Tue, Mar 08, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Living with uncertainty

As we approach the first anniversary of the March 19 assassination attempt on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), there has been a breakthrough in the case. Investigators held a press conference yesterday to announce that they had identified a suspect -- Chen Yi-hsiung (陳義雄).

Unfortunately, Chen Yi-hsiung drowned off Anping, Tainan City after the shooting. Lacking direct evidence, the police are stopping short of saying that they have cracked the case, and even though this announcement marks a step in uncovering the truth behind the shooting incident, they are not quite there yet.

There are a number of reasons the police believe Chen to be their man, including his purchase of a handgun from gunmaker Tang Shou-yi (唐守義), their belief that he was the bald-headed man in a yellow coat seen leaving the scene of the shooting and his reported suicide note.

Prosecutors and police are confident of Chen Yi-hsiung's involvement in the case. But investigation must continue because many questions remain. Since the alleged shooter is dead, and his suicide note and yellow coat were destroyed by his family, the only evidence of his involvement are the statements made by his family members, who have been granted immunity. The gun allegedly used in the shooting has not been found. People also want to know if Chen Yi-hsiung had any accomplice, or whether he was acting on another's orders.

The police officers and detectives have put a lot of effort into this case, and the investigation has proved fruitful. Although questions remain and the public is not satisfied, people should be able to accept a result like this -- as long as the search for direct evidence continues. There is no need, however, for another special investigation committee to be set up by the legislature.

The March 19 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee raised several points of suspicion in its final report, but most of them were accusations regarding political motivations and completely groundless speculation. The committee put the nation in a state of unrest politically, economically and socially, so the Legislative Yuan must not again waste national resources to establish a second committee in this session probing the case.

The opposition parties should trust in what the judiciary has been doing and cautiously consider whether it is, in fact, necessary for them to take to the streets once again in front of the Ketagalan Boulevard and cause the country to sink further into the quagmire of conflict.

The police believe the motive for the assassination attempt was Chen Yi-hsiung's discontent with the nation's political scene. Over the past four years, the blue camp, with its legislative majority, stalled the government's efforts to achieve greater economic growth and promote both political and economic reforms. Chen Shui-bian, with his re-election, has learned to place cross-party reconciliation and cooperation atop his political agenda. The overall political scene has, therefore, seen a detente.

There is a chance now for the governing and opposition parties to work together to improve the economy rather than engage in further political power struggles, which would destroy the small conciliatory steps that have been taken so far. Faced with increasingly aggressive moves from across the Taiwan Strait, our politicians would do well to focus on putting the nation first, not their careers.

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