President Ma has breached separation of powers by unlawful means!

On Sept. 9, Chair Su Tseng-chang of the Democratic Progressive Party attended a meeting in the Legislative Yuan to consult with DPP legislators on their views regarding the upcoming legislative session. Following the meeting, Chair Su along with the members of DPP legislative caucus spoke to the public, as highlighted below:

Chair Su said that President Ma has employed illegal means in carrying out a crude political manipulation to defeat a political rival and expand his own power. “The constitutional crisis ignited by President Ma himself has shocked the country and is most regrettable.” President Ma must come out to directly address and clarify his role.

In order to maintain the constitutional system of governance, protect human rights, and allow Taiwan to move forward instead of sinking ever downward, Chair Su raises the following points:

First of all, this colossal scandal demonstrates that Taiwan has returned to the White Terror era, in which “the opposition party and the people are under permanent surveillance.” Legislator Ker Chien-ming is the whip of the DPP’s legislative caucus, yet they have carried out this long-term wiretapping of his phones without even bringing charges against him, which undoubtedly provided the government access to all of the internal operations of the DPP. This type of surveillance of the movements of the opposition is illegal and absolutely unacceptable in a democracy. It is an even more serious matter than the Watergate scandal in the U.S. from years ago—more abominable, and more intolerable. “We must ask President Ma, who else are you wiretapping and for how long?”

Prosecutor-General Mr. Huang Shih-ming has publicly admitted this morning that the relevant case was initially classified as a criminal matter, the investigation of which was concluded on Sept. 5. However, on Aug. 30, Prosecutor-General Huang reported his findings to President Ma. “Isn’t this an illegal breach of the confidentiality of ongoing investigations?” President Ma not only did not avoid getting involved with the issue, he in fact intervened with the judiciary and interfered with the proceeding of an individual case, committing a serious violation of the principle of separation of powers and causing an enormous crisis of constitutional governance. “President Ma, what exactly did you say in that meeting on Aug. 30? What directions did you give to Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming? Could it be that President Ma is not accountable to provide a clear explanation of these events to the various sectors of society?”

With regard to President Ma’s accusations toward DPP Legislator Ker Chien-ming, we maintain that “Mr. Ker has been acquitted of the charges against him. Since the verdict was not guilty, there was no need for him to seek to influence any further proceedings.” Moreover, the other party to the case has also denied being lobbied by Mr. Ker, nor have the investigatory authorities questioned that other party in connection with this matter. Therefore, the most basic elements of an influence peddling case cannot even be established. “I detest influence peddling,” and would not protect or justify it among my own staff. “But whether influence peddling occurred is not dependent on President Ma’s word, nor on the basis of his judgment. It requires an examination of the factual evidence, in accordance with established legal procedures.” Ironically, it is President Ma himself who has created chaos with arbitrary and unlawful interference. His unconstitutional and illegal actions, and the use of unlawful means to carry out political infighting and suppress dissent, are all extremely serious matters.

President Ma has employed illegal means in carrying out a crude political manipulation to defeat a political rival and enhance his own power. President Ma himself is responsible for this constitutional crisis; he must come out to directly address and clarify his role. The DPP is united in its resolve to protect human rights and uphold the constitutional separation of powers. We demand that President Ma give a clear accounting of his actions.