The “prodigious” amount of material and the fact that only three staffers could look into the matter are why it took almost three years before President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration announced that former senior Democratic Progressive Party officials were under investigation over missing documents, the Presidential Office said yesterday.
Seeking to clarify “apparent misunderstandings” in an open letter to Ma signed by 34 academics that was published in Chinese and English on April 10 and April 11 respectively, Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said in a letter that the case concerned events over a period of eight years, involving the offices of 17 officials serving in former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration.
“Given the prodigious number of documents that are missing and the fact that these documents were not traceable with computers, it took the Presidential Office a great deal of effort to carry out the one-by-one audit of documents and to attempt to confirm their confidentiality level,” said the letter, a copy of which was seen by the Taipei Times.
In their open letter, the academics raised questions about the timing of the announcement that the Presidential Office was handing over the investigation to the Control Yuan, coming as it did on the eve of former premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) registration for the DPP’s primaries for next year’s presidential election. Su is one of the 17 people being investigated.
Despite the magnitude of the task, the Presidential Office needed to maintain its routine functions and therefore there were only three staffers who could be spared to deal with the matter, which they handled during non-office hours, the letter said.
It also denied the decision to refer the matter to the government’s watchdog was politically motivated.
“Elections are held and candidates run for office almost every year in Taiwan. When could such a case be referred to the Control Yuan without the least doubt of it being politically motivated?” it said.
The Presidential Office referred the matter to the Control Yuan because only a small proportion of staffers from the offices of the 17 officials targeted by the probe were long-term civil servants and the large majority have since left the government, it said.
“Having no authority to investigate such former staffers or require them to come to the Office of the President to help clear up the matter … the Office of the President can only refer the matter to the Control Yuan in accordance with relevant laws,” the letter said.
Taiwan does not exclude the possibility of having formal diplomatic relations with countries that also have formal ties with China, regardless of Beijing’s stance, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Sunday. There was speculation in 2012 that Honduras was attempting to have simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China, an idea that then-minister of foreign affairs David Lin (林永樂) rejected. Honduras severed formal ties with Taiwan on Sunday morning after establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing. President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has taken a more practical approach to relations with like-minded countries since assuming government in 2016. Previous administrations took the
Seven senior faculty members, including the principal, of a high school in Taichung were temporarily suspended from their jobs on Friday, pending an investigation by the Taichung Education Bureau into alleged bullying and abuse that led to the suicide of a student last month. The city’s education officials were too slow to suspend those involved, the student’s father told a news conference on Wednesday, at which Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅) and members of the Humanistic Education Foundation were also present. The boy had been a good student and a high achiever during elementary and junior-high, and had
ORIGIN UNKNOWN: The Leofoo Village Theme Park and Taipei Zoo have accounted for their baboons, as authorities continue a 12-day capture attempt Authorities in Taoyuan are searching for a non-native baboon, possibly of the chacma species, that has been spotted several times in the city’s Pingjhen District (平鎮) over the past 12 days, and was most recently seen in coastal Sinwu District (新屋). The baboon was first spotted near a local factory on March 10 in central Taoyuan, Jhensing Borough Warden Huang Chih-chieh (黃志杰) said. Huang said he requested the Leofoo Village Theme Park’s help after a second sighting on Saturday. In other sightings, the baboon raided fruit and vegetable gardens on private property, and has evaded one capture attempt via a tranquilizer dart. Media reported
Taiwan would have established formal relations with Argentina long ago if not for China’s interference, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui told US-based Spanish-language online news outlet Infobae in an interview published on Tuesday. Beijing has left behind a string of unfulfilled promises in Latin America, including pledges to build the Grand Nicaragua Canal and airports, docks, ports and industrial zones in El Salvador, he said. Meanwhile, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and other countries enjoy pragmatic and improving relations with Taiwan based on cooperation on the economy, culture, technology and science, he said. While Taiwan is “happy to live and let live,”