Latent crisis to give birth to mobocracy if unchecked
The China Post news staffKer Chien-ming, the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) caucus whip, was suspected of influence peddling in an attempt to get an inmate paroled some time ago. The Special Investigation Division led by Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming asked for permission to wiretap the whip's assistant, and as a result, the Taipei District Court approved the request.
October 16, 2013, 12:11 am TWN
A ten-digit number starting with 0972 was subsequently wiretapped for three months. However, no conversations were recorded. It was later discovered that the number wasn't that of the assistant's cellphone but that of a special switchboard in a building housing some 80 lawmakers. According to local reports, the number in question is virtually impossible to wiretap successfully. It turned out that Cheng Shen-yuan, the SID prosecutor in charge of the surveillance op, mistook the Legislative Yuan's special switchboard number for the assistant's cellphone.
The above sums up the final report on the sensational “parliament-wiretapping scandal” made public last Friday by a special task force formed under the Ministry of Justice. Chen Ming-tang, deputy minister of justice, said that the wiretaps were not intentional but placed by mistake. The prosecutor in charge and his superiors, including section chief Yang Yung-chung and the prosecutor-general, will be referred to an evaluation committee. Cheng was charged with dereliction of duty. Both Yang and Huang were blamed for lack of oversight.
The 11-member task force was created to conduct an independent inquiry, in response to calls by lawmakers to investigate the SID and the procurator-general for “illegally” wiretapping the Legislature. They demanded an abolishment of the SID as well as Huang's resignation, and have begun accusing President Ma Ying-jeou of letting judicial officials spy on legislators in order to get rid of Ker and Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng. DPP leaders, including Chairman Su Tseng-chang, all hold Ma responsible for creating a “constitutional crisis.”
The DPP's move, however, is the real political crisis.
The opposition party's actions are basically an all-out defense put up on behalf of its powerful caucus whip, who stands accused of asking Wang to help him walk away with a not-guilty verdict in a breach-of-trust case.
In the manner of a prosecutor investigating a crime, Ker took it upon himself to question the prosecutor-general about the wiretaps. The whip is currently suing Huang for illegal surveillance and forgery.
Why lawmakers, who are supposed to be capable of clear thinking at the very least, would dance to Ker's tune — without actual evidence backing his claims — is beyond comprehension. Or are they afraid that the SID will reveal the Legislature's underbelly at some point in the future? All of them seem to believe Ker and claim that the president is creating a constitutional crisis by trampling on parliamentary autonomy.
The Legislative Yuan is fast degenerating into a know-nothing parliament.
Today, legislators are slated to vote on a no-confidence motion proposed by the opposition against Premier Jiang Yi-huah. DPP lawmakers proposed the motion because the premier refused to apologize for remarks he apparently didn't make. The opposition, not surprisingly, has repeatedly insisted that Jiang did make the remarks, and that he made them out of contempt for the Legislature. Lawmakers further accused the premier of being an accessory to the “political coup” staged by the president.
It is this latent crisis that is transforming our democracy into a full-fledged mobocracy.