Sat, Jan 27, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT urges Council of Grand Justices to reject Chen's appeal

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators yesterday urged the Council of Grand Justices to reject President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) application for a constitutional interpretation of his authority to classify information as a state secret.

Deputy Secretary-General of the Presidential Office Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) filed a request on behalf of President Chen at the Judicial Yuan on Thursday for a constitutional interpretation of the president's "state confidentiality authority" and his constitutional immunity.

The action was prompted by the council's dismissal of the Democratic Progressive Party's application filed last month and the Taipei District Court's ruling to open documents related to secret diplomatic missions to prosecutors and attorneys.

KMT Legislator Joanna Lei (雷倩) yesterday told a press conference that Chen was in no place to seek a constitutional interpretation because the Constitution was meant to regulate the authority of the president.

Lei urged the Council of Grand Justices to follow Constitutional Interpretation No. 388 to ensure the legitimacy of the "state affairs fund" case, so as to prevent the president from "expanding his authority through pursuing constitutional interpretations."

Interpretation No. 388 was delivered by the council in October 1995, in which the council interpreted Article 52 of the Constitution, which grants the president immunity from prosecution unless he is charged with sedition or treason.

However, the interpretation also said the president's immunity was a protection of the presid-ency, not of the president personally. It said if the president were charged with crimes other than sedition or treason, immunity would only temporarily protect the president from prosecution.

At a separate event yesterday, Chen said that both the "state affairs fund" case and the "special allowance for local heads" are no longer simply legal cases but have grown to reflect political ideologies.

He suggested that seeking a constitutional interpretation or revising laws could be a method for reaching a solution.

"We don't want to see legal issues politicized nor political issues `legalized.' Neither is good," Chen said. "But political issues sometimes need to be solved through legal measures."

In response, KMT Spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) said both Chen's misuse of his allowance fund and former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) alleged misuse of his special mayoral allowance were under investigation and it would damage the judicial system to try to solve the issues through political negotiations.

"I can't imagine how a head of state could entertain such thoughts," Su added.

Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih and Jewel Huang

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