Legislative Speaker's lobbying trial opens
By Katherine Wei ,The China Post
December 5, 2013, 12:24 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Despite reports that a series of disputes between President Ma Ying-jeou and Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) had died down after Wang was accused of influence peddling, Wang's case nevertheless made it to court for the first time yesterday.
Prosecutor General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) disclosed wiretapped conversations between Wang and opposition lawmaker Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) to Ma in September, accusing Wang of trying to lobby in Ker's corruption case to prevent further appeals. Huang's revelations convinced Ma to announce that Wang's party membership and position in the Legislature were to be sanctioned.
The disputes died down gradually over two months, with Wang successfully retaining his position after filing a court injunction. Wang voluntarily brought his case to court in a bid to find out whether his retention of party membership would stand, stating that he would remain unruffled regardless of the result of the trial. “What's there to be nervous about?” Wang asked.
Both Wang and Ma did not personally attend the trial. Wang was represented by his attorney Hsu Ying-jie, having explained that he had entrusted everything to his lawyer.
Local media quoted Ma as saying that he wished for Wang's membership issues to be solved within the party, and asked if the case would continue in court in spite of his wishes, to which Wang replied, “I respect the party's handling of the case; if the party can straighten this out then everything is solved. But we have to wait and see. Theoretically, (my) aim is to ensure that my membership stands, and if it does then why should I pursue the issue in court?”
“As for the next step, there should be none if the membership issue is settled.”
Leaving the Battle to the Lawyers
The lawyers of Wang and the Kuomintang (KMT) clashed fiercely in court. Hsu accused Ma of “openly attempting to remove Wang from his position by holding a press conference right before the party's Evaluation and Discipline Committee met to decide whether Wang should be punished or not. Ma obviously abused his power, jumped to conclusions and went against the constitution; he is trying to stamp out those who are not on his side.”
Luo Ming-tung, a lawyer representing the KMT, refuted Hsu's claims, saying that Wang had in fact interfered in Ker's case. “Wang seriously damaged the party's image, so therefore Ma did not abuse his power in stripping Wang of party membership.”
The KMT will place its full attention on Wang's involvement in the lobbying case, said Luo.