Although legal experts have raised doubts about the constitutionality of Prosecutor Eric Chen's (陳瑞仁) questioning of the president over the "state affairs fund," it remains unclear whether the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will request that the Council of Grand Justices annul the prosecutor's investigation.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) has suggested that the party file for a constitutional interpretation on Article 52 of the Constitution, according to which the president enjoys immunity from prosecution unless charged with having committed an act of rebellion or treason.
As the constitutional immunity exempts the president from prosecution, Eric Chen's questioning of the president and seizing of related documents was a violation of the Constitution, Ker said.
Ker said he knew the pan-blue camp would question the DPP's motive in demanding such an interpretation, but he believed "this is a matter of right and wrong."
He said he would discuss the matter further with party headquarters and it is possible that the DPP caucus will initiate the petition.
Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday said discussion of the matter was important not because of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) but for the nation's "long-term stability and rule of law."
"We're not trying to give the president privileges but we also don't want to damage our constitutional system," Lu said when asked by the press to comment. She did not elaborate.
DPP Taipei mayoral candidate Frank Hsieh (
But, Hsieh said, President Chen has put himself in a dilemma because he set a precedent of giving up his immunity when testifying as a witness in an election bribery case in Hualien two years ago.
If the president tries to assert his immunity now, he may draw criticism, Hsieh said.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) told the press yesterday that if the DPP asks for a constitutional interpretation the public may believe it was trying to delay the state affairs fund investigation.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (
However, he added that he did not think the prosecutor's investigation was unconstitutional because the president gave up his immunity during the investigation and Chen was not indicted.
Should the DPP file for a constitutional interpretation, Tsai said he hoped the Grand Justices would maintain judicial independence.
In addition to whether or not the DPP should seek constitutional interpretation for the matter, which organization could do so remains obscure as well.
While Ker believed the DPP caucus should initiate the act, Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Yin Ling-ying (
However, Premier Su Tseng-chang (
Former senior adviser to the president Wu Li-pei (
Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did