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Hitmen gun down council president

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Hitmen gun down council president


Posted 07/11/2023

The president of the Municipal Council of San Miguelito, César Caballero, died in a hail of bullets at Plaza Valencia (northern Panama) at 9:50 a.m. on Tuesday, November 7. Caballero was serving as a representative of the town of Belisario Porras.

 The killers were traveling in a gray Hyundai Accent car.

According to police reports, the township representative got out of a white van to go to the plaza. The hitmen were waiting and shot him at least 10 times.

His body was transferred to the Generoso Guardia polyclinic, located in the Omar Torrijos district, San Miguelito.

Caballero was recently in the news because the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) nominated him to run for re-election in the 2024 elections although he had been sentenced to five years in prison for embezzlement to the detriment of the University of Panama (UP). The information is contained in Edict 9 of January 5, 2022, issued by the Superior Court for Settlement of Criminal Cases of the First Judicial District, after his defense processed an appeal.

The communal board of Belisario Porras, where 44,129 people live, according to data from the 2023 census, received $6.6 million from parallel decentralization between July 2021 and May 2023. While in that sector $55.3 million has been distributed in the Digital Voucher.

Information in development


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Panama hitmen get 50 years for Corridor killing


Crime scene. Source: La Prensa

 Posted 08/11/2023

The same day a Panama politician was gunned down a Panama trial court announced the country’s first conviction for the crime of hitmen.   The court applied a sentence of 50 years in prison to Juan Carlos Valdés and Rosendo A. Moses for the murder of the political activist of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Wendy Rodríguez, on August 27, 2020, when she was passing through the South Corridor.

During the reading of the sentence carried out in the facilities of the Accusatory Penal System of the First Judicial District, located in building 727 in Balboa, the judges decided to apply the sentence of 50 years for the crimes of homicide, in the form of hitmen, in injury to the PRD activist and attempted murder against three minors who were traveling in the same vehicle as the victim.

According to the investigation carried out by the Metropolitan Prosecutor's Office for Homicide and Femicide, the vehicle in which Rodríguez and the three minors were traveling was followed by at least six cars until they reached one of the exits of the South Corridor, where they were attacked by gunfire.

During the trial, the prosecution alleged that those involved in the crime were members of a criminal organization that operates in Panama City and San Miguelito.


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Anatomy of a drug-linked political assassination


Posted 08/11/2023

César Caballero, 50, who served as a representative of the town of Belisario Porras, San Miguelito, was shot, on Tuesday, November 7, in front of his house.

According to the Public Ministry and the National Police, the township representative was returning from Colombia when the hitmen surprised him reports La Prensa  which headlined the story “The crime attacks another friend of Raúl Pineda.”

A video on social networks shows the crime scene. A man, in a red sweater, is standing in front of the passenger seat of a small white bus.

While he arranges some objects in the front seat, he observes a gray Hyundai Accent that approaches and stops a few steps away. Two men get out of the car. As if he knew he was the target, Caballero tried to protect himself and quickly threw himself into the vehicle. His executioners give him no respite. One in the front of the car, firing again and again; the other fires shots at him from the side of the passenger door.

The incident occurred at 9:50 am Tuesday. Caballero was transferred to the Generoso Guardia Polyclinic,  San Miguelito, where he died. “The main objective was the representative,” said the senior homicide prosecutor, Rafael Baloyes, who is leading the investigations.

“When it comes to hitmen, there are other participants and other vehicles involved” and that is why the scope of the investigation will be expanded, said the prosecutor.

Caballero was in the ranks of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), which even nominated him to run for reelection in the 2024 elections, despite the fact that he had a confirmed conviction for embezzlement. He belonged to Pineda's political circle. Photographs that both published on their social networks show the level of trust, camaraderie, and loyalty that they professed.

The deputy was one of those who went yesterday to the clinic where his friend's body was. The mayor of San Miguelito, Héctor Valdés Carrasquilla, also arrived there; the Administrative Director of the Presidency, Everardo De León; as well as representatives of the district's township, among others.

Other cases  
The event was reminiscent of the murder of Agustín Lara Díaz, on November 14, 2021. Lara was the deputy director of the Public Registry, an enthusiastic PRD activist, and Pineda's partner in a law firm. The day he was killed, he promoted the registration of people to the ranks of the PRD. Political activity took place in Los Andes, San Miguelito. Two hitmen killed him. The authorities have jealously guarded the details related to the motive for the crime. There is one detainee, Yeison Felipe Possu Mera, who denies any connection with the event.

Pineda also mourned the death of Ovidio Omar Castro, alias Tulip. Castro was shot in August 2021 in a Multiplaza parking lot. At that time Castro appeared on the payroll of the municipality of San Miguelito. He had a salary of $600 and held the position of community promoter.

 According to judicial authorities, Castro was a drug lord from Nuevo Veranillo, San Miguelito, and had ties to the Los Chacales gang, a group accused of the murder of Wendy Rodríguez, who was shot to death in the southern corridor in August 2020; and Diógenes Yoyi Vergara, former deputy, who was murdered in February 2021 in Pacora. Both were also part of the ranks of the PRD. On social networks, Deputy Pineda lamented Tulip's death.

In August 2012 Pineda had another loss. His assistant, Gilberto Kiki Pinzón, was murdered in a shootout outside his political center in San Miguelito. In the shooting, they also injured her sister Anneth Pineda, mother of José Ruiloba Pineda, a candidate for deputy for the PRD in San Miguelito, for the 2024 elections. Ruiloba made the news in November 2022, after her business premises, Xtreme Plaza, located in the Los Andes sector number two, one person was murdered and three were injured in the middle of the so-called “Culecos of the district.”

At that time, Pineda accused his partner, lawyer Juan Ramón Mesina, of being behind the death of Kiki Pinzón.

A year before Kiki Pinzón's crime, the police stopped a driver transporting drugs, whose car had Pineda's parliamentary license plate, who reported that his license plate and credentials had been falsified.

The deputy's name also resonated after Mesina's murder in September 2013. Katiuska Ramos, Mesina's wife, initially accused the deputy of having ordered her husband to be murdered. Pineda denied any link. Ramos is currently the Director of the Gender Equality Unit of the National Assembly.


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