Legislature's disciplinary body to probe Ker
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Legislature yesterday adopted a motion to have its disciplinary committee look into the conduct of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming over alleged influence peddling.
October 26, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
Lawmakers voted unanimously to refer Ker's case to the disciplinary committee, which may start its hearing as early as Friday.
Ker said his caucus is looking to expose the workings behind government-conducted wiretapping, and that the DPP will demand key figures attend the disciplinary hearing, including President Ma Ying-jeou and Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming.
Ma and Huang have come under fire following revelations that prosecutors had monitored the Legislature's telephone lines while investigating Ker and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng over alleged influence peddling.
Ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers managed to block another two DPP motions, one demanding Huang resign and the other that the Legislature set up a commission to investigate “illegal” wiretapping by prosecutors.
The KMT managed to beat the DPP in the two votes, but it failed to obtain full support from its lawmakers.
In the vote over the proposal for a probe into allegedly illegal wiretapping, the KMT beat the DPP 56 to 42. But three lawmakers from the ruling party abstained.
In the other vote, demanding Huang step down, the KMT defeated the DPP 54 to 41. Two KMT lawmakers abstained, while one sided with the DPP.
The United Evening News claimed that many KMT lawmakers personally agreed that Huang must step down although they voted otherwise.
As the focus of the political conflict has now switched from illegal wiretapping to influence peddling, it remains to be seen whether the Legislature's disciplinary committee will come up with any meaningful decision. The disciplinary committee has seldom convened, and it has made only one ruling in recent years — suspending one legislator from duty for six months for hitting a colleague.
Ker had asked to be investigated by the disciplinary committee in order to clear his own name after the prosecutor-general accused the legislative speaker of peddling influence that stopped prosecutors from making an appeal against the minority leader's acquittal in a corruption trial.
While the DPP has been standing firmly by Ker, the scandal has sparked an open rift between Wang and Ma, who has been bent on expelling the speaker from the KMT.
But Wang has secured an injunction on the KMT vote to expel him from the party. An expulsion would have cost Wang his at-large legislative seat and speakership.
Meanwhile, the KMT lawmakers also blocked motions that sought to freeze electricity prices and stop construction on Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant.