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Sat, Mar 31, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Legislature censures Lo Fu-chu

VIOLENCE IN THE ASSEMBLY The case of the independent lawmaker who attacked a collegue is to be sent to the Discipline Committee, though few expect tough action

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed a motion of censure against independent legislator Lo Fu-chu (羅福助) for attacking People First Party (PFP) Legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) on Wednesday. The case was also referred to the legislature's Discipline Committee.

"It is a serious assault to the legislature's image and a dishonor to all fellow legislators that a lawmaker has ignored the rules of democracy and resorted to violence in the Legislative Yuan, which is a symbol of the nation's democracy," the censure statement read.

The Discipline Committee, whose members consist of the 36 conveners of the 12 standing committees in the legislature, is expected to meet on Tuesday to discuss what punishment is to be meted out to Lo.

Lo's son, Lo Ming-tsai (羅明才), a convener of the Finance Committee, has decided not to take part in the meeting, citing a conflict of interests.

The severest punishment is a suspension from duty for up to six months. This can be imposed after being approved by a two-thirds majority in the legislature, based on a recommendation by the Discipline Committee.

Lo's decision on Thursday to stop participating in the legisla-ture's activities for three months as a form of self-punishment is viewed by most legislators as not good enough. Lo has so far refused to apologize to Lee.

"We wonder if this can be called an apology at all when he doesn't even feel sorry for the direct victim of his violence," said Shen Chih-hwei (沈智慧), chief executive of the PFP caucus in the legislature.

Most legislators said Lo should receive the severest punishment possible.

They also proposed that the committee's meeting should be open to the media and be conducted in a transparent manner to ensure the matter is handled properly.

The ad-hoc Discipline Committee has long been criticized for being a paper tiger, because almost every case sent to it has stalled and eventually been forgotten.

According to the Legislators' Conduct Act (立法委員行為法), a case will be invalidated automatically if the committee cannot resolve it within three months.

Lo was sent before the committee once before for attacking DPP Legislator Yu Jan-daw (余政道) in 1999.

KMT Legislator Tseng Chen-nung (曾振農) was also sent to the committee in the same year for assaulting Lai Chin-lin (賴勁麟), another DPP legislator.

Neither Lo nor Tseng were punished, because most of the committee members chose not to attend the committee meeting.

At least one third of the committee members must be present for there to be a quorum.

The KMT, which is known to have maintained close links with Lo, controls half of the 36 seats in the committee.

The latest violent incident involving Lo erupted on Wednesday morning shortly before a meeting of the Education and Culture Committee, following a quarrel between Lo and Lee. The entire course of events was filmed by a video camera installed in the meeting room.

Lee was still hospitalized yesterday with a slight concussion.

Several other DPP legislators have also allegedly been victims of Lo's violence. But no evidence can be produced because the alleged assaults did not take place on public occasions, except in Yu's case.

"Lo has a long record of assaulting colleagues. The Discipline Committee should handle all cases of his misconduct at once," said DPP Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男), one of the three conveners of the Sci-tech and Information Committee.

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