Judge’s threats to critics could be seen as censorship

Annette Planells

Judge Leslie Loaiza’s threat to sue those who criticize his decisions can be interpreted as censorship said, Annette Planells, of the Independent Movement (Movin), In her Kienyke.com account on Sunday.

Planells pointed out the need for the Court of Integrity and Transparency -contemplated in Law 44 of the judicial career investigating judges and judging – to be put into operation.

The absence of this court creates “a huge vacuum, which makes it impossible to investigate it impossible to investigate this and many other cases in the Judicial Branch.”

Planells says that justice cannot remain the last priority of politicians and warned that the accumulated frustration in civil society resulting from impunity in cases of corruption, “is dragging us into a kind of collective depression. This situation can lead us and has led us in the past, to make bad electoral decisions, perpetuating the vicious circle of corruption.

Following Loaiza threats directed at media, La Prensa, on Monday, December  3,  published a thumbnail review of the gentle approach  taken  by the judge when dealing with high profile corruption suspects

On November 26, 2013 , acting as second municipal criminal judge, Leslie Loaiza issued a definitive dismissal to workers of the company Transcaribe Trading (TCT), accused of the blockade made to the newspapers La Prensa and Mi Diario in August 2012.

Loaiza’s decision was overturned by the Court of Appeals, which forced him to hold a preliminary hearing, which took place on July 29, 2014.

Subsequently, on August 27, 2014, Loaiza ordered the definitive file of the process and within a few weeks he was promoted to fifteenth criminal judge when Judge José Ayú Prado served as president of the Supreme Court

The court that Loaiza presides over is assigned the majority of the processes related to affectations to the patrimony of the extinct Program of National Aid (PAN) during the government of Ricardo Martinelli.

He has high profile cases such as the purchase of grains, school backpacks  dehydrated food for $44.5 million; the rental of helicopters; the extension of the Arraiján-La Chorrera highway; that of alleged anomalies in the Piso y Techo program; and even the case followed the former head of the PAN Rafael Guardia Jaen for embezzlement against that entity.

His first decisions as a criminal judge in high profile proceedings, between January and April 2015,  did not provoke further controversy. For example, he denied accumulating the processes followed by Guardia Jaén, and also rejected an incident of controversy against businessman Mario Martinelli – brother of former President Ricardo Martinelli– in the case of grains.

But his decisions began to generate controversy in  2016 when he began to grant bail and to change precautionary measures.

In fact, with a bail of release, he benefited Mario Martinelli in the case of grains. Also, to the ex-Ministers

of Public Works Federico Suárez and Jaime Ford, in the investigation of overpricing in the widening of the highway Arraiján – La Chorrera.

In addition, he freed Loraine Brigitte Guardia Juarez and Jonathan Ryan Guardia Andrión

children of Guardia Jaén – accused of the alleged money laundering for goods and money that they allegedly received from the PAN.

After his recent ruling, in which he partially annulled the case of helicopter overflights with PAN funds, Loaiza threatened to sue those who criticize his decisions.