The China Post news staff
The ruling Kuomintang (KMT) has decided to include the theme of “pushing judicial reforms and fighting corruption” in a scheduled mass rally in Taipei this Sunday in Taipei. KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung confirmed the new plan concerning the rally titled “Walking for Taipei” with an aim to prop up support for the party’s candidates in the elections in five special municipalities on Nov. 27. But the rally will now enable people in Taiwan to voice their views on the issues related to judicial reforms and corruption after a panel of judges at the Taipei District Court acquitted former President Chen Shui-bian on Friday of charges of bribe-taking in connection with two major bank mergers during his second term in office. King said the society will have a fair judgment on the matter. He called for prosecutors, if they appeal the court’s decision, to probe the case deeper and not to fail to live up to the people’s aspiration for judicial justice. President Ma Ying-jeou, who doubles as KMT chairman, continued to decline to comment on the verdict handed down by the court two days earlier. Ma did, however, make a number of remarks yesterday about Taiwan’s need for judicial reforms. A nation’s judicial system should not isolate itself from society, nor renege on the people’s expectations from the judiciary, he noted. Some KMT supporters have shifted their anger at the verdict onto Ma for his “impotence” in dealing with Chen’s many cases involving corruption. Some said the KMT leadership’s feebleness risks losing votes in the upcoming elections. Many supporters for the KMT said they plan to give the KMT a lesson with ballots or simply do not go to the polling stations to protest the party’s lack of determination of pushing forward judicial reforms. Feeling the heat from KMT supporters and the public, Ma’s spokesman Lo Chih-chiang said the Presidential Office will refrain from making comments on the court verdict because it should be judged by the society while prosecutors can appeal the ruling for a new trial in the legal procedure. But Lo blasted the portion concerning presidential powers in the court ruling.
In its verdict, the judges said that Chen should be exonerated because financial reforms did not fall under the constitutional jurisdiction of the president, although he did have accepted huge financial contributions. The verdict also criticized Ma for making comments on certain public issues that were not included in the presidential authority. Lo said it was a bizarre comparison between Ma’s expressing his concern about people’s livelihood and Chen’s taking huge sum of money from financial corporations.