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Health Ministry Counselor Eyra Ruiz Is the Untouchable “Do As I Say Not As I Do” Counselor

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Ministra consejera Eyra Ruiz acudió a funeral, pero asegura que se cumplieron las medidas sanitarias

Redacción de La Prensa
01 sep 2020 - 08:16 AM


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“Do as I say not as I Do”  -- Health Ministry  Leader


Erring health official Ruiz

Posted 01/09/2020

Minister of Health Counselor  Eyra Ruiz, who has been declaiming that “no one is above the law” is the latest official of the current government to flout the sanitary regulations imposed to face the coronavirus.

She participated on Monday, August 31 in a massive funeral of a leader of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), in the church of Santa Ana.

Videos on social networks show dozens of people outside the church, some with flags of the ruling group, while the music of some mariachis played. The PRD flag was even placed over the coffin of the deceased, who was shot dead last week in an incident on the South Corridor.

A large number of people, of both genders, were appreciated in the church, reports La Prensa although as it was Monday, only women could attend the funeral. It is unknown if all those men present in the church had a safe-conduct. The two-meter distancing  rule  was also  not respected

Before going to the funeral, the minister counselor had offered an interview on Telemetro, in which she assured that the law would apply to everyone equally, and that "anarchies" could not be allowed.

Ruiz reacted on  Tuesday, September 1 with a statement, in which he says that he will face any investigation that is carried out.

In her note, she says that she only went to church to offer his condolences and that within the church the provisions of physical distancing and the rules established by the Ministry of Health (Minsa) were complied with.

“I waited inside the church for the coffin to come out, and then I left. I did not participate in any other related activity ”.

Earlier during the pandemic,  mourners at a funeral for a COVID-19 victim have turned away because there were more than six.

In recent weeks, authorities and officials have been involved in numerous non-compliance issues with current regulations to prevent the spread of the virus.

Ruiz was already linked to a meeting that was sanctioned by the Minsa: that of the leadership and the PRD bench, at Jimmy's barbecue, last June. Ruiz, as one of the vice-presidents of the CEN of the PRD, signed the resolution of the party that called the meeting, although - as far as it is known - she did not attend it personally. (The Minister of Labor, Doris Zapata, who is also part of CEN, did). The Minsa sanctioned the PRD and Jimmy's with a fine of $50,000 apiece. It is unknown if the fines have been paid.

Currently, a party at the La Fragata restaurant bar, in Obarrio, on the night of August 26, in full curfew, and the stay of the mayor of Colón, Alex Lee, in a residence in the Decameron, in the beaches of Río Hato is in the spotlight of the Health Ministry.

Before going to the funeral, Ruiz had anticipated that those who participated in a party at La Fragata Restaurant, including several public servants and those who protested outside would be punished. An official of the Presidency of the Republic even filed a criminal complaint against Mauricio Valenzuela, from the site Foco Panamá, for making a live broadcast from La Fragata.

The Minsa has instructed the regional directorates of Coclé and Colón to investigate whether Mayor Lee breached any rule when he was in the beach house during total quarantine..



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Panama’s two-headed quarantine coin draws outrage


Eyra Ruiz

Posted 02/09/2020

A day after she appeared on television threatening to fine those who protested in front of La Fragata, a restaurant where a group of officials gathered last Wednesday, the Minister of Health Counselor  Eyra Ruiz , attended a funeral in Santa Ana, a   gathering that defied at least five decrees relatingt to the Covid-19 quarantine.

Citizen unrest is based on the fact that while the majority have nuried   their deceased relatives, through Zoom, militants of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) challenged the health provisions to say goodbye to their partner Wendy Rodríguez, who was murdered. in the South Corridor last Thursday.

Neither the National Police nor the Justice of the Peace nor the Ministry of Health (Minsa) acted, despite the fact that the act brought together dozens of men on a day when only women were supposed to go out. Nor was the social distance decreed to avoid contagions taken into account.

 In addition, the guide for the handling of corpses in times of Covid-19 was ignored: while the curfew lasts, in the celebration of funeral services, only the attendance of a maximum of five people is authorized.

The rule that prevents gatherings of more than 10 people was violated and the provision that prevents local artists from working was ignored: the funeral featured mariachis.

Harassed by questions on social networks, Ruiz issued a statement, in which she claimed that she went to the church of Santa Ana to offer condolences to the mother of her partner and that the church complied with what was established by the Minsa: take temperature, shoe disinfection, alcohol on the hands and masks. "By regulations of the Minsa, churches can open their doors to parishioners complying with only housing 25% of their capacity (...)", she said, adding that she is willing to submit to any investigation.

But her explanation did not convince. The phrase #EyraRuizRenuncia became a trend on Twitter reports La Prensa.

They question her indifference to the crowd outside the church, despite the fact that last Sunday - referring to the incident in La Fragata - she said in the Telemetro Open Debate program, in an authoritarian tone: "Here the law is you have to deliver, no matter who is gathered and where. The Minister of Health [Luis Francisco Sucre] has been emphatic in saying that he will do the investigations until the last thing is reached and that everyone pays according to the law. But not only those who were inside that restaurant [...] also those who were outside because here we cannot allow anarchies ”.

s“Out of respect for citizenship, she must resign. If she had a minimum of respect, she would not have participated in an event that she knows violates what is established. Many of us have not buried our relatives, ”wrote the architect José Isturaín on Twitter.

“Do you know all the times that my mother tells me that my grandmother did not have a goodbye that she deserved? Tears come out in seconds ... why could your family have a funeral? 2000 people have already died from Covid, I wonder how many could have had a funeral like this (...) ", Olguita Reyna published on the social network.

Ruiz wasn't the only high-profile figure to attend the funeral. Deputies Crispiano Adames and Zulay Rodríguez, among others, were also present at the event.

The scandalous funeral of the PRD is yet another of the events in which officials are linked with the violation of the quarantine decrees saya La Prensa. For example, last weekend, the mayor of Colón, Alex Lee, challenged at least four sanitary fences (Colón, Panamá, Panamá Oeste and Coclé) to move to a beach house in El Decameron, Río Hato, Coclé, together with his family.

So far, there is no firm investigation against this official. His partner Iracema Dale, governor of Colón, who by law is responsible for opening an administrative process, said that she understands that the sanitary fences "were suspended in that area."

Meanwhile, President Laurentino Cortizo said that this was an issue that is the responsibility of the Minsa, but the minister of the sector assured the media that there were no longer sanitary fences. “What we have are guard posts. Even so, we have asked the director of the Colón region, and that of Coclé, to carry out the pertinent research ”.

What the minister said contradicts the decree # 183 of August 25, which warns that the sanitary fences will be "lifted" from September 14. In fact, several people who traveled last weekend to areas near the beaches were asked for a safe conduct to be able to transit.

The Minsa is also investigating at least seven officials who gathered last at the La Fragata restaurant bar.

The event took place just days after a party was detected at the home of Pedro Ortiz in Dorado Lakes, (Saturday, August 15), who even used an official vehicle to transport people who participated in the gathering. Ortiz was forced to resign as an advisor to the Cleaning Authority amid public outrage.

August began with another controversy related to the violation of lovkdown: on Saturday the 1st the mayor of Panama was discovered on Coronado beach, an area that is forbidden to visit. Although he apologized, the Minsa fined him $5,000.

The first event of this nature to be made public was the meeting held by the leadership of the PRD, together with its bench of deputies, at Jimmy's Grill, on the evening  of June 18. The issue made more noise because the call was made by two officials responsible for the strategy against the pandemic: Rosario Turner, at that time Minister of Health; and Eyra Ruiz,. The Minister of Labor, Doris Zapata, also participated in the event. The three officials belong to the PRD leadership. Although the restaurant and the PRD were fined $50,000, nothing happened with the officials.

The citizens?
The treatment given by the authorities to PRD personnel is the opposite to that given to citizens for less relevant events  reports La Prensa

On Saturday, August 29, the Institutional Protection Service detained a woman who was walking with her brother with Down syndrome on the Cinta Costera.. Days before, they detained a group of cyclists who were traveling on the road to circulate at hours that did not correspond to them.

They have also arrested men and women who walked dogs on forbidden days, and there are multiple similar cases.

“I sell flags of the PRD. Includes permission from the Minsa for: agglomerations at funerals trips to the Decameron, dinners in restaurants, parties and 'guarachas' at homes. The only requirement is to like all the tweets of the minister and those of 'Mr.' President ”, tweeted Cristian Ábrego, from the group  Citizen Conscience  group

Will there be punishment for the massive funeral of the PRD leader? La Prensa contacted the Minsa to find out if any investigation is being carried out and they did not respond.

The National Police were also asked  and they responded that "the Minsa are the competent authorities."

However, on August 14, at a funeral in Pacora that gathered dozens of people, the Police acted immediately and the Minsa immediately announced that it would impose sanctions on those responsible.



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Future of rule violating  counselor rests with president


Ruiz at the funeral that flouted the rules

Posted 03/09/2020

The future of Health Minister-Counselor Eyra Ruiz who attended a funeral with scores of people when the limit of mourners in the midst of the pandemic is five will depend on a report from the Metropolitan Regional Health Directorate to President Cortizo.

“Always when something like this happens I check what resolution was violated or what decrees were violated? And that is very important, ”he said.

On August 31, Ruiz participated in a funeral of a murdered leader of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party, in the church of Santa Ana. Videos were circulated on social networks in which dozens of people were observed outside the church, some with flags of the governing party

The news sparked harsh criticism for non-compliance with the health regulations established for Covid-19 especially as  Ruiz had promised strong action against violators.

She says that she only went to church to offer her condolences and physical distancing and the rules established by the Ministry of Health were complied with.

“I waited inside the church for the coffin to come out, and then I left. I did not participate in any other related activity ”.

The funeral that violated the measures imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the participation of Ruíz, were the turning points to unleash public annoyance in a story that, according to many, pieces of evidence: "privileges", "weakness" and "hollow threats in the  Cortizo administration reports TVN.

Images of Ruiz spread on social networks and criticisms erupted. The Eyra Renuncia tag became a trend.

.” The comments reflected the feelings of a citizenry that felt mocked by the authorities who appear daily asking Panamanians to respect the measures to combat the pandemic that has left more than 2000  dead in Panama, “ said TVN.

“ Thousands of people have had to bury their relatives in solitude, with a very harsh restriction of only five close family members being able to attend. The fact that the minister counselor participated in the funeral in Santa Ana, where there was no distancing, prevention measures and even crowding inside and outside the church, demonstrates the difference in the application of the law between the governors and the governed, ” said Annette Planells of the Independent Movement (Movin).

Dr. Ruíz, who assumed  a greater role after Rosario Turner's departure from the Ministry of Health

already has a complaint against her for violation of restriction measures for allegedly participating in a meeting of the PRD bench at Jimmy's barbecue.

Ruiz was appointed to the Health Advisory Council whose function is to advise the administration on the fight against the pandemic and the opening of the economy.

For lawyer Ernesto Cedeño, the minister counselor is " ethically incorrect ". “ With her silence, she endorsed the mass funeral that was taking place (…) She ignored the violation of regulations by all present said Cedeño.

He also questioned the Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre, for not explaining the actions of Ruiz and for the case of the mayor of Colón, Alex Lee.

" He did not want to confront the public through journalists, because they know that, instead of giving, good examples, some authorities are not doing it ," he said.

Cortizo’s slide
Amid these two recent scandals, President Cortizo has remained aloof. In the case of the

Mayor of Colón, he passed the buck to the Health Ministry while, prevaricating over Ruiz.

According to Planells, Cortizo spoke of the consequences for officials who violate quarantine regulations and that they must be applied to everyone equally, without privilege.

Political scientist Richard Morales calls the warnings made by President Cortizo. “ Hollow and empty threats.".Morales said that Ruiz should resign and if she does not Cortizo should dismiss her.



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One right one wrong says president of party faithful


Ruiz off the hook

The widely anticipated whitewash of Health Ministry Counselor Eyra Ruiz who was videoed at a crowded funeral after strongly denouncing quarantine decree  violators, was confirmed by President Cortizo.

After receiving  a report from the Metropolitan Health Region, Cortizo , affirmed that she  did not violate any resolution or sanitary decree in force to prevent the spread of the coronavirus .

Ruiz, Minister of Health, participated last week in the funeral of a murdered leader of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) in the church of Santa Ana, an event questioned because of the large number of people who were around the church  in the midst of  quarantine

“I have the summary of the report: the Church was inspected before, the pews were marked to maintain their distance; 25% of the church's capacity was met, a temperature was taken before entering, at the beginning of mass the doors were closed, the person did not die of covid and the doctor did not go to the funeral. In summary, Dr. Eyra Ruiz did not violate any resolution or decree, " said Cortizo., on Monday,  September 7.

Questions arose  after videos of a large number of people on the outskirts of the church on their way to  the church; even people carrying the PRD flag and the participation of a mariachi group hit the social networks.

Jobs for the boys
On the other hand, the president condemned a message from PRD  deputy Alejandro Magno Castillero, accused of influence peddling, who in a video asked him for more "resources" and "appointments" for his supporters in the district of Chitré, Herrera.



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Cortizo whitewash of health official sparks backlash


The crowded funeral picture on social media

Posted 07/09/2020

The Monday, September 7 statements of President Laurentino Cortizo, absolving  the Minister Counselor of Health, Eyra Ruiz, of  violating government  decrees when attending a funeral in the Church of Santa Ana, sparked immediate  reactions from civic groups and on social media

Luis Pinedo of Citizen Oversight took the lead and harshly criticized the “look the other way” action of Cortizo who when elected promised strong action against defaulters

"I believe that we have to detach ourselves from the legal issue (...), we have to adhere to the example that our leaders must give to a people, a people that has spent six months going through a thousand and one complications that are the

government's fault As rulers they should show empathy, it does not matter if the relevant permits for burials had been given the day. Earlier, thousands of Panamanians have not been able to bury their loved ones.  

“The authorities must lead by example, so the Minister-Counselor Ruíz should have called to order at that funeral"

The President  said the Ministerr did not violate decrees or resolutions .



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Eyra Ruiz, the “Do as I say not as I Do” Health Ministry Counselor, Attends Funeral and Causes A Flap
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The “untouchable” doctor


Posted 24/06/2021

The doctor Eyra Ruiz is not an incumbent minister, but it seems that so far she can do what she wants in the public administration because she is a member of the PRD and is part of the central committee of the ruling party.

She is just a demonstration that in Panama there are plenty of untouchables.

The official has done what she wanted in the management of Nito Cortizo, from attending while in full quarantine, the funeral of a co-party member assassinated by hitmen in full quarantine to authorizing vaccines for the deputies, which was classified as clandestine by the president himself and her boss, the Minister of Health was not even informed.

Dr. Ruiz represents everything that a government facing the covid-19 pandemic should not be because the message is opposite and contradictory when citizens and businessmen are asked to comply with the law, while they do what they want and rub it into others without any kind of blush.

We are still waiting for the president to dare to govern and send officials like this home. Otherwise, they are seen to be cut from the same piece of cloth. - MI DIARIO, Jun. 24.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Health Ministry Counselor Eyra Ruiz Is the Untouchable “Do As I Say Not As I Do” Counselor

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