Two Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday clashed with former New Party legislator Elmer Fung (馮滬祥) over whether he should remain a counselor to the Legislative Yuan now that he has been charged with sexual assault.
According to Legislative Yuan regulations, former lawmakers can be hired as unsalaried counselors, who may enter the Legislative Yuan freely.
Fung was accused of raping his former Filipina maid on Nov. 1, and a decision on the case is pending.
Two DPP female lawmakers, Tang pi-o (唐碧娥) and Chou Ya-shu (周雅淑), yesterday expressed unhappiness that Fung was continuing to enjoy the status of counselor and demanded that regulations be amended so that a person with a criminal conviction cannot serve as a counselor to the Legislative Yuan.
Tang said a counselor to the Legislative Yuan could move about within and use the resources of the legislature.
"But there are no restrictions within the regulations, and even the fugitive Wu Tze-yuan (伍澤元) retains his title of counselor. This is pretty strange," Tang said. "Do we need a rapist as our counselor?"
Chou said that female legislative employees may feel uncomfortable or even frightened when "people like Fung" were walking around the Legislative Yuan.
"To prevent former lawmakers involved in criminal cases from continuing as counselors to the Legislative Yuan, we should amend the regulations so that criminals cannot be hired as counselors, or else if counselors commit a crime, then their title should be removed," Chou said.
Fung later entered the Legislative Yuan to hold a press conference in his defense. When he ran into Tang, the two yelled at each other, later joined by DPP Legislator Cheng Chao-ming (鄭朝明), who was holding his own press conference nearby.
DPP lawmakers demanded that Fung leave the Legislative Yuan, and he was escorted out by police.
Speaking outside the Legislative Yuan, Fung said the DPP lawmakers were violating his rights because his case was still being heard by the court.
"I believe in my own innocence and the impartiality of the judges, so I won't make any assumptions," Fung said, when asked about the DPP lawmakers' demand that his counselor status be revoked.