Fri, Mar 30, 2007 - Page 4 News List

DPP takes aim at legal loophole

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday suggested amending the Law Governing Legislators' Exercise of Power (立法院職權行使法) to require lawmakers who have been convicted of crimes to give up their seats.

The DPP has voiced dissatisfaction with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅), who has refused to resign his seat even though he will soon be jailed for public disturbance.

The Supreme Court turned down Chiu's appeal on March 22, upholding the Taiwan High Court Kaohsiung Branch ruling sentencing him to jail for 14 months.

While saying that he will serve the sentence, he has refused to resign from the legislature, saying that he still has his civil rights.

"If Chiu remains at his post, he is able to receive about NT$6 million [US$181,500] when he is in prison. Many people can't stand this," DPP caucus whip Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) said.

Chiu's legislative position will remain intact if he decides to resume his seat after serving time.

"We can't waste the public's hard-earned money in this way. It's a legal loophole that we have to correct," DPP Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.

Chiu was convicted of public disturbance for trying to ram a pick-up truck into the Kaohsiung District Court on March 19, 2004, during a political protest.

In previous cases, former DPP lawmakers David Chou (周伯倫) and Hsu Chih-ming (徐志明) quit the legislature after being jailed for corruption.

Former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德), however, kept his legislative post when he went to jail in 1997 for a demonstration he led on April 19, 1992 calling for direct presidential elections.

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