[EDITORIALS]Shameless on both sides

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[EDITORIALS]Shameless on both sides

The prosecution's probe into allegations that Lee Jung-yeon, the eldest son of Lee Hoi-chang, the Grand National Party's presidential candidate, bribed his way out of his military duty was ended Friday for what prosecutors cited as a "lack evidence." The closing of the investigation, which had gone on for 80 days, is expected to be followed by more legal action, with 20 or so related lawsuits, including libel suits.

The high-profile draft scandal had snowballed out of proportion to the charge, with the introduction of a recorded tape that the provider, Kim Dae-eop, claimed held evidence of the bribery that allegedly took place. The tape, however, was finally rejected by prosecutors as "unreliable."

One almost feels empty-hearted to see the inquiry end so lamely. Had all that big talk about hard-proof evidence and witnesses been nothing more than empty words, an irresponsible political ploy? Someone has to face the music for the deception, the confusion and the wasting of national resources. Instead of howling foul play, those responsible should voice regret for all the trouble they have caused.

This scandal has led to nothing but negative side effects, such as heightened distrust in society. This case disclosed serious fissures within the investigation, which should not have been revealed to the public. Differences of opinions are bound to exist in any investigation, but the prosecutors had practically flaunted them during this case. Is the public to trust the prosecutors? The divisions within the investigative team, seemingly motivated by political reasons, and discrepancies in reports by one prosecutor and his deputy all disclosed a serious political gap running deep within the prosecution.

The barrage of accusations in the political community was also part of the problem. Must both the Millennium Democratic Party and the Grand National Party have gone to the extreme of visiting the prosecutors office to try to sway the investigation in a direction favorable to their side? Never again should our nation be jerked around as it has been by this scandal.
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