Bufete De Sanctis - a local law firm - filed a lawsuit on Thursday, June 11, against Executive Decree No. 490 of March 17, 2020 of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) and its subsequent modifications, which order a curfew in Panama from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am, suspending fundamental rights such as freedom of transit and assembly.
This lawsuit has been filed with the sole purpose of preserving the Rule of Law of the Republic of Panama, as quoting UNDP, "Covid-19 is much more than a health crisis". Covid-19 disease has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises, which will leave deep scars, said Giulia De Santics from the law firm Bufete De Sanctis.
She warns that the authorities, in ordering the curfew, "one of the most severe in Latin America", completely ignored the procedure established in the Constitution for these cases, "and it was decided that constitutional rights could be lifted indefinitely and without the control of the Legislative Assembly.”
The Cabinet Council ordered the "state of national emergency" on March 13, based on Law 22 of 2006 on public contracts, and not on article 55 of the Constitution, which allows the declaration of the "state of emergency", in case of war or “internal disturbance that threatens peace and public order.”
“It is worrying that Executive Decree 490 does not use Article 55 of the Political Constitution as a basis of law, which, we reiterate, is the only one that allows the limitation of fundamental guarantees, which also contain all the human rights included in the conventions that on the matter, Panama is a party, ”states the text of the unconstitutionality claim.
This is not the only action against Executive Decree 490.
Two weeks ago, lawyers Jaime and Raúl Molina filed a legal protection of fundamental rights against the same subject, alleging that it violates nine articles of the Constitution, related to fundamental rights, such as free movement, the right to be judged by a competent authority, the freedom of assembly and the free exercise of professions and trades, among others.
This protection was assigned to magistrate Luis Ramón Fábrega.