Premier denies regretting standing by Ma over Wang
CNATAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Jiang Yi-huah yesterday denied having ever said that he regretted taking part in a press conference in which President Ma Ying-jeou strongly condemned Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng for alleged influence peddling.
December 9, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
Jiang said in a statement that he has always supported the president's efforts to defend the independence of the judicial system and his position on not interfering in individual legal cases.
The premier was responding to a report in the Apple Daily that claimed he regretted having appeared at the Sept. 8 press conference along with the president and Vice President Wu Den-yih. Neither Jiang nor Wu said anything on the occasion.
Quoting unnamed sources, the newspaper said Jiang told a Control Yuan investigation that he had been instructed to attend the press conference.
“If the clock could be wound back,” Jiang reportedly said, “I probably would have asked myself whether attending a press conference that calls for the resignation of the Legislative Speaker might violate the constitutional division of powers.”
In the press release, however, Jiang said the report and the claim that it was based on were “completely contrary to the truth.”
Jiang said he clearly told Control Yuan members that there was no question of him overstepping constitutional boundaries.
Lobbying related to individual legal cases is a crime in a democracy, Jiang said, adding that on this issue of right and wrong, he fully supported the decision of the president.
In the statement, the Executive Yuan also expressed “incomprehension and regret” that Jiang's comments given in a supposedly confidential process were leaked and misrepresented in a newspaper.
The Control Yuan investigation was part of an impeachment investigation targeting State Prosecutor-General Huang Shyh-ming, who briefed Ma in late August on information that appeared to indicate Wang lobbied the justice minister on behalf of an opposition lawmaker who was the defendant in a breach-of-trust case.
Huang has been indicted for leaking classified information and faces a second attempt by the Control Yuan to impeach him after a first attempt failed in late November.
Acting on the information, Ma held the press conference to issue a strongly worded statement, calling Wang's alleged interference in a legal case “the most serious infringement” of the independence of Taiwan's judiciary.
Three days later, the ruling Kuomintang's disciplinary committee voted to revoke Wang's party membership, but Wang then won a court injunction to keep his position as speaker pending the outcome of a lawsuit on the legitimacy of the KMT's move.