Newspaper article China Post

DPP Risks Irrelevance by Asking for Chen's Pardon

Newspaper article China Post

DPP Risks Irrelevance by Asking for Chen's Pardon

Article excerpt

A lawmaker from the Democratic Progressive Party had the nerve to ask Premier Sean Chen 87 times, possibly a world record, his position on a presidential pardon for former President Chen Shui-bian, who is serving a long sentence in the Taipei Prison for corruption.

And Gao Jyh-peng, the DPP legislator in question, did it within a 11-minute interpellation session on March 20. In so doing, this legislator made himself a bully, a nuisance and a pest. What was even worse was that he was wasting Premier Chen's time as well as his and, above all, the time and money of taxpayers.

Chen was convicted by a court of law and has exhausted his right of appeal. If Gao is still unhappy with the incarceration, he has every right to directly approach the president because, presumably, as a lawmaker, he is well-versed in the Constitution of the Republic of China and knows that, as stipulated in that document, the authority to pardon a convicted criminal rests with the president of the republic.

Article 40 of the Constitution says: "The president shall, in accordance with law, exercise the power of granting of amnesties, pardons, remission of sentences, and restitution of civil rights."

Premier Chen may have the civility to countenance such a nuisance, but we taxpayers must question why we have to pay for a legislator who doesn't do his homework. In his capacity as a lawmaker, Gao could sponsor a bill to decriminalize corruption, presidential corruption, or ultimately, DPP presidential corruption, or make corruption a presidential prerogative. His job is not to ask the premier such a question, especially 87 times, on time paid for by taxpayers.

And then, it seems Gao is one of a handful of people who think the ex-leader deserves a presidential pardon. But if President Ma Ying-jeou pardons Chen, should he also pardon other criminals, most notably the former first lady who has never spent a single minute in the slammer even though she has been convicted and sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment and who "conveniently" falls sick, as one of our readers suggested, or claim frailty, whenever she is told to report to the prison to begin her sentence? …

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