Former Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) secretary-general C.V. Chen (陳長文) yesterday announced that he and former presidential office deputy secretary-general Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) are going to establish the Anti-Obstruction of Justice Referendum Alliance, with former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) onboard to push for a referendum to protect judicial independence and Taiwan’s rule of law.
In a press release issued through Lo, Chen said Lo would be the alliance’s chief executive, while he would serve as its convener
Ma has also agreed to his invitation to be the leading proposer of an “anti-obstruction of justice” referendum, said Chen, a lawyer who also served as president of the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China.
He said the proposed referendum states: “Do you agree that attempts by the president, legislators, Control Yuan members, high-level civil servants and leaders of the Judicial and Executive Yuan to directly or indirectly achieve favorable or unfavorable sentences or punishments for their own legal cases, or the legal cases of others by coercing, threatening, influencing or engaging in other illegal behavior toward members of the judiciary should be punished by law?”
Newly appointed Control Yuan member Chen Shih-meng’s (陳師孟) threatening remarks about the judiciary show that Taiwan’s rule of law and judicial independence are already under threat, C.V. Chen said.
Nothing can be expected from the Legislative Yuan since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) holds a majority of seats, so there is no choice but to hold a referendum to give the public a chance to voice its opinion, he said.
Hopefully, the referendum could be held alongside the mayoral and county commissioner elections at the end of the year, he said.
That would mean the schedule for getting a referendum on the issue approved would be tight, but he would do his best to achieve it, he said.
C.V. Chen had contacted Ma about establishing an alliance and pushing for a law to cover of a “crime against the obstruction of justice,” Ma’s office said.
Ma has always agreed the idea that Taiwan’s judiciary should be just, independent and unaffected by political influences, the office said.
Ma agreed to participate in the signature drive for the referendum as a way of urging the Ministry of Justice to carry out the conclusion from the National Congress on Judicial Reform that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) organized last year as soon as possible and propose relevant amendments to the Legislative Yuan, the office said.
Given Ma’s status as a former president, C.V. Chen had asked Ma to be the leading proposer of the referendum, and Ma respects and is thankful for his good intentions, Ma’s office said.
However, Chen Shih-meng rejected criticism that his words or actions could threaten the nation’s judiciary.
The proposed referendum to be led by Ma is “very good,” but it would be best if the principle allowing for “penalty without a law” was added to the main text of the referendum and the punishment was increased, especially for presidents, the Control Yuan member said.
If such a principle were included in the referendum proposal, he would encourage everyone to vote “yes” in the referendum and do so himself, he said.
Chen Shih-meng said he was not bothered by the idea that the referendum might be aimed at him and it would not affect his investigations as a Control Yuan member.
Additional reporting by Chung Li-hua
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung