Wed, Apr 25, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Legislature delays decision on court request for footage

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan High Court was yesterday rebuffed by the legislature over a request to view legislative footage the court says it needs for an investigation into an alleged bribery case involving eight former lawmakers across party lines.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said the Taiwan High Court should review the Gazette for information rather than asking the legislature to provide footage.

“Official records of all proceedings are in the Gazette,” he said.

The high court recently sent a letter to the legislature, in which it asked the lawmakers to provide it with legislative footage of two meetings held in 1997 at which the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (藥事法) was deliberated.

The legislature’s rules for the lending of video footage and audio recordings of proceedings is that the materials cannot leave the legislature without legislative consent, which in turn warrants a review of the request.

At yesterday’s legislative session, lawmakers deferred a discussion of the request to a later date, based on a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) proposal, which it said was in accordance with established practice.

This was the first time a legislative session dealt with such a request because the legislature’s Procedural Committee has never previously placed similar requests on the agenda.

“This occurred because any decision needs to take into account how granting the request might affect the autonomy of the legislature” Wang said, adding that he would hold a meeting of all parties involved to discuss the matter.

In 2010, the Taiwan High Court found the eight former lawmakers guilty of accepting bribes from the National Chinese Herbal Apothecary Association in 1998, in return for their endorsement of an amendment to Article 103 of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (藥事法) that would restore the right of herbalists to issue medical prescriptions.

The lawmakers involved were former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Hsu Shu-po (許舒博), Liao Fu-peng (廖福本) and Cheng Horng-chi (陳鴻基), former DPP legislators Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅), Chiu Chui-chen (邱垂貞), Jao Yung-ching (趙永清) and Lin Kuang-hua (林光華), as well as former People First Party legislator Feng Ting-kuo (馮定國). They were sentenced to prison terms of between seven to 10 years.

The case remains on the docket because the Supreme Court overturned the high court’s ruling and ordered that the case be retried.

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