If the Executive Yuan does not veto an amendment to the Accounting Act (會計法) to resolve an escalating controversy, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would propose amending the law in an extra legislative session, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday.
Speaking after the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting, Su said measures should be taken immediately to correct the controversial amendment, which has not only decriminalized a former lawmaker jailed for misusing public funds, but also sparked a feud between the administrative and legislative branches because of an error.
An omission in the amendment, which lawmakers failed to notice before the amendment passed a third reading, means that hundreds of professors could face prosecution for allegedly misusing receipts to claim government reimbursements.
“An Executive Yuan’s veto or Ma’s mediation between the administrative and legislative branches would be able to resolve the controversy, but if they refuse to do so, the DPP will take the matter into its own hands by proposing another amendment,” Su said.
The omission should be corrected in a new amendment, which means the hundreds of professors would be included in the decriminalization package, Su said, adding that local councilors who used public funds for private purposes should not be decriminalized.
Former independent legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), who was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail for using nearly NT$20 million (US$670,000) in taxpayers’ money to visit hostess bars, is set to be released when the amendment takes effect.
However, Yen’s imminent release has been heatedly debated by the public, with many opposed to the synchronized decriminalization of local councilors and professors because their violations are of a different nature and they have placed the blame on the opposition, in particular the DPP, for its negligence.
Asked about the DPP’s responsibility for the error, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) described the error as a “documental mistake” which can be corrected by another amendment.
DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), who was lambasted by many, including some DPP lawmakers, for his endorsement of the amendment in closed-door party negotiations, said that the Executive Yuan should be responsible for the error because the omission was also found in an Executive Yuan proposal prepared for party negotiation.
Ker said the Executive Yuan should be held accountable and veto the amendment.