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.
‘FAILED TACTICS’: A lawmaker said Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong and Taiwan’s success at boosting its ties internationally have boosted identification as Taiwanese Self-identification as “Taiwanese and Chinese,” or solely as “Chinese,” has dropped to record lows, while 63.3 percent of the public regard themselves as Taiwanese, a survey released on Tuesday by National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center showed. Respondents identifying as Taiwanese and Chinese dropped to 31.4 percent, while those identifying solely as Chinese fell to 2.7 percent, the survey showed. The results reflect changes in attitudes since 1994 among Taiwanese toward independence and unification with China, as well as self-identification trends since 1992, commenters said. Support for independence was 25.8 percent, while about 5 percent of respondents said that they want the nation
ONLY EXCEPTIONS: The mayors of the two largest cities voiced concerns over hidden cases, while all other local governments are to follow eased CECC guidelines All local governments, with the exception of Taipei and New Taipei City, are to allow dine-in services at restaurants after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that it would on Tuesday lower a nationwide COVID-19 alert to level 2. The center on July 8 allowed the resumption of dining at restaurants nationwide — despite keeping the alert level at 3. At the time, this prompted all cities and counties, except Penghu Country, to keep local dine-in bans in place. Following Friday’s CECC announcement that COVID-19 prevention measures would be further relaxed, the Taipei and New Taipei City governments
‘NOT IMPOSSIBLE’: Acceptance to the UN would end the nation’s troubles, but it would be impossible to achieve without US backing, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun said The US might recognize Taiwan if war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said yesterday while discussing politics with former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Speaking on Chen’s program on Smile Radio, You reminisced about his agrarian childhood, studies, the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party in 1986 and his eight years as Yilan County commissioner. Chen’s appointment of You as premier in February 2002 marked several firsts, as he was Taiwan’s youngest premier, as well as the first from a farming background and first democratically elected county leader to hold the office. Asked to share his views on
The Chiayi District Prosecutors’ Office on Friday charged 16 people with dealing drugs and demanded life imprisonment for the group’s alleged ringleader. The prosecutors accused Yeh Hsiang-hung (葉翔浤) of heading what they called a “cannabis empire” by establishing sales and distribution networks, and selling “cannabis business franchises” to young people. The suspects are accused of contravening the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例) and other criminal charges. The prosecutors seized NT$26.9 million (US$959,755) in cash and bank deposits that they said were illicitly gained from sales of cannabis. Targeting Yeh’s alleged organization, police officers in May raided 33 locations in the Chiayi City area