The ongoing “Occupy Legislature” student protest against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the conviction of former prosecutor-general Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) share the same root cause — the violation of procedural justice, academics and lawyers said yesterday.
Huang resigned immediately after he was sentenced to 14 months in jail on Friday in the first trial of his case for leaking information to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in an ongoing investigation into claims of influence peddling last year.
Hundreds of students have been occupying the legislative chamber since late Tuesday over the KMT caucus’ sending of the cross-strait service trade agreement to the plenary session without substantial review in the joint committee.
“Both cases shared the same distinctiveness of the violation of procedural justice,” Kao Jung-chih (高榮志), executive director of the Judicial Reform Foundation, said in a speech to hundreds of students who have been staging overnight sit-ins in front of the legislative compound to show support to the ones who occupied the chamber.
“Whether people supported the service trade deal with China or not, I believe the vast majority of them would oppose the opaque negotiation process and concluding the review in 30 seconds,” Kao said.
He was referring to KMT Legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠), convener of the March 17 joint review committee meeting, who took advantage of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers’ boycott and directly sent the pact to the plenary without it being discussed.
“Huang Shih-ming’s conviction had an important implication to government officials who are about to implement measures under the cross-strait service trade agreement if the deal takes effect eventually,” lawyer Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) said.
The conviction of Huang Shih-ming showed that public servants who committed illegal acts would be punished, the lawyer said.
As the service trade pact was sent to the plenary without review and a due legislation procedure, the pact could be declared illegal, he said.
Huang Di-ying added that the trade deal could benefit a specific group of businesspeople, so government officials who implement the agreement could violate the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) and would be subject to a sentence up to five years.
Both cases also taught Taiwanese a lesson, he said, that appropriate systems must be established to prevent the state and those who are in power abuse their right.
“That was why we think the Special Investigation Division should be abolished and a mechanism monitoring cross-strait negotiation and agreements should be established,” Huang Di-ying said.