The Presidential Office yesterday dismissed a rumor that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had read an investigation report about his son-in-law's alleged involvement in a stock trading scandal, and that he had called for a suspended sentence in the case of a conviction.
"The president has never seen such a report, nor has he ever made such a remark," said David Lee (
Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (
Vice President Annette Lu (
"If the ministry fails to do so, it may well remind the public of the `Pachang Creek incident,'" she said.
She was referring to an incident in July 2000 which claimed the lives of four workers when rescuers failed to arrive in time. The entire process was televised live on local TV.
The incident cost then vice premier Yu Shyi-kun his job. Yu's departure made him the shortest-serving vice premier in the nation's history, after a term of just five months.
Although Yu said at the time that the choice to resign was his and his alone, it is believed that the decision came directly from Chen in a bid to help quell discontent by showing that high-ranking government officials should bear the responsibility for mistakes made on their watch.
"It will be a great shame for the entire nation if the investigation fails to bear fruit within three months," Lu said.
"I am calling on the Ministry of Justice, the Bureau of Investigation, the National Police Administration and the Judicial Yuan to step up their efforts and produce a concrete result by Sept. 28, the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Democratic Progressive Party," she said.
As Chen has repeatedly emphasized that everyone was equal before the law and that the judicial system should handle the case in a swift and stringent manner, Lu said that investigators would be putting the president in an embarrassing position if they failed to resolve the case as soon as possible.
"The longer the investigation drags on, the less confidence the public will have in the government," she said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) yesterday threatened to have Chen recalled.
KMT Legislator Lo Shih-hsiung (
Lo's proposal failed to gain the backing of the full KMT caucus.
People First Party (PFP) legislators were divided over Lo's proposal yesterday.
PFP caucus whip Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said that recalling the president for the reasons stated by Lo would be going too far.
Chang Hsien-yao (
Meanwhile, the Presidential Office yesterday responded to an allegation made by KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (