The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday reached a consensus to support a proposed amendment by KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) seeking to cancel all preferential treatment for a retired president or vice president should he or she be found guilty of corruption or other major crimes in a first trial.
KMT caucus whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) told reporters after the caucus meeting yesterday morning that the caucus decided unanimously to pursue Wu’s proposed amendment to the Statute Governing Preferential Treatment to Retired Presidents and Vice Presidents (卸任總統副總統禮遇條例) while dropping KMT Legislator Chiu Yi’s (邱毅) proposal.
Chiu proposed to suspend the treatment if a retired national leader is indicted, but Wu told reporters that Chiu’s proposal would contradict the principle that people should be considered innocent until proven guilty.
“My proposal states that all preferential treatment, including bodyguards, offices, secretaries, vehicles and allowances should be canceled if [a retired president or vice president] is found guilty of treason or corruption. The treatment would be reinstated if he or she is proved innocent after a third and final trial,” Wu said.
Wu had previously said that the proposal was targeted at former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who was indicted on Friday last week on charges of embezzling government funds, money laundering and forgery along with 13 others, including his wife, son and daughter-in-law.
However, KMT Legislator Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), a party vice chairman, expressed concern about canceling Chen’s bodyguards, warning that society could become more divided if Chen were assaulted after losing his bodyguards.
But Wu Yu-sheng dismissed that concern, saying: “I believe Chen Shui-bian cherishes his own life and will protect himself. Plus, many deep-green Taiwanese independence activists will also protect him. There’s no need for the nation to provide bodyguards for him.”
As the legislature’s Judiciary, Organic Laws and Statutes Committee is scheduled to discuss Wu Yu-sheng’s proposal today, the caucus also decided to mobilize its members to smooth the proposal’s path, Wu Yu-sheng said, adding that the caucus would resort to a vote on the proposal during the committee meeting if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) opposed the bill.
At a separate setting yesterday, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) stated his caucus’ opposition to the proposed amendment, describing it as a political vendetta.
“The KMT administration is attempting to use the government machinery to wage a political vendetta against the former president,” he said.
Ker urged KMT lawmakers to pay attention to bills and measures boosting the country’s economy, instead of narrow-minded revenge on the former administration.
Additional reporting by Rich Chang