Former New Taipei City deputy mayor Chen Shen-hsien (陳伸賢) late on Saturday declined President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) nomination to be a member of the Control Yuan amid criticism that he was impeached by the Control Yuan a decade ago and was therefore unsuitable for the job.
The Presidential Office said that it respected his decision.
Chen, who served as director-general of the Water Resources Agency from 2003 to 2009, was impeached by the Control Yuan in December 2008 for his “flawed supervision” of the Dajia River (大甲溪), which they said caused the Houfeng Bridge (后豐橋) to collapse in a typhoon in September that year, leaving three people dead and three missing.
Citing Chen’s impeachment, New Power Party caucus whip Chiu Hsien-chi (邱顯智) said on Saturday that Chen was unsuitable to be a member of the government watchdog.
In response, Chen said that he was wrongly impeached, because the agency has no jurisdiction over the bridge’s construction and maintenance, which falls under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
He said that his innocence was proved by the Judicial Yuan’s Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission in 2010, after the commission decided not to punish him, despite his impeachment.
He withdrew from nomination because he did not want to see his wrongful impeachment resurface, Chen said, adding that he hoped his decision would put an end to the controversy surrounding his nomination.
Chen is the second person to decline their nomination, after former Taitung county commissioner Justin Huang (黃健庭) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) earlier on Saturday declined Tsai’s nomination to serve as Control Yuan vice president.
Huang announced his decision amid criticism across party lines over his support for a controversial resort development project in Taitung County that was opposed by local Aboriginal groups and allegations that he had received kickbacks, for which he was sentenced to five months in prison. The sentence was commuted to a fine in 2018.
Chen served as then-New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu’s (朱立倫) deputy from 2014 to 2016.
Chu yesterday said that Chen was a diligent, highly acclaimed public servant and that it was unfair to bring up his impeachment again.
The former KMT chairman also said that Huang is an important asset to the party and that it should maintain cordial ties with him as he had declined the DPP’s nomination.
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