Whip dons crusader costume, vows end to ‘secret police’

The China Post news staff

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) yesterday pressed charges against Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘), vowing to put an end to the “reign of secret police” and restore constitutional order. Ker said that the DPP is being persecuted by the “Ma-Jiang outfit” and that the lawsuit marks a critical juncture for the party’s survival. Previously, during an interpellation session, Ker said to Huang: “You’re already dead.” The narrative being constructed here is quite clear. It is essentially a crusade story, and the level of self-righteousness displayed by the principal actors is rather applause-worthy. Let us rewind to the beginning. In response to accusations of influence peddling, Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) admitted that he had called ex-Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and Taiwan High Prosecutors Office Chief Prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) to remind them of a legislative resolution concerning malicious prosecution, as opposed to telling them to make sure that the prosecutor in charge of Ker’s case didn’t file an appeal. The former is called a friendly reminder; the latter is called influence peddling. What is strange is that the legislative resolution was made over a year ago. That the speaker suddenly felt the urge to remind the Justice Ministry of this particular resolution and at that particular time, i.e. right before the prosecutor made the decision to appeal or not, is rather interesting. What is even more interesting is that Wang has yet to feel the need to address this issue, especially when we know that the prosecutor in charge of Ker’s case, Lin Hsiu-tao (林秀濤), was specifically named in the wiretapped conversations; still the speaker proclaims innocence. Those who doubt that there was influence peddling involved are simply not exercising their faculty of reasoning. Those who actually believe that Wang had called the head of the Justice Ministry to remind him of a legislative resolution in the midst of Ker’s lawsuit for the sake of reminding the Justice Ministry of a legislative resolution and nothing else are being naive. Since the incident did not involve violations of the Criminal Code, it falls under the Legislative Yuan’s jurisdiction to determine if Ker had violated the Legislature’s regulations. Those who believe that the Legislature can actually come to a fair and impartial conclusion on a case concerning one of its own, through terms and regulations written by itself, are probably being a tad naive, too. It is widely known and said that Wang “does favors” for lawmakers across party lines. Those who don’t already begin with the assumption that legislators might not appear to be as upright and honest as they claim are optimists in the extreme. All are innocent until proven guilty, but when politics are concerned, one might do well to practice skepticism. Each politician involved in this crisis is trying to sell you a story. You may very well find one version of this crusade narrative more convincing than others. Unless you are one of the players on the stage, you will acquire most of your information on this case through newspapers, TV or the Internet. Journalists are required to be objective as possible, and can only repeat in their articles what the players say themselves. Look at the facts and read between the lines. The way that this plot has so far unfolded seems to suggest this: Corruption is a necessary evil to ensure government stability. There is no right or wrong, or at least the people don’t seem to care as long as the person in question is popular. Those who are deserving of punishment will likely be let off the hook through technicalities, while those who are actually trying to do the right thing will be punished for “persecution.”