Mon, Oct 04, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP urges halt to shooting committee

UNCONSTITUTIONAL The pan-green camp will not field representatives for the March 19 shooting committee because the powers bestowed upon it are too broad, it said

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

While the investigative committee probing the March 19 assassination attempt is set to begin today, legislators across the political spectrum yesterday expressed concern over how it is going to operate smoothly amid the controversy still surrounding it.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) yesterday said that the committee's first meeting today will be troublesome for the pan-blue alliance, which he accused of "strong-arming the legislature" in the passing 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).

"I'm very curious to see how it [the committee] is going to work because this piece of legislation is full of so many legal and constitutional flaws," Ker said. "We'll watch it very closely and carefully and express our opinions in an appropriate time and manner."

To better oversee the operation of the pan-blue-dominated committee, Ker said the caucus will set up a "constitutional interpretation response task force" today to tackle the issues.

Arguing that the statute which brought the committee into existence is unconstitutional and undermines the authority of judges and prosecutors, the DPP and its ally the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) have opted to not participate in the 17-member committee, leaving seven positions on the committee unfilled.

The pan-green camp has also sought a constitutional interpretation from the Council of Grand Justices and filed a temporary injunction against the statute.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) signed the statute into law, but he wrote several of his objections to the document's text and later refused to approve the pan-blue alliance's list of nominees.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) have nominated nine members to the committee, while the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union has nominated one.

Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), another DPP legislative caucus whip, said that the pan-blue camp is bound to lose its electoral support in the year-end legislative elections if it insists on pushing forward with the "questionable committee."

"I'm calling on the pan-blue camp to hold their horses before the grand justices rule on the constitutionality of the statute and the president approves the committee members, or they will pay a high price for their crude and foolish behavior," he said.

Tsai also threatened to ask the Executive Yuan to boycott the committee's operations, including its budget and investigation interviews, until the grand justices rules on the constitutionality of the committee.

Hoping to iron out differences over this issue as well as others such as his planned "state-of-the-nation" address, Chen has arranged to have lunch with the heads of the five branches of government on Thursday.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) will also hold cross-party talks today to discuss the injunction application and to decide whether or not to accept Chen's request to make the "state-of-the-nation" report.

Should today's inter-party negotiations fail to bear fruit, Wang said, the issues will then proceed to the legislature's Procedure Committee to let the committee set the agenda. The Judicial Yuan has requested the DPP, TSU and opposition legislative caucuses designate their own representatives by tomorrow to attend the injunction debate slated for Oct. 14.

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