Legislators across party lines criticized Friday’s announcement of the removal of Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office head prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) as an attempt to help President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) eliminate Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) said the evidence collected by the legislature’s Discipline Committee suggested that Chen did not violate the Prosecutors Code (檢察官守則) because his failure to report Wang’s alleged lobbying request constituted only a minor flaw.
“The ministry has clearly blown the matter out of proportion …especially given that Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) still sits comfortably in his post,” Lu said.
Lu was referring to a telephone call Wang made to Chen on June 27 allegedly asking him to prevent Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office prosecutor Lin Shiow-tao (林秀濤) from appealing the acquittal of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) in a breach of trust case.
Chen’s removal came after the ministry’s Prosecutor Evaluation Committee concluded on Dec. 14 that he was involved in the lobbying case and should be given a demerit.
The committee also recommended that Huang be dismissed from his post for his unconstitutional reports to Ma about details of an ongoing investigation into the alleged lobbying case.
KMT Legislator Liao Cheng-ching (廖正井) said the ministry should have transferred Chen to a similar position, rather than disgracing him by downgrading him to an ordinary prosecutor.
KMT Legislator Wang Huei-mei (王惠美) said the committee would not have recommended just a demerit for Chen if it had found him guilty of improper lobbying.
“The purpose of founding the independent committee … is to prevent ministry officials from covering up for each other, but maybe it should be disbanded now that the ministry does not seem to honor its decisions,” Wang Huei-mei said.
DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said given the eagerness of pro-Ma media outlets to declare Wang Jin-pyng guilty of undue lobbying following the committee’s decision, the ministry’s quick removal of Chen could have been an attempt to sabotage the speaker’s chances of winning a lawsuit regarding his KMT membership.
“If the plot succeeds, Ma will finally be able to remove Wang Jin-pyng from the speakership and eliminate all ‘obstacles’ to his pandering to China,” Pan said.
Wang Jin-pyng was stripped of his party membership on Sept. 11 due to alleged improper lobbying, but he is allowed by a court decision to retain his membership until the lawsuit is settled.
DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said the ministry’s efforts to hunt down anyone not on its side indicated that Minister of Justice Lo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) was nothing but Ma’s political hitman.
“On the one hand, the ministry defended Huang despite the committee’s recommended dismissal, and on the other, it removed someone who should only have received a demerit,” Wu said. “How can we ever trust a ministry which has such dramatic double standards?”