Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) resigned yesterday amid mounting speculation that allegations of influence peddling against Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) were politically motivated.
Following a statement on his Facebook page, Lo told a press conference about his decision, which he said centers on the “nature” of the allegations by the Special Investigation Division (SID) of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office against “a speaker engaging in influence peddling in a judicial case.”
The SID on Friday last week accused Wang of illegally lobbying then-minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office Head Prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) on behalf of Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) by urging the pair to stop a prosecutor from appealing Ker’s not-guilty verdict in a breach of trust case.
“Think about this: If you were engaged in a lawsuit against Ker and you ended up losing the case because Ker had lobbied Wang to exert his influence on the judiciary to rule in his favor, would you be able accept this?” Lo said.
Lo said the influence-peddling case was just one of many reasons behind his resignation, which included personal reasons and his family.
“The influence-peddling case and how it has evolved have had a huge impact on me. I have stated on Facebook what I thought about the case. After resigning, I can say whatever I want to say,” Lo said.
Lo said that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had thought hard of the potential political fallout before he revealed the content of the SID’s probe, and that Ma had insisted on “fighting for his beliefs” so that the judicial system would be free of political interference.
“The involvement of a legislative speaker in influence peddling — is it difficult to distinguish between what is right and wrong in this case?” Lo asked.
He said that Wang’s alleged misconduct had overstepped the red line and violated the Constitution.
“Can we be indifferent?” he asked.
Lo refused to comment on the SID’s handling of the case, including questions about due process and the legitimacy of wiretapping Ker’s telephone, disclosure of the wiretaps transcripts and leaking the information to Ma while the investigation was still ongoing.
Rumored to be interested in running for mayor of Keelung, Lo said he wold not throw his hat into the ring.
His position will be filled in two weeks, Lo said.