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Maribel Coco, Temporary Ombudsman of the Human Rights Network, Denounced Over Claims of Plagiarism

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Human rights  body wants Ombusman fired and  charged


Maribel Coco

Posted 03/03/2020

Organizations belonging to Panama’s Human Rights Network of Panama demanded, on Monday, March 2, that the acting  manager  of the  Ombudsman’s Office  Maribel Coco be investigated and separated from office, for her  attack on the institutionalization of human rights in the country. "

The network, made up of 19 human rights organizations, said  in a statement that a few months ago denounced the danger that loomed over the Ombudsman's Office and the intentions of making the only institutional mechanism for the protection of the rights of the people, a political management niche and return to the practice of making it a “job bank” for supporters followers without preparation for the job.

Coco assumed the position in October 2019, after the National Assembly dismissed Alfredo Castillero Hoyos, in the middle for alleged labor and sexual harassment in the entity.

At that time the Network denounced the pressures for the resignation of defender Alfredo Castillero and emphasized that the Ombudsman is not from any political party, from any Government but from the People and the human rights defenders of the country.

It  regretted that currently the institution has fallen into "the clutches of clientelism and the play of interests, weakening its work in defense and promotion of human rights in Panama."

The statement notes Coco's interview in the Knockout, published in La Prensa , on Sunday, March 1, which “reveals not only political patronage and influence peddling as a valid method of its management, but also evidence of negligence in the exercise of a public function. We know that influence peddling is a crime stipulated in article 354 of the Criminal Code, which tells us about penalties of 4 to 6 years and is a serious offense in the Code of Ethics of the public servant ”.

In the interview, the defender admitted that the daughter of former Labor Minister Alma Cortés, and the sister of the PRD deputy, Zulay Rodríguez, had been named in the institution because “Alma” has been “her friend” for more than 30 years. she also revealed that she hired Vielka Valentine, who was sentenced in 2015 to 40 months in jail for document forgery and server corruption because ahe received her resume  but, didn't know about her accounts with justice until then. “I can't dismiss her. She wants to finish her quota to retire ... ”, he said.

She e also admitted to attending former president Ricardo Martinelli in his car. He went to visit her but did not enter the office, but she went to his car. She also thinks that the former president, who was found not guilty in a process in which he was accused of political espionage had his rights violated when he was imprisoned awaiting trial.

The official also admitted that her son works on the bench of the official Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), a group that she resigned 15 days before taking office. Her husband, according to what she replied, has been a doctor in the Legislative Body for 12 years. She reiterated her  30-year friendship with the deputy and president of the PRD, Benicio Robinson.

The Network calls on Public Prosecutor to investigate Coco for influence peddling an offense typified in the Criminal Code and the Code of Ethics for public servants.



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Ombudsman summoned by Administration Attorney General


Rigoberto González

Posted 04/03/2020

Maribel Coco the acting ombudsman has been called into the office of Rigoberto González the Administration Attorney General to report on some issues addressed in an interview she gave to the Knockout feature of La Prensa newspaper on March 1 in which she flaunted her political connections while serving in an a-political post.

2coco.jpgThe interview sparked public outrage and demands from Panama's Human Rights Network that Coco be separated and investigated

She responded “Society deserves that I continue”

"There are many things that give rise to the questions that are  being raised by  sectors of public opinion ...", said Gonzalez


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Temp ombudsman loses plagiarism  case


Maribel Coco

Posted 07/03/2020

Panama;s stand-in Ombudsman, Maribel Coco who  has been belabored  by civil rights groups  in the last week after she boasted of political connections and dealing with former President Martinelli in his car rather than her office  in a La Prensa interview  took another hit on Friday Mar 6  when the Supreme Court  rejected a lawsuit  against the University  of the Americas (Udelas)

The magistrates of the Third Administrative Contentious Chamber did not admit the lawsuit she  filed by  against a resolution of the University to  dismiss her as a teacher, after being accused of "plagiarism."

According to the magistrates, the appeal filed by the defense attorney "does not meet the procedural requirements to occur in this court." 

“The plaintiff is required to make a logical, coherent and more or less detailed explanation about the way in which the act, rule or resolution accused of illegal violated the content of the legal precept,” indicate the ruling that bears the signature of the magistrates Carlos Alberto Vásquez and Cecilio Cedalise.

According to the magistrates, the appeal filed by the defense attorney in charge "does not meet the procedural requirements to occur in this court."

Before making the decision, the magistrates asked the opinion of the Attorney General of the Administration,  Rigoberto González who said that Coco did not explain in a “clear way” the rules that would violate the resolution. He did not provide a certified copy "of the accused act, with due proof of its publication, notification or execution," he said.

A week ago, in a La PrensaKnockout column” , Coco said she would win the lawsuit

Coco's trail
Last October, Coco filed the lawsuit against a May 20, 2019 resolution of the Udelas, which confirmed her dismissal from the teaching position for plagiarism.

She  filed the lawsuit after she exhausted all the legal channels to which she had a choice within the university, including a reconsideration appeal, which was rejected.

Maribel Coco was appointed to the Ombudsman’s office post by the ex-defense of the People, Alfredo Castillero (2016-2021), in September 2019 in the middle of a process in  National Assembly for alleged sexual harassment in the institution. Castillero made the appointment after the departure of Elsa Fernández, who was appointed to the Transparency and Access to Information Authority. 

When Castillero was removed by the plenary of the National Assembly Coco remained in charge until the Assembly designates a replacement.

According to the dismissal resolution, Coco's conduct was “contrary to the ethical principles of the teaching staff”, established in the Udelas Code of Ethics.

His separation as a teacher from that house of studies originated after the University Electoral Council of Udelas ordered, in July 2018, an investigation into the documents and works presented by Coco, as part of the necessary requirements for her postulation to the post of rector of the university.

Once they gave the green light for the investigations, the Udelas Integrated Library System Management proceeded to analyze Coco's research work with software called Ithenticate Professional Plagiarism Prevention. The research work was completed and they presented the report. They determined that "there were abundant texts without quotes" in Coco's work.

After the removal of Alfredo Castillero Hoyos, last October, as Ombudsman, Coco assumed the role pending the appointment of a holder to complete the mandate of Castillero Hoyos, in 2021.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Maribel Coco, Temporary Ombudsman of the Human Rights Network, Denounced Over Claims of Plagiarism

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