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Scrap this bill

Dec 30,2019
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) is poised to pass a highly controversial bill aimed at establishing an extra law enforcement agency focusing on investigating high-level government officials, including judges and prosecutors, on Monday. Following its railroading last week of a far-reaching electoral reform bill even without the participation of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP), the DP is now threatening to pass another inflammable piece of legislation on its own.

A revised bill on the establishment of a special law enforcement body — led by Rep. Park Ju-min, a DP lawmaker and a former member of the liberal Lawyers for a Democratic Society, and proposed by Rep. Yoon So-ha of the progressive Justice Party — is nothing but an ill-intended bill, as it was packaged to help the paramount electoral reform bill pass the National Assembly. The bill setting up an extra investigative agency makes us wonder if lawmakers from the DP and the four minor oppositions aligned with it really respect the core values of democracy.

The bill was originally proposed by the liberal Roh Moo-hyun administration 17 years ago due to a need for a separate law enforcement agency to dig into corruption among high-level officials, apart from the prosecution office. However, the newly proposed bill is designed to safeguard the powers that be in the name of prosecutorial reforms. The DP along with other minor parties cannot be free from the suspicion that they tried to put the brakes on Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl’s relentless investigations into several cases involving abuse of power, corruption and favoritism in the current Moon Jae-in administration.

Despite deepening concerns about the prosecution’s high-handed investigations of the so-called past evils over the last two and a half years — which eventually led to suicides of an Army general, a prosecutor and a lawyer — the ruling camp did not mention “prosecution reforms” at all. Then all of a sudden, the DP attempts to prevent the prosecution from digging up its own dirt through the bill.

The bill mandates prosecutors to immediately inform the special law enforcement agency of corruption among high government officials once they discover it and to comply with the agency’s request to send such cases to it. That’s not all. The bill allows a president to appoint the head of the special agency, while guaranteeing prosecutors and investigators to work for up to 9 and 12 years, respectively. Isn’t the act aimed at ensuring a strain-free administration this time and later on? Can such a bill help achieve the goal of prosecutorial reform?

We urge the LKP and the four sidekicks to reconsider the half-baked bill. Our Constitution upholds the basic principles of democracy. This monstrous bill should be scrapped once and for all.