Sun, Oct 03, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Chen blasted for not approving panel

STARTS TOMORROW The pan-blue panel's first meeting will proceed without the president's approval of its membership, just as his party declined to nominate members

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The opposition parties yesterday attacked President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) decision not to approve the name list of the investigative committee probing the March 19 assassination attempt, saying that Chen had betrayed his promise to giving the public the truth. The committee has scheduled its first meeting for tomorrow.

Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told reporters Friday night that Chen would not approve the pan-blue alliance's list of nominees. Su said that since the statute contains contradictions and unconstitutional provisions, "the names list should not be approved."

"President Chen had pledged that he fully supports establishing an investigation committee probing the March 19 shooting incident and will respect the special committee's authority," said James Soong (宋楚瑜), People First Party (PFP) chairman, while attending a gathering for college students sponsored by the PFP.

"Now that the Legislative Yuan passed the relevant bills, the president boycotted it in every way," Soong said.

"This is disappointing. The late American president Abraham Lincoln said, `you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time,'" said Soong. "The public should display strong disappointment with Chen."

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) echoed Soong yesterday by saying that the committee is established by law, so Chen is breaking the law if he does not appoint the committee members.

"Whether the committee is constitutional is a matter to be determined by the Council of Grand Justices," Ma said.

"The second article of the March 19 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee Statute (三一九槍擊事件真相調查特別委員會條例) stipulates that even if the president does not appoint the members, the commissioners will assume their duties automatically," said Ma.

"If President Chen has the only say in the constitutionality of all pieces of legislation, what do we need the Legislative Yuan for?" Ma said.

The majority opposition alliance passed the law on August 24 over protests from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its ally, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), which agreed that it violated the Constitution.

"We will not recommend any representative to participate in the future special committee, and the public will see how the `truth investigation committee' becomes a pan-blue investigation committee," DPP Secretary-general Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) said.

The Cabinet had sent the statute back to the Legislative Yuan for reconsideration, in effect vetoing the legislation, but this reconsideration request failed. The statute returned to the Executive Yuan, and Chen signed it on Sept. 24, writing several of his objections on the document's text.

The DPP and the TSU then sought to ask the Council of Grand Justices for a constitutional interpretation on the statute, and also sought a temporary injunction on it.

Chang defended Chen's decision yesterday, saying that the statute not only twists the government's five-branch system but also violates human rights and thus the Constitution.

"The pan-blue alliance strong-armed in the Legislative Yuan to desecrate the Constitution," Chang told DPP supporters and overseas Taiwanese in Los Angeles. "If President Chen approved the name list to cooperate in organizing the committee, he would have to shoulder the historic responsibility for destroying the Constitution."

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