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Ruling party expresses mixed reactions to Chao's indictment

Ruling party expresses mixed reactions to Chao's indictment

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party expressed mixed opinions yesterday on the indictment of the president's son-in-law Chao Chien-ming Monday on insider trading charges, but stressed that it will respect the decisions of the judiciary.DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) said that, in his position, he found it hard to forgive Chao because of the tremendous harm he has caused to the party, but added that the DPP hopes that the judicial authorities will conduct a fair and speedy trial and that justice will prevail.
DPP legislators said that the party now has to go out of its way to rebuild its image of integrity, as Chao's alleged involvement in the case has become ingrained in people's minds.
According to Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), director of the DPP's Department of Culture and Information, Yu thinks that President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) son-in-law has done almost irreparable damage to the party.
Chao was released on NT$10 million bail late Monday, after prosecutors asked that he be given an eight-year prison term for insider trading of Taiwan Development Corp. stocks. Chao's father, Chao Yu-chu was also indicted the same day on the same charge. Prosecutors are seeking a 10-year prison term for Chao Yu-chu. A total of seven people were charged in connection with the insider trading case, but no charges were filed against Chao Chien-ming's mother, brother and sister-in-law, whose bank accounts were used to move funds connected to the alleged criminal acts.
Following his release, the 34-year-old doctor issued a public apology, saying he feels compelled to apologize to all members of the public, the DPP, President Chen, the first lady, and his wife for failing to conduct himself in a discreet and prudent manner.
Tsai quoted Yu as saying that Chao Chien-ming's apology has come "as unbearably heavy" burden to the DPP, that the statement "had no meaning at all, as he has tarnished the party's image of integrity almost beyond repair."
Whatever the court's ruling in the case, the public has already issued a guilty verdict on the DPP, Yu reportedly said.
Yu's response to Chao Chien-ming's apology closely resembled remarks made by opposition "pan-blue" lawmakers, including Kuomintang Legislators Joanna Lei, Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) and Chiu Yi (邱毅), who said Chao Chien-ming was unrepentant and blasted him for "daring to claim that he was innocent when everyone knew that he had failed a polygraph test."
Chiu, who has built up a reputation as a "political muckraker" by frequently holding press conferences to expose "the dark side of the ruling party," told reporters that Chao Chien-ming might think he can still get away with everything because he is "part of the first family, but even royals can have their heads cut off."
Meanwhile, DPP legislative caucus head Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) said the high-profile scandal has seriously dented the credibility of the DPP, whose approval rating has slipped since the scandal first came to light in May.
"The DPP has had to spend more time and do more to explain and prove to the voters that Chao Chien-ming's individual conduct had nothing to do with the DPP's campaign of integrity and reforms, in order to regain the trust of the public," he said.
The lawmaker also dismissed the opposition's charges that the judicial authorities are working with President Chen's plan to indict Chao on charges of insider trading while disregarding his suspected involvement in other alleged criminal cases in order to get the president and the DPP off the political hook.
"The opposition shouldn't interpret the judicial authorities actions as being politically motivated," Chen added.