Lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄) said yesterday that the summoning of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Thursday as a witness over leaking allegations highlighted the president’s lack of political judgement.
“The latest development in the wiretapping scandal shows a lack of political judgement on Ma’s part and a deficiency of legal experts in his decisionmaking team. It appears that these three men are the ones making all the calls, but none of them have a legal background except for Ma,” Koo said.
Koo, formerly a long-term legal adviser to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), was referring to the questioning of Ma, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Lo Chih-chang (羅致政) by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Thursday as witnesses in a case involving Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming’s (黃世銘) alleged leaks of details gathered through the wiretapping of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) during an investigation in a case against Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).
Huang is thus far the only person listed as a defendant in the investigation, triggered by the two meetings he had with Ma on Aug.31 and Sept.1 to discuss details of a probe into Wang’s alleged improper lobbying, which was not concluded until Sept.5. On Monday night, Huang also told the Chinese-language Apple Daily that Ma had phoned him after the Special Investigation Division’ press conference on Sept. 6, raising further questions about Ma’s role in pursuing the case.
Koo yesterday said what Huang is being accused of — including leaking details of an ongoing investigation and abusing wiretaps — has been deemed harmless in the past.
“However, when such conduct poses a threat to the constitutional role of the legislative speaker, people begin to adopt a stricter standard in scrutinizing them… and come to realize that the nation has been using wiretaps excessively and that our prosecutor-general has absolutely zero knowledge of constitutionalism,” Koo said.
In response to media inquiries about the likelihood of Ma being listed as a defendant in the alleged leaking case, Koo said since it is hard to prove that the president had the required mens rea to have instigated Huang to leak details of the case involving Wang, Huang might end up bearing the most responsibility for the alleged offense.