Sat, Mar 23, 2019 - Page 3 News List

KMT to tender motion to end Chen’s medical parole

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Former president Chen Shui-bian speaks in a pre-recorded video at a Taiwan United Nations Alliance banquet at Amazing Hall’s Minquan Branch in Taipei on Saturday last week.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus yesterday said it would tender a motion to end medical parole for former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and called on President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to make clear whether she believes Chen should be granted a special pardon.

The KMT at a news conference played a video with footage of Chen singing karaoke in January and singing at a post-by-election event on Monday, as well as comments on last week’s legislative by-election in Tainan he made in a video posted to YouTube on Sunday.

“Does A-bian [Chen] look ill? Should he be on medical parole?” KMT Legislator Alex Fai (費鴻泰) asked.

Fai called on the Ministry of Justice to take action against Chen, saying that otherwise it would be condoning a criminal who had mistreated society after the Egmont Group — an international anti-money-laundering organization — certified that Chen had committed embezzlement.

Fai called on Tsai to make clear her stance on pardoning Chen and whether he should apologize to society.

KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said that the caucus would tender a motion at a legislative plenary session calling for Chen’s medical parole to be terminated and for him to be sent back to Taichung Prison.

When former premier William Lai (賴清德) registered for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential primary on Monday, he used Chen as a weapon against Tsai — who on Thursday also registered for the primary — by expressing his support for a pardon for Chen, who he said played a pivotal role in stumping for DPP Legislator Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文) in Tainan, Lai Shyh-bao said.

It is regrettable that a former premier should side with a criminal implicated in corruption, Lai Shyh-bao said.

He and Fai would launch a signature drive in their constituencies to pressure the ministry to send Chen back to prison, so Taiwan can return to being a nation governed by the rule of law, Lai Shyh-bao said.

KMT caucus secretary-general John Wu (吳志揚) said that Chen has remained a “spiritual leader” of the DPP whenever there are elections, which is why no DPP member has opposed William Lai’s remarks about pardoning him.

Wu, who sits on the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, said that every minister of justice appointed by the DPP so far has sidestepped the question of whether his parole should be terminated.

They have all said that the right to decide rests with the prison, which is absurd, as a prison is not an independent agency, Wu said.

Citing Article 3 of the Amnesty Act (赦免法), KMT Legislator William Tseng (曾銘宗) said that people can only be absolved under special circumstances.

However, Chen is still embroiled in several lawsuits, Tseng said.

“If William Lai really believes that Chen should be absolved, why did he not ask the Ministry of Justice to [make a proposal] to amend the act when he was premier?” he asked.

“He has exploited the issue ahead of next year’s presidential and legislative elections,” Tseng said.

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