Citizen Congress Watch (CCW) yesterday panned government officials over their refusal to attend legislative meetings when requested by the Legislative Yuan, while also calling for legislation to regulate attendance of officials.
The legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee requested the presence of several Special Investigation Division (SID) officials — including Director Yang Jung-tsung (楊榮宗), Prosecutor Cheng Shen-yuan (鄭深元), and Attorney Investigators Ho Chi-fei (何其非) and Lin Fang-yi (林芳怡) — to attend a meeting on Thursday on a improper wiretapping case, but none of them attended.
Prosecutor General Haung Shih-ming (黃世銘) has argued that prosecutors have no obligation to report to the legislature over an isolated case, triggering more discontent from the legislators, who vowed to request their presence again next week.
CCW executive director Chang Hung-lin (張宏林) yesterday disagreed with Huang, and accused officials of disrespecting the legislature.
“Prosecutors have the right to carry out their jobs without interference. However, the meeting is more about policy direction and budget rather than about an individual case,” Chang said through a press release. “Yang, who is the SID director that has power over execution of policies and budgets, should respect the legislature and attend the meeting.”
Chang said that it is not the first time that officials turned down a request from the legislature to attend meetings, but the legislature cannot do anything about it, since there is no penalty for it.
In the current legislative session, Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Kuan Chung-min (管中閔) and Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp chairman Ou Chin-der (歐晉德) have not attended legislative meetings as requested without notifying and obtaining permission form the legislature, Chang said, adding that in the past, during the former Democratic Progressive Party’s administration, then-education minister Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) was absent at legislative meetings for as many as 12 times, prompting the legislature to pass five resolutions condemning his absence.
“We think it’s necessary to make a legislation on the performance of officials whose attendance has been requested by the legislature and that stipulates a penalty for those who refuse to attend without justification,” Chang said.