What Should Wang Jin-pyng Do Next?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
September 9, 2013
Summary: Wang Jin-pyng will be returning from abroad. Charges that he exerted undue influence on the legal system are growing louder. How will Wang Jin-pyng account for his actions? What will he do next? The answers to these questions wil determine how the case against him unfolds. This case has already inflicted considerable damage to Wang Jin-pyng himself and to the nation's constitutional framework. Let us hope that what Wang Jin-pyng does next, minimizes the damage to himself and to the nation.
Full text below:
Wang Jin-pyng will be returning from abroad. Charges that he exerted undue influence on the legal system are growing louder. How will Wang Jin-pyng account for his actions? What will he do next? The answers to these questions wil determine how the case against him unfolds.
Two possibiliities come to mind. One, Wang Jin-pyng-pying can admit to those wrongdoings that have come to light so far. He can express remorse and apologize for his actions. He can chastise himself. He can help make peace between the ruling and opposition parties. He can help the various parties find closure.
Two. Indications are Wang Jin-pyng has chosen a different path. He apparently intends to repudiate the wrongdoings that have come to light so far. He apparently intends to argue that his phone call "merely offered a few words of comfort to Ker Chien-ming." In other words, Wang Jin-pyng intends to spin his story a different way. He apparently has no intention of assuming political responsibility for the case. If he persists, Wang Jin-pyng could alienate the public and diminish understanding and compassion for him. He could incite Blue vs. Green partisan bickering. He could paint the Ma administration, himself, and the public into a corner. The result could be Mutually Assured Destruction.
The first question one must ask is, what are the facts of the case? Parts of the conversation between himself and Ker Chien-ming made public so far prove that "Wang Jin-pyng admitted exerting undue influence on the Ker case, and was later repaid by Ker Chien-ming for what he did." Wang Jin-pyng does not deny making the statements over the phone. But he insists they were "merely words of comfort to Ker Chien-ming." He denied having exerted an undue influence upon Tseng Yung-fu and others. He said he "merely offered a few empty words of comfort to Ker Chien-ming." Tseng Yung-fu and Chen Shou-huang however, said that Wang Jin-pyng never personally talked to them about Ker's case. Tseng Yung-fu said Wang mentioned the fact that the Ministry of Justice budget was stalled in the legislature. Wang Jin-pyng cannot deny that he exerted undue influence on the Ker case. The facts make it impossible for Wang to claim that he was merely offering words of comfort to Ker Chien-ming. His "words of comfort" spin control cannot change the fact that he exerted undue pressure.
Wang Jin-pyng insists he was "merely offering words of comfort to Ker Chien-ming." Wang's crisis management approach is a textbook case of "squid ink tactics." It is not a wise approach. The Special Investigation Unit has recording of three phone calls between Wang Jin-pyng, Tseng Yung-fu, and Chen Shou-huang. It has yet to publish the transcripts. But that does not mean it is unaware of what was said. If Wang Jin-pyng is determined to turn the controversy into a debate about whether he "actually exerted undue influence," he could force the SIU to release those telephone transcripts. That would paint the parties involved into an even smaller corner.
At this point, how should Wang Jin-pyng deal with the matter? The President of the Legislative Yuan is also the Chief Convener of the ruling party legislative caucus. He personally exerted undue influence on the Minister of Justice and the Chief Prosecutor's Office. This is a major incident with constitutional implications. Wang Jin-pyng has four political responsibilities. First, the Legislative Yuan has undermined the constitution's "tripartite separation of powers." Secondly, the President of the Legislative Yuan and the Chief Convener of the DPP legislative caucus have undermined the Legislative Yuan's constitutional ethics and public honor. Thirdly, Wang Jin-pyng is a ruling party legislator without portfolio who is also President of the Legislative Yuan. If he is found guilty of significant constitutional violations, he must answer to the ruling party. Fourthly, judicial independence is the supreme goal of constitutional governance. The public demands it. Wang Jin-pyng must answer to the public in an appropriate manner. Given the situation, Wang Jin-pyng must address his own political responsibility. He cannot dismiss the entire affair with a single, "I merely offered a few words of comfort to Ker Chien-ming." Wang Jin-pyng has no room for denials. He cannot make the same mistakes over again.
Some are already saying that Wang Jin-pyng should resign. In fact, this is precisely what Wang Jin-pyng should do, for the nation, for the constitution, for the dignity of the Legislative Yuan, and for the independence of the judiciary. This is what he owes them, and this is what the public expects. Unfortunately, this may be too much to expect of him. Instead, Wang Jin-pyng may do one of two things.
One. He can boldly face the facts. He can offer an acceptable explanation. He can admit wrongdoing and apologize. The various parties can then cease stonewalling and obfuscating. He can seek public understanding and compassion. He can seize the initiative. As a party member, he can ask the KMT Central Committee to mete out the proper punishment. This would put the ball in Ma Ying-jeou's court. How would Ma deal with it? That may depend on how convincing Wang is before the public. If this happens, the various parties may be able to resolve the matter quickly and avoid digging themselves in even deeper.
Two. Wang Jin-pyng can evade the facts. He can cling to his "I was merely offering a few words of comfort to Ker Chien-ming" spin control. He can encourage the various parties to continue stonewalling and obfuscating. Wang's public image could become even more tarnished. The various parties could find themselves in even tighter quarters. Wang Jin-pyng could turn his personal political crisis into a vicious Blue vs. Green political struggle, one leading to Mutually Assured Destruction.
This case has already inflicted considerable damage to Wang Jin-pyng himself and to the nation's constitutional framework. Let us hope that what Wang Jin-pyng does next, minimizes the damage to himself and to the nation.
2013.09.09 01:56 am