Wang Chien-shien, whose appointment as Control Yuan president was the object of high expectations, has become the most outspoken official in his position ever, making more controversial remarks during the interval between the approval of his appointment and his inauguration than all former Control Yuan presidents combined. This behavior and attitude are inappropriate.
Although anyone engaged in investigatory work should abhor injustice, the work involved is judicial in nature and can mean sending someone to his or her death or in less severe cases jeopardize a person’s reputation for life. Cases must be investigated with extreme caution and evidence carefully weighed before such an official makes his or her mind up.
Prosecutors and judges — including Control Yuan members — should refrain from talking about a case when handling it. However, even before being inaugurated, Wang detailed which cases would be investigated and sounded as if he had made up his mind as to the verdict. This leaves the impression that he is not so much investigating cases as influencing public opinion.
In addition, Wang announced that he would not follow the precedent set by former Control Yuan presidents of not intervening in a case, and instead would play a direct role in various cases. The implication is that Wang fears Control Yuan members are incapable of conducting cases themselves. Since supervisory power is a semi-judicial power, Yuan members exercise their power independently, just like prosecutors and judges. How, then, could a senior official monitor any particular case?
Next, Wang has repeatedly proposed prioritizing the handling of cases from the previous administration before dealing with cases under the current administration. Most countries allow the impeachment of their national leaders. Because judges and prosecutors are usually unable to take legal action against political leaders, the power of impeachment has been appointed to the legislature, a control committee or another institution that is able to resist political power.
Now that Wang has vigorously pursued and attacked officials in the former administration while failing to shine the investigative light on incumbent officials, he is defeating the purpose of the power to impeach.
When an investigation task force was handling the “special allowance fund” cases of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and then-Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) during the previous administration, it started investigating pan-green officials first while deferring until later the cases of then-opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials. As a result, many pro-green officials were charged, while not a single pan-blue official has been charged to this day.
Even prosecutors know how to balance priority cases in order to meet the demand for justice and prevent themselves from becoming the target of public censure. On the contrary, Control Yuan members, who are expected to be able to bear more pressure from authorities than prosecutors, surprisingly start investigating those who have lost power — this is unreasonable.
The pan-green camp recently reported the KMT treasury’s alleged direct access to state coffers, but Wang considers these cases to be pretentious and thus there’s no need to investigate them, showing his clear partisan preferences when handling cases.
Wang’s blunt remarks against the judiciary, his intention to intervene in Control Yuan members’ independent exercise of power and his selective judgment without investigations have seriously hurt his reputation. If he continues to behave in this way, the nation’s impeachment, supervisory and judicial powers will be greatly harmed.
Lin Cho-shui is a former Democratic Progressive Party legislator.
Translated by Ted Yang
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