Where Are the Resignations?

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Where Are the Resignations?

All Wrongdoers Must Be Held Accountable for Their Deeds

It seems that the trend of not taking accountability for acts of wrongdoing is becoming the order of the day in Korean bureaucratic society. Based on a conventional judgment of the nation''s current situation, strings of resignation letters should have been submitted, but not a single person has done so.

Let''s look at the prosecution first.

The opposition''s bid to impeach the prosecutor general might have ended in failure after the ruling Millennium Democratic Party put up a physical blockade in disregard of the law and its dignity, but this does not mean the prosecutor general has nothing to answer for.

That the ruling party blocked the impeachment bid is proof that the motion would have passed if it had been put to a vote. The MDP would not have resorted to such an irregular measure if it had been confident of the outcome. This means that the majority of parliamentary legislators were in favor of impeaching the prosecution.

The prosecution''s integrity is in tatters and it is a subject of public mistrust, criticism and scorn, the result of its compromised investigations into a number of corruption scandals involving government figures.

There is a broad public consensus that the prosecution must be overhauled.

If this is how matters stand, someone must take the blame. The prosecutor general couldn''t be more wrong if he thinks he is off the hook and has nothing to answer for, simply because he was not legally impeached. This would allow the prosecution to remain in its current state.

Even though the prosecutor general might not be wholly to blame for the crisis gripping the prosecution, it is only right that he resign under the circumstances.

How is he going to justify the prosecution''s shortcomings to the public or hold up his face before the prosecutors under him?

He should allay the public outrage and give the prosecution an opportunity to revamp itself by resigning voluntarily. His resignation would be one way of undoing the parliamentary paralysis that has set in over the impeachment motion.

Then there is the justice minister, who has the power to appoint prosecutors and the political responsibility for judicial administration at the National Assembly. Is he not to blame at all?

I believe the minister should feel a political and moral responsibility for the prosecution''s having become what it is today. At least, I hope someone with this minimal sense of responsibility is serving as a minister in this country.

Perhaps the ruling party executives are congratulating themselves for having aborted the impeachment bill, but they should also resign from their positions.

The MDP locked up the parliamentary speaker to block the opposition''s impeachment bid.

If it is not made to answer for committing this unheard-of act, the party has no hopes of establishing discipline and law in this country.

The MDP lost all its credibility and its chances of winning in the next election by breaking the law in the fracas over the impeachment motion.

There are also scores of others who should step down from their positions but have not.

A janitor at the presidential Blue House pocketed substantial money in bribery. One of his supervisors should have resigned, taking responsibility for such an incredible act of corruption, but none has done so.

People tend to refrain from littering if the streets are clean and orderly. Could the janitor have been impelled to corruption, taking a hint from what was going on inside the house he was cleaning?

There is also the tainted financial watchdog.

A director who took bribes committed suicide and an assistant governor was locked behind bars. No more measures are being taken to clear up lingering suspicions. The financial watchdog supposedly in charge of overseeing financial institutions showed that it is the first in line to be reformed, and everyone involved has to be made strictly accountable.

Nobody has been made to do so yet.

It seems the top echelon of the watchdog believes it can pass the buck to its predecessor since the corruption had been committed during its time.

It appears to be trying to gloss over the whole affair, without cleaning up the mess.

The government states it is going to launch an all-out war against corruption. I don''t know how effective that is going to be when the problems lie within the government itself.

How are the prosecution that had been almost impeached and the foul-smelling financial watchdog going to crack down on anybody?

The first step in establishing discipline in a society is to implement responsible politics and administration. Those who committed acts of wrongdoing in any organization must be held accountable, if discipline is to be tightened.

This cannot happen if politics and the state administration are implemented only based on instructions issued from the top. The people following them blindly are not likely to feel any sense of responsibility.

A number of people at government agencies should be writing their letters of resignation, but none are doing so.

Perhaps they were instructed not to write one.

The writer is a senior editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.


by Song Chin-hyok

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