The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday said it would file a lawsuit against Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) for fraud, assault and coercion following a dispute between DPP lawmakers and Tseng over the abrupt transfer of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) from Taipei to a Taichung prison hospital.
The Ministry of Justice relocated Chen from Taipei Veterans General Hospital to Taichung Prison’s Pei-te Hospital in Greater Taichung on Friday morning, without giving prior notice to Chen or his family.
Later that day, incensed DPP lawmakers interrupted a press conference at the ministry before charging into Tseng’s office and demanding an explanation. During the incident, DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) kicked the door open, damaging it in the process.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡), a former judge, told a press conference yesterday that the ministry has failed to fulfill its obligation to protect Chen, who is serving a 20-year sentence for corruption and has been battling numerous health problems, including severe depression.
“This malfeasance pretty much constitutes assault,” Wu said, adding that the ministry was also guilty of coercion because it had relocated Chen at 5am in the morning without notifying the ex-president or his family.
DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said the party caucus would because Tseng’s secretary had told the DPP lawmakers that the minister was out of the office, when Tseng had actually been hiding in the office with the lights off.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the ministry both responded to the incident, with Ma saying it was a matter of “obstructing an officer in the discharge of his duties,” which is an offense.
The Taipei Prosecutors’ Office launched an investigation into the incident yesterday and may prosecute the lawmakers.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers urged Tseng to file a defamation lawsuit against the DPP lawmakers, who called Tseng a “chicken.”
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said that differences of opinion between the legislative and administrative branch were common and lawmakers should not be punished for trying to communicate with the ministry.
Lee also said he suspected that the ministry had not intended to make a move until Ma commented on the matter, which “indicated that Ma was interfering with the judiciary, which is a violation of the Constitution.”
Meanwhile, debate over whether Chen — who has been diagnosed with severe depression, sleep apnea, non-typical Parkinson’s disease, a speech disorder and mild cerebral atrophy — should be granted medical parole continued yesterday during a meeting of the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee.
KMT Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) asked Tseng to broadcast video footage played on television news channels showing Chen walking in a yard of the Taipei Veterans General Hospital.
Tseng said local TV stations and the ministry’s Agency of Corrections had both shot the footage. The minister broadcast three videos during the meeting.
DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said the ministry had seriously undermined Chen’s human rights and medical welfare, and was Ma’s “lackey.”
The legislator asked Tseng why he did not show footage of KMT Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ju’s (賴素如) life in a detention center.
Lai has been detained for allegedly accepting bribes in the bidding for the Taipei Twin Towers.
Tseng said the Chen footage was shown because it concerns public affairs and could give the public “correct” information about Chen’s condition.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said Chen told him in the prison hospital that in two days, only an orthopedist had visited him, but Tseng said Chen’s medical team consists of 11 doctors who provided him with the best possible care.
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,
‘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
PARTNERSHIP AND LEARNING: A Princeton University health policy researcher said that the nation would be a ‘treasure trove’ of information for the US health chief US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Friday said he wants to learn about Taiwan’s “incredibly effective” response to COVID-19, even though the nation did things that the US has fumbled, such as having a unified strategy and citizens willing to wear masks. Azar leads a US delegation arriving today for a three-day visit to Taiwan. They are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and health system leaders, and Azar is to give a speech to public health graduates. “The message of this trip is about Taiwan,” Azar said in an interview, deflecting a question about China.