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DPP drive to abolish SID stopped
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-13 04:22 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An attempt by lawmakers of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party to put the abolition of the Supreme Prosecutors Office Special Investigation Division on the legislative agenda ended in only partial success Friday.

Critics have accused the SID of conducting politically motivated investigations and of using illegal wiretaps to eavesdrop on politicians the government does not like. The latest drive against the SID started with its announcement of influence-peddling allegations against Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng in early September.

A first attempt by the DPP to put a discussion of legislative amendments which would lead to the abolition of the SID at the top of the agenda succeeded as the vote to change the agenda was secret, allowing some members of the ruling Kuomintang to vote differently from the leadership’s orders.

However, the KMT immediately proposed a motion to adjourn the session while insisting that the vote of each lawmaker would be public. The ruling party, which controls 65 out of 112 seats currently occupied, easily won that vote, as no members dared to incur threats of disciplinary measures, reports said. The caucus leadership later said it was still evaluating whether or not or how to sanction five members who abstained during the first vote.

One of the five, Chen Ken-te, said that because the Ministry of Justice already had set up an Anti-Corruption Agency, there might be no need for the SID to continue. Another KMT lawmaker, Lu Chia-chen, claimed he had misunderstood the question mentioned before the vote and had therefore mistakenly abstained.

All five abstainers have been described by the media as supporters of Wang in his power struggle with President Ma Ying-jeou over the influence-peddling allegations.

DPP caucus official Lawrence Kao accused the KMT of taking a contradictory attitude, since only in the morning had it approved an extension of the session to discuss government budget issues.

The DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union said the ruling party move was wasting two days of work and showed how it allowed party interests to prevail over public opinion and the national interest.

DPP caucus chief whip Ker Chien-ming on Thursday accused the SID of having placed wiretaps on the phone of Lin Feng-cheng, the executive director of the Judicial Reform Foundation. The lawmaker said the only reason for the move was that he had told Lin about unfair practices by a prosecutor.

The supervisor of the SID, Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming, is embroiled in several investigations into his handling of the Wang case. Prosecutors charged him with violating the confidentiality of the investigation by revealing details to Ma during a meeting on August 31. Later that day, Ma called in Premier Jiang Yi-huah and a top aide to discuss the case. As a result, Jiang has been summoned to testify at Huang’s court case on December 27.

Despite severe pressure on him to resign, Huang has said he would only do so if the Taipei District Court found him guilty or if the Control Yuan impeached him. An attempt by the top government watchdog to do so failed because of a tied vote.

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