though the Congress is in recess. “The law is clear, the Assembly, by its own right, can do it,” said the representative.
Barría added that the Credentials Committee will convene next week to assign three representatives to serve as guarantors of the legal process. The Panamanian Penal System establishes a timeline of two months for prosecutors to complete their investigation.