Mon, Oct 15, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Remove lawmakers facing legal action: rights group

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Citizens Congress Watch (CCW) yesterday called on Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Liao Cheng-ching (廖正井) and People First Party Legislator Lin Cheng-er (林正二) to step down as conveners of the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee given that they are both being prosecuted for vote-buying.

“It is extremely inappropriate for Liao and Lin to be the conveners of the judiciary committee, because both of them have been indicted for vote-buying, and their cases are still ongoing,” CCW executive director Chang Hung-lin (張弘林) said. “It’s worrisome because the committee is in charge of reviewing budgets for the judiciary, and committee conveners are in charge of arranging meeting sessions ... we are worried that they will use their powers to pressure the Ministry of Justice.”

Chang said he believes that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but urged the two lawmakers to avoid a conflict of interest, especially given that the current legislative session is reviewing next year’s central government budgets.

Liao was accused of distributing money to voters through a village chief in Guanyin Township (觀音), Taoyuan County, in his constituency when running for legislator in 2007.

He was found guilty in 2009, but, Liao appealed and the Taiwan High Court overturned the district court ruling by declaring Liao not guilty.

Liao’s case is ongoing as the prosecutor appealed the case.

Lin was also accused of vote buying in 2007 while running for legislator. He was first declared guilty by Taoyuan District Court and then declared not guilty twice by Taiwan High Court, but was again found guilty after the prosecutor appealed. Not satisfied with the guilty ruling, Lin further appealed, and is awaiting the outcome of the appeal.

When reached for a response, Liao defended his right to serve as convener of the committee.

“I was ruled not guilty by the Taiwan High Court ... I swear to you that the accusations are false and have nothing to do with me,” Liao said.

Lin was not available for comments as of press time.

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