Friday, September 5, 2008

The DPP Should Urge Chen to Grant Power of Attorney

The DPP Should Urge Chen to Grant Power of Attorney
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 5, 2008

Chen Shui-bian's money-laundering has been exposed. He knows he has "shamed the DPP." On his own initiative he has announced his resignation from the party. By contrast, the DPP's Committee for Clean Government promised to set up a "Special Court of Inquiry," to investigate Chen Shui-bian. But so far nothing more has been heard from them.

The DPP must deal with Chen Shui-bian. One. It must fulfill its promises to society. On the one hand, the Committee for Clean Government has already set up its Special Court of Inquiry. It has publicly vowed to investigate. On the other hand, Chen Shui-bian has publicly declared his willingness to be investigated by the committee. Two. This political decision cannot be avoided. The DPP must decide between shielding Chen Shui-bian and saving the DPP.

Unless the DPP has the courage to put its future on the line, it will find it difficult to bring itself back to life. Chen Shui-bian's guilt is becoming more and more obvious. The investigative process has entered a new phase. One can forsee the case dragging on for many years. The spectacle of Chen Shui-bian giving us his impression of a cornered rat will become ever more outrageous, ever more socially unacceptable. If the Democratic Progressive Party allows itself to be dragged down by Chen Shui-bian's prosecution, if it cannot bring itself to disown him, the DPP will never experience a minute of peace, internally or externally. The Green Camp reached a consensus during the August 30 protest march. It would no longer support A Bian. If the Committee for Clean Government, with its Green Camp background, deals with Chen Shui-bian in this manner, and proceeds to disown him, it will minimize the negative impact upon the party and maximize the positive impact upon society. At a time when the Ma administration's approval rating is so low, many people hope the DPP will emerge from Chen Shui-bian's shadow as soon as possible. They would like the two parties to check and balance each other as soon as possible. The DPP must choose between shielding Chen Shui-bian and responding to society's demands for justice.

The Committee for Clean Government has two tasks. One. Uncover truth. Two. Administer discipline. As far as uncovering truth is concerned, the prospects are not good. Chen Shui-bian has repeatedly appeared on television, making lame excuses before the public. The Committee for Clean Government is unlikely to uncover information not already made public. In the end, the only response it will be able to offer is that it will "respect the findings of the justice system." Therefore the real role of the Committee for Clean Government will be to administer discipline. Many people think that means expulsion from the party. But so far the DPP has been evading that responsibility, saying merely that it will "respect the findings of the justice system." The DPP may not have the guts to do anything so drastic as expell Chen from the party, even though it should. Disagreement rages within the party over whether to support A Bian or oppose A Bian. Therefore the Committee for Clean Government's disciplinary measures must sacrifice the demands of justice in order to avoid a schism within the party. In other words, it cannot make a clean break with A Bian. It must make a soft break with A Bian.

A soft break requires Chen Shui-bian to face justice. It also requires that he grant power of attorney to the committee, allowing it to aggressively exercise A Bian's "right to self acquittal."

One the on hand, the Chen family is invoking the "right against self-incrimination." It is refusing to grant the committee the power of attorney. On the other hand, Chen Shui-bian is repeatedly holding press conferences and issuing press releases proclaiming his "right to self acquittal." Obviously such declarations are self-contradictory. If the DPP Committee for Clean Government fails to render a opinion regarding Chen Shui-bian's guilt or innocence, if it fails to make a clean break, it must at least persuade Chen to grant power of attorney, in order to conserve precious judicial resources, and to arrive at the truth as soon as possible.

Chen Shui-bian's main offenses were committed while he was both president and party chairman. If the DPP cannot bring itself to expell Chen Shui-bian from the DPP, it must at least stop covering up for him. The public and the Green Camp both hope that the DPP will urge the Chen family to grant the committee power of attorney. Since the Chen family proclaims its innocence, an audit can only help the Chen family exercise its "right to self-acquittal." What reason can the DPP have for not making such a request of the Chen family? What reason can the Chen family have for not agreeing to such a request?

In fact, the Committee for Clean Government should also urge Wu Shu-chen to appear in court. Whether Wu appears in court is a matter of her own defense strategy. But in terms of political responsibility and justice, the DPP has a responsibility to urge her to do so. By the same token, if Chen Shui-bian refuses to grant power of attorney, that is a matter of his own defense strategy. But in terms of political responsibility and justice, the DPP has a responsibility to urge Chen to do so.

Urging the Chen family to grant power of attorney and allowing the committee to audit the Chen family's accounts, is the least the public has a right to expect from the DPP. The Chen family can choose not to sign. But the DPP cannot turn a deaf ear to society's expectations. Or is the DPP afraid even to ask Chen Shui-bian to prove his innocence?

2008.09.05 02:46 am



主 客觀情勢皆顯示,民進黨非有壯士斷腕的作為,難以振衰起敝。就客觀情勢言,陳水扁涉案的情節不斷升高,相關偵審即將進入高潮,並可預見未來將有數年纏訟, 且陳水扁困獸之鬥的演出必將更形離譜,更難獲社會諒解;民進黨若被陳水扁的訴訟拖著走,不能與之切割,民進黨的內外環境皆不得清靜。就主觀情勢言,八三○ 遊行,綠營已達成「不挺扁」的共識,廉政委員會在這樣的綠營背景下,對陳水扁作出處置,進行切割,可望將對內部的衝擊降至最低,亦將對外部的社會效益升至 最高。尤其,在馬政府主政績效如此低落的情勢下,不少國人皆希望民進黨能早日跳出扁案的陰影,俾使兩黨制衡早日回歸正常。在包庇陳水扁及回應社會正義之 間,民進黨必須作出抉擇。

廉政會的工作不外兩部分:一、揭示真相;二、作出處分。就揭示真相言,不易樂觀;陳水扁在電視上多次向社會詳述 他的說辭,廉政會不可能獲得超越的資訊,最後也只能以「尊重司法偵審」為託辭;因而,廉政會的功能應在處分部分。談到處分,許多人認為是指「開除黨籍」 等,但民進黨迄今的託辭一直是「尊重司法偵審」,恐怕未必作得出「開除黨籍」之類的處分(其實應當開除);於是,在黨內「挺扁/反扁」意見分歧的情勢下, 廉政會的處分,必須在「避免分裂/社會公義」之間,尋找平衡點。也就是說,若不能「剛性切割」,亦須設法「柔性切割」。


陳 家一方面運用「沒有自證有罪的義務」,拒絕簽署查帳授權書;另一方面,陳水扁又頻密發表新聞聲明及召開記者會「自證無罪」,這顯然是自相矛盾的作法。民進 黨廉政會若未便對陳水扁的有罪無罪作出評價(剛性切割),但至少可以勸說陳家授權查帳,以節省司法資源,早日釐清真相(柔性切割)。

陳水 扁的主要犯行皆是他在總統及黨主席任內的作為;民進黨即使不能開除陳水扁,但至少不可包庇陳水扁。如今,社會上及綠營內,皆有希望民進黨促陳家簽署查帳書 的主張;且陳家既自稱無罪,查帳亦只是行使「自證無罪」的權利而已。那麼,民進黨有什麼理由不對陳家作此要求,而陳家又有什麼理由不簽署?



No comments: