President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday issued a statement aimed at boosting the morale of the military and urged the public to refrain from speculation and trampling the dignity of the armed forces while investigations into recent allegations of corruption and bribery are being conducted.
“If there are officers taking bribes or offering bribes to seek promotion, it would not only be illegal, but also a most serious blow to the country’s reputation,” Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said at the Presidential Office yesterday, reading from a statement prepared by the president.
“There are many discussions about such cases, but until the investigation results have been released, do not engage in speculation. I believe most solders are loyal to the country, to their duties, and uphold their integrity and dignity,” Ma said in the statement.
Ma’s statement came in the wake of a series of alleged military scandals, including a recent case in which several high-ranking officers were accused of securing promotions by offering bribes.
Former chief of the general staff Huo Shou-yeh (霍守業) is suspected of accepting bribes from military officers.
Minister of National Defense Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) has apologized over the allegations and pledged to draw up a concrete plan to fight corruption in the military and restore discipline.
In yesterday’s statement, Ma extended his support to Chen for launching a thorough investigation, and said the investigation should proceed “fairly, thoroughly and properly.”
Condemning people who made groundless accusations against the military, Ma urged the ministry to ascertain the truth behind the allegations as soon as possible.
“I cannot tolerate some people’s groundless accusations against members of the military,” he said. “We can’t let those who break the law get away with it, but we can’t allow the dignity of the military to be trampled either.”