The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday apologized for the alleged role of Chao Chien-ming, President Chen Shui-bian’s son-in-law, in an insider trading scandal surrounding the purchase of Taiwan Development Corp (TDC) shares, while pan-blue legislators suggested that the president should consider stepping down because of Chao’s alleged role.
Saying he felt “terribly sorry” for the series of corruption allegations and cases involving DPP members which have surfaced in recent months, DPP caucus whip Chen Chin-jun said that only a few “unworthy party members” have tainted the party’s reputation.
He urged all DPP members not to be too eager to separate themselves from the president, saying that the party should work out the problem together.
Chen Chin-jun said that while the caucus disapproved of the idea of a recall campaign against the president, it did believe that he should think about what political responsibility he should take for the scandal.
DPP Legislator Wang Hsing-nan said the party’s grassroots supporters have had dramatic reactions to the TDC scandal and Chao’s alleged involvement, and are anxious and depressed about the party’s performance.
“Chao’s [alleged] insider trading has sentenced the DPP to death. It has severely damaged the DPP’s reputation and I think the DPP should be prepared to become an opposition party again,” Wang said.
DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin said the party would not support a plan being mulled by some KMT and PFP lawmakers to recall President Chen because “the president has done nothing wrong” and because doing so “would create social chaos.”
While some opposition members were more than willing to see the president fall on his sword, others were worried about the political fallout.
“Chen [Shui-bian] should follow the example of the former US president Richard Nixon who resigned from the presidency, over the Watergate scandal,” KMT caucus whip Pan Wei-kang said.
KMT Legislator Lo Shih-hsiung said that he would continue to collect legislators’ signatures in order to file an official motion in the legislature.
KMT Legislator Huang Teh-fu, however, said that recalling the president would be an unwise idea because it might cloud the insider trading scandal.
People First Party (PFP) caucus whip Lee Hung-chun said the president’s credibility had been severely damaged by the scandal, to the point where it was questionable whether he could effectively execute his administrative powers.
“Given that it’s also questionable whether Vice President Annette Lu is trusted by the general public, we think that both Chen [Shui-bian] and Lu should step down,” Lee said.
PFP spokesman Hsieh Kung-pin, however, said that the party was cautious about the idea of recalling Chen as it might worsen the political upheaval.
Meanwhile, KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou yesterday dismissed the idea of launching a recall of the president.
Ma said that the party should focus its efforts on overseeing the prosecutors investigating the insider trading case and promoting useful bills in the legislature.
“In legal terms, the Chao family’s [alleged] involvement in the case doesn’t mean that the president is involved. This is not the right time to propose impeachment,” Ma said during a question-and-answer session at the Taipei City Council.
Ma made the remarks in response to the discontent voiced by the KMT’s Taipei city councilors in response to what they said was the party’s “passive response” to the Chao family’s involvement in the scandal.