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The DP is not helping itself

Feb 21,2019
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) publicly criticized the lower court ruling on South Gyeongsang Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo Tuesday, claiming that the verdict immediately placing him behind bars violated the principles of the country’s criminal laws. It held a press conference with law professors arguing that the evidence to convict Kim had been lacking and they questioned the reliability of the testimony from Druking, the blogger Kim Dong-won and ringleader of an online rigging scheme in elections.

They insisted that the conviction of a sitting governor on circumstantial grounds and presumptions was against the charges and detention of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae. The DP went all-out to save the governor once dubbed as the strongest candidate to succeed President Moon Jae-in. DP head Lee Hae-chan urged the court to allow for Kim’s release on bail. Secretary-general Yoon Ho-joon called for public support to pressure the court. This kind of behavior cannot be accepted from the ruling party leadership.

The party is outright disregarding the judiciary’s decision. It is resorting to political mudslinging even as Kim had failed to retort evidence suggesting his collusion with Druking. Since there was no CCTV footage of Kim watching over the computer program automatically organizing posts in favor of Moon, prosecutors had to rely on the testimonies and text messages to prove their point.

The party’s interference undermines the law. The court can draw criticism for its rulings. But complaints must be resolved within the legal boundary. Our Constitution upholds the separation of three powers and law principles. The DP has been questioning the presiding judge since the appeals court bench was formed. If Kim does walk out, the court would come under fire for bowing to the ruling power. If it is so sure, the DP must instead concentrate on building up the defense for Kim to overturn the verdict in the appeals court.

The DP has been abusing its power to influence public opinion and the court. As soon as Kim was arrested, it joined with other civilian groups to hold a massive rally in Gwanghwamun, downtown Seoul, lambasting at individual judges. It has manifested itself as being entirely engrossed with its power with little respect to the public and national dignity. What will ordinary people think watching ruling party members hurling malicious attacks on the judiciary and its ruling? The DP must be aware that it is degrading itself.

JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 20, Page 30