Is it too much to expect that a minister who - together with his colleagues - constantly worries about attacks on his honor and seeks to protect it with ever wackier anti-press laws, in fact acts honorably? In Panama it is.
Raúl Mulino, minister of security and responsible for the police, is quoted in La Prensa today saying that he is not thinking about resigning after the police killed five teenagers by burning them alive in a juvenile correction center. "I had nothing to do with that", Mulino said.
Sure. He wasn't there. Nor was the police chief, former Noriega hitman Gustavo Perez.
But what these people don't get - will never get, we're afraid - is that they are responsible for a police force that is showing time after time that they are so badly trained and so badly motivated that all they do is act like rabid dogs. See Changuinola last year, where they even killed a baby, many others and maimed even more. See Tocumen, just two weeks ago, with five teenagers dead after having been deliberately burnt. See protests in Colón, yesterday, against the failure of the authorities to administer potable water - where protesters were brutally treated and pepper-sprayed by these goons.
Since they were appointed, Mulino as well as Perez have failed to create a professional police force that knows how to behave itself. On the contrary, the police has become increasingly corrupt, increasingly undisciplined, increasingly incompetent and increasingly abusive.
In the face of such massive failure, the honorable thing to do for a minister is to resign, and the same goes for a police chief. Their failure to act honorably absolves us, the people who pay these amateurs, from the obligation to respect their honor - they clearly don't have any.