Chen to discuss setting up shooting probe

Amber Wang, TAIPEI, Taiwan, The China Post

President Chen Shui-bian is expected to meet with the heads of the five major government branches today to discuss the establishment of an independent body to investigate the March 19 shooting. President Chen and Vice President Annette Lu survived an assassination attempt on election eve with minor injuries and won the re-election with a razor-thin 0.2 percent margin. The opposition camp has been pushing for special legislation in order to launch an independent probe into the mysterious election-eve shooting, casting doubt over the credibility of any official investigation. The president, during a meeting with DPP secretary-general Chang Chun-hsiung and caucus whip Ker Chien-ming, reportedly said he is not afraid of an independent investigation because the shooting was not staged. He has listed three prerequisites for setting up the special investigation committee: no violation of the constitutional system; no violation of the judicial powers; and no violation of the powers of the Control Yuan, which is in charge of audit and impeachment. The special investigation body will not fall under the Presidential Office or the Executive Yuan, and the president himself will not interfere with its work.

And an impartial and credible person will be entrusted to lead the special committee, which may include lawmakers, members of the Control Yuan or representatives of the opposition on condition that they are approved by both the ruling and opposition camps, according to Chang.

This was the first time President Chen gave his consent to an independent investigation into the 3-19 shooting. Lawmaker Ker said the president made the decision after consulting several officials involved in the government’s investigation of the election-eve shooting. Vice President Lu is said to be the driving force for the creation of the special committee. Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng of the Kuomintang (KMT) yesterday declined to comment on the matter, but noted that the KMT and its ally People First Party (PFP) have proposed special legislation to form an impartial, independent investigation committee. Wang suggested Control Yuan President Fredrick Chien to lead the ad hoc committee, calling himself an inappropriate candidate for the job.

Besides Wang and Chien, Premier Yu Shyi-kun, Judicial Yuan President Weng Yueh-sheng and Examination Yuan President Yao Chia-wen are expected to meet with the president today for discussions on the matter. The opposition’s proposal for special legislation to create an independent investigation agency is expected to be voted on during an extra legislative session scheduled for August 16. The opposition insisted that a law must be passed to give proper authority to the investigators.