Fri, Jul 09, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Shooting probe may be fast-tracked

ONE COMMITTEE, PLEASE The pan-blue caucuses are happy with rushing through a statute that will convene a committee, though they are still toying with forming two

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A draft statute authorizing an investigative committee into the March 19 shooting of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) could be passed this month, earlier than its August deadline.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) legislative caucuses yesterday said that they supported Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng's (王金平) proposal to deal with the statute at the end of the month, even though it is not due for legislative debate until next month.

Both caucuses reached agreement on the statute yesterday and declared their determination to push it through as early as possible, together with the condition that legislators be excluded from participating in the committee.

"We support the idea of handling the statute in the extra legislative sitting in late July, but the prerequisite is that Wang must convene cross-party negotiations first," said KMT caucus whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權). "And if the caucuses reach a consensus and sign the agreement, everyone should be forbidden from withdrawing their agreement at the last minute."

But instead of requesting extra sittings later this month, the pan-blue caucuses proposed extra sittings from Aug. 16, the time when the statute can be put to a vote.

While Wang has stressed that only one investigative committee can be formed, the pan-blue caucuses have not ruled out the possibility of attempting to form two committees at the same time.

"We are still open to suggestions about how the committee members and how the committee chairman will be selected, and we will hold public hearings to gather different opinions on the issue," PFP Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said.

"Whether there will be two committees depends on how [Control Yuan President] Fredrick Chien (錢復) conducts [himself]. If he follows the statute passed by the legislature then there will be only one committee. If he chooses to act by the six principles mapped out by the president rather than the statute, then we will have two committees," KMT caucus whip Liao Feng-te (廖風德) said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said his caucus was supportive of the pan-blue camp's suggestion to pass the statute as soon as possible to establish the committee.

Ker also reached agreement with Wang yesterday to hold cross-party negotiations on Monday morning to discuss extra legislative sittings and the bills to be handled in those sittings.

The DPP is likely to request that extra sittings be held late this month or early next month, he said.

LEGAL BASE

Meanwhile, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is also a vice chairman of the KMT, yesterday stressed that the government cannot establish a committee without a legal basis.

Ma said that the government and the opposition should accelerate passage of the statute that would grant legitimacy and right of inquiry to the investigative committee.

Like the pan-blue caucuses, Ma suggested that legislators were not suitable for the committee, which should be made up of professionals and members of the Control Yuan.

"I urge the government to stop any action in relation to the committee before the special statute is created," Ma said. "The government should not obstruct or intervene in the establishment of the investigative committee, which would be disrespectful to the law and to the Legislative Yuan."

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