Conduct of SID raises questions and worries

By Allen Houng 洪裕宏  / 

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 - Page 8

Last week, the Special Investigation Division (SID) cleared former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of any wrongdoing in the Yu Chang Biologics Co case. Prosecutors went to a lot of effort to try and find Tsai guilty, but in the end, she was still found innocent. Anyone with a sensible head on their shoulders should be able to see how the entire Yu Chang case was a ploy used to smear Tsai during the recent presidential election.

Anyone who wants to become president needs to pass strict tests and any doubt someone has about the candidate must be placed under a microscope. The reason for this is simple: A president wields a lot of power and a nation cannot afford to choose the wrong person for the job. However, at the same time, executive power and the investigative rights of the judiciary cannot be abused to frame a person of a crime or to discredit one’s political opponents.

The hardest thing to accept about the Yu Chang case is that then-Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) minister Christina Liu (劉憶如) was neglecting her duties and instead using official documents that were tampered with in her accusations against Tsai. A few days ago, the leading story in the Chinese-language China Times newspaper was about how Liu told one of the paper’s reporters at the start of June that it was then-premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) who verbally instructed her to carry out the investigation on Tsai. If this report is true, Wu, having been a candidate for vice president at the time, should not have used his executive power to attack an opponent.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his camp can and should question Tsai if they thought she may have done wrong, but they should under no circumstances have abused their authority. Liu has already paid the price for her actions and her integrity will be doubted for the rest of her life. However, it must be asked if someone else was behind the scenes directing the investigation on Tsai.

Why did the SID conduct such a huge investigation during an election? Are people supposed to believe that State Prosecutor-General Huang Shyh-ming (黃世銘) did not know this would influence the election? Prosecutors and judges with even a bit of common sense should know that investigations should not be carried out or verdicts given at sensitive times such as elections, especially presidential elections, if the playing field is to be kept fair.

What is difficult to understand is why the SID and prosecutors and judges are so fond of actions that damage fairness. Huang has authority over the SID, so why did he not do anything to stop it? There is no way that senior prosecutors who have been in the business their entire lives do not know how these things work.

Huang and the SID might believe they can get away with doing whatever they want and that nobody can do anything against them. However, when the public wakes up and demands justice, it will be too late for the individuals involved in such wrongdoings to save themselves.

Allen Houng is a professor at National Yang-Ming University’s Institute of Philosophy of Mind and Cognition.

Translated by Drew Cameron