Sat, Mar 13, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers acclaim Wang's resignation

TIMING: The KMT caucus secretary-general urged the government to execute death row prisoners, with one legislator saying all 44 should be killed by the end of the year

By Loa Iok-sin, Flora Wang and Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Lawmakers across party lines yesterday voiced approval for the resignation of Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) over the row about stays of execution.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said Wang was right to resign because the public and the Presidential Office did not support her rejection of capital punishment. Lin urged the government to execute the prisoners on death row according to the law as soon as possible.

At present there are 44 inmates on death row in Taiwan. No executions have been carried out since December 2005.

“I am glad that the devils can finally go to hell,” said KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾), referring to the 44 convicts on death row.

KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said the government should execute the 44 by the end of the year. If this cannot be achieved, he said, the government should promise not to pardon any of them if the president decides to grant amnesty next year to commemorate the country's 100th National Day.

While agreeing with Wang’s resignation, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬), a member of the legislature’s Legal Affairs Committee, said conflicts within the KMT administration and Wang’s resignation could have been avoided with better communication.

“The KMT government has already been in place for two years and it has an overwhelming majority in the legislature … it can pass whatever proposal it needs,” Gao said. “Instead, as you can see, there is no communication within the party … only disagreements.”

Saying that government officials should carry out their responsibilities under the law, DPP Legislator Chen Chieh-ju (陳節如), a member of the legislature's Social Welfare Committee, said Wang could make an even greater difference working outside the government.

TV host Pai Ping-ping (白冰冰), whose daughter was kidnapped and murdered 13 years ago and is an advocate of capital punishment, said yesterday that Wang should step down if she didn’t want to carry out death penalties, adding that if a justice minister did that job well, he or she would go to heaven, not hell.

Citing the example of a much admired Chinese official, Bao Zheng (包拯), who lived about 1,000 years ago during the Song Dynasty and was said to be a righteous judge who beheaded many people, Pai said Bao is loved because he executed so many people who deserved the penalty.

Lu Chin-te (陸晉德), father of the child, Lu Cheng (陸正), who was murdered after being kidnapped in 1987, said Wang’s resignation had rendered some justice to victims’ families, and hoped that the next minister would listen to what they had to say.

The Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, on the other hand, yesterday said it regretted Wang’s resignation, and urged the government to work toward abolition of the death penalty.

While expressing her regret, alliance executive director Lin Hsin-yi (林欣怡) praised Wang for her insistence on abolishing capital punishment, the announcement to suspend executions and the commission of a task force within the Ministry of Justice to research a possible replacement punishment.

Lin called on the government to uphold its promise to make abolition of the death penalty a policy objective and to come up with a concrete plan to meet this target step by step.

“We urge the Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan, the governing as well as the opposition parties to think outside of the ‘election mentality’ when talking about whether to abandon capital punishment,” Lin said. “Instead, they should place protection of human rights as the priority.”

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