President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday presented former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) with the Order of the Brilliant Star medal.
On accepting the award at the Presidential Office, Lo thanked the president for giving him the opportunity to join his team and participate in public affairs, but declined to say whether he will work for Ma in the future.
Lo resigned from his post in September in the wake of allegations of improper lobbying made against Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and said he will not run in the Keelung mayoral election.
Following his resignation, Lo continued his criticism of Wang’s alleged improper lobbying on Facebook, while using his page to defend Ma’s policies.
The Presidential Office yesterday dismissed concerns that the medal was to reward Lo for criticizing Wang, and said such medals have been given to almost every top official at the Presidential Office.
Lo was presented with the honor for his achievements in enhancing the office’s communication with the media and explaining government policies, as well as planning the president’s diplomatic visits, the Presidential Office said.
Ma did not comment on Lo’s medal, but the Presidential Office and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have softened their stances on the issue of Wang’s party membership. As the KMT chairman, Ma agreed on Wednesday that the dispute over Wang’s membership should be handled within the party.
Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) yesterday dismissed allegations that Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), Ma’s top aide, will soon take over as secretary-general to try to turn around domestic affairs amid Ma’s record-low approval rate.
She said the Presidential Office does not know where such allegations came from.