President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday disputed the claim by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) that he had not lobbied on behalf of a defendant in a legal case, calling the incident “the most shameful day in the development of Taiwan’s democracy.”
Wang’s alleged influence peddling amounted to “the most serious infringement” of the independence of Taiwan’s judiciary, the president said.
Reading from a prepared text at the Presidential Office, Ma said how the incident evolved would have “a far-reaching impact” on Taiwan’s democracy, and he called on the people to help defend democracy and the rule of law.
Wang had telephoned him to deny having lobbied on behalf of a fellow lawmaker, Ma said. According to Ma, Wang said he had called the minister of justice “merely to show concern” for a case in which Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) was the defendant.
“If this was not influence peddling, then what is?” Ma said.
Wang is in Malaysia to attend the wedding of one of his daughters. In the phone call he explained to Ma why he was not able to return to Taiwan as early as the president had wanted and why he made a call to then minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫), who resigned on Friday night over the incident.
After reading his strongly worded statement, Ma did not take any questions from reporters. Vice President Wu Den-yi (吳敦義) and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) also attended the hastily arranged press conference.
Separately, Wang’s office said it was still uncertain whether he would return home early from a family vacation, one day after Ma ordered him to return to Taiwan immediately to explain his alleged illegal lobbying in a lawsuit involving Ker.
“We have yet to hear anything regarding the matter from Wang and remain unsure whether he would return home early. All we know is that he is scheduled to return on Tuesday night, but we have no information concerning the exact arrival time of his flight,” Wang’s office said.
The office said Wang left for Malaysia on Friday to host his second daughter’s wedding, which was held yesterday on an outlying island of the Southeast Asian country that can only be reached via a combination of several modes of transportation.
The alleged misconduct was raised by the Special Investigation Division (SID) at a press conference on Friday, during which it said that Ker, after being found not guilty on June 18 of embezzling funds from Formosa Telecom Investment Co (全民電通) in 1997, allegedly asked Wang, a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), to lobby Tseng and Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office Head Prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) to use their influence to persuade a prosecutor not to appeal the case with the Supreme Court.
Tseng and Chen then allegedly illegally instructed Lin Shiow-tao (林秀濤), the prosecutor in charge of Ker’s breach of trust case, not to appeal the ruling, thus making the verdict final, the division said.
Although Tseng and Chen have been cleared of criminal responsibility for the case, the former would be referred to the Control Yuan for an impeachment probe, while the latter would be subject to an administrative evaluation, the SID said.
Tseng announced his resignation after meeting with Jiang twice, while insisting on his innocence.
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
BALANCED DEVELOPMENT: TSMC chairman Mark Liu said the firm is committed to local investment: a third in the north, a third in the center, a third in the south Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, yesterday said that, based on its strategy of balancing capacity, it plans to make northern Taiwan its manufacturing hub for advanced technologies that go beyond 2 nanometers. “As the company is committed to investing in Taiwan, we try to deploy one-third [of our total production capacity] in the north and have one-third each in the center and south” of the nation, TSMC chairman Mark Liu (劉德音) told reporters on the sidelines of Semicon Taiwan’s Master Forum in Taipei. TSMC last year reached its goal of deploying capacity equally across those parts