Sat, Jul 31, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Presidential Office issues apology for aide scandal

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The Presidential Office yesterday made a public apology for inappropriately dealing with first family housekeeper Lo Shih Li-yun (羅施麗雲), who resigned yesterday amid accusations of criticism that she illegally availed herself of chauffeuring services and other privileges.

"The Presidential Office did not handle this event well, and we very much regret our carelessness," said Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General James Huang (黃志芳).

Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) also apologized for arousing so much dispute. All staff aides will be reviewed to determine whether they failed to provide correct information to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Mrs. Lo formally resigned her post on midnight Thursday, and her resignation was accepted by first lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍).

Some local papers reported earlier this week that Mrs. Lo took advantage of a security guard surnamed Chen, a military official assigned to serve as driver for the first family. She had him drive her on personal business, and even ordered him to clean her house, the local papers reported.

Mrs. Lo denied those accusations, saying that she sometimes asked the security guard to do favors for her, but they were neither illegal nor an abuse of her position.

However, some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers echoed the media by condemning the first family for accusing Mrs. Lo of inappropriate behavior.

Lo Shih Li-yun was originally a neighbor of Chen's, and she pledged to serve his wife Wu Shu-chen when she became confined to a wheelchair after a 1985 assassination attempt.

"When my wife was sent to the hospital and almost died on that day in 1985, Mrs. Lo vowed that if Wu survived, she would voluntarily nurse and care for Wu for her entire life," President Chen once told the media.

Mrs. Lo carried out her promise to push Wu's wheelchair every day and serve as her personal nurse.

After Chen took power in 2000, Mrs. Lo's husband Lo Sheng-shun (羅勝順) was promoted to chairman of the board of a state-run company.

President Chen personally defended Mrs. Lo during a tea gathering with reporters yesterday, saying that she was just trying to help the security guard, because his family is poor and his two children have health problems.

"Mrs. Lo is a person filled with sympathy and love. She hoped to help the driver with his family expenses, so she asked the driver to clean her house, and gave him NT$6,000 per month," the president told the media.

The president said he hoped the public would understand Wu's situation because Wu needed Lo.

"Mrs. Lo spent 15 years taking care of my wife, and without her, I wonder if my wife would have made it," he said.

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