[EDITORIALS]Answer the summonsThe opposition Grand National Party has ― we think wrongly ― ordered two of its legislators, Representatives Park Joo-cheon and Lim Jin-chool, to resist summonses from the prosecution. Regardless of whether the allegations against the two legislators are true, the pair should immediately appear before the prosecution out of respect of equality before the law. The lawmakers should not proclaim their innocence to the general public, but tell it to the prosecutors and not hide behind legislative immunity.
Legislative immunity was established here to protect lawmakers from oppression by authoritarian governments, not to shield them from bribery allegations.
Political oppression machinery no longer functions here, so why should the majority party in the National Assembly respond politically to a prosecution investigation?
Past authoritarian regimes did use the prosecution to fabricate cases to intimidate opposition lawmakers. Recently, the leader of the governing party refused a prosecution summons, saying that it was politically inspired and related to the efforts to realign national politics. Now the opposition also says it suspects political motivation behind this investigation.
If it is true, as the party claims, that the prosecutors have not told the lawmakers what allegations they face, the prosecution has erred and should correct that mistake immediately. But the prosecution, since the beginning of this administration, has tried hard to shield itself from outside political pressures.
It is well known that these two legislators have received money from the Hyundai group, and they should face a prosecution investigation to determine whether the money was in return for favors. That would also give them a chance to demonstrate their innocence. If the investigation becomes entangled in politics, the party can fight that problem when it happens. The public will not sympathize with lawmakers who blast the prosecution as they hide behind legislative immunity. The National Assembly is not a hiding place for lawmakers suspected of bribery; the party should act as if it understands that.
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