Thu, Jan 20, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Lawmakers say pan-blues blocking budget

STAFF WRITER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday accused three pan-blue legislators of making threats against the Taiwan High Court's Prosecutors' Office's Black Gold Investigation Center.

The DPP legislators said that three legislators who were "notorious" for their black-gold background told the center that it must dismiss indictments against them, or they will cut the center's budget.

On Monday, the Legislative Yuan failed to pass a budget of about NT$7 million for the Black Gold Investigation Center, and many other funds submitted by the Judicial Yuan and the Ministry of Justice were slashed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First party (PFP) legislative caucuses.

DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-fang (蔡啟芳) yesterday held a news conference claiming that the reason the legislature failed to pass the budget for the anti-graft center was because three pan-blue legislators told the Prosecutors' Office to revoke their vote-buying and bribery indictments in exchange for their cooperation in approving the budget.

"As far as I know, the three legislators have tried to pressure the Prosecutors' Office and force it to cancel the investigations against them," Tsai said.

But Tsai refused to name the three legislators, only revealing their surnames as Lin, Fu and Ho.

Media reports speculated that the three individuals Tsai was accusing are PFP Legislator Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) and KMT Legislators Ho Chih-hui (何智輝) and Lin Chin-chun (林進春), who have all been prosecuted for taking bribes or vote-buying.

DPP Legislator Chiang Chao-yi (江昭儀) yesterday said it was Lin, who as convener of the legislature's Judiciary Committee, exercised the most control over the passage of the budget for the Judicial Yuan and Ministry of Justice.

"But the KMT caucus just sits, watching," Chiang said.

In response to the accusations, Lin said that he simply responded to other members' opinions about budget cuts, and denied that he had taken bribes from construction contractors, as the center has charged.

Ho said that he had "no idea" about the accusations.

"It was the first time that I heard of such a situation," Ho said. "I think it is impossible for lawmakers to make a trade of their personal cases with bills or budgets."

When asked about his comment on the accusation, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said it was not the first time that a DPP lawmaker has libelled the legislature, and he did not want to respond.

Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) yesterday said that the Executive Yuan was stunned to learn of the allegations, and has asked the Ministry of Justice to launch in investigation into the matter.

He also reiterated the government's resolve to crack down on bribery and "black-gold" politics.

"I'd like to make it clear that we will not be bribed or intimidated by anybody," he said.

Chen said that he was gravely worried about how lawmakers were exercising their duties.

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