[EDITORIALS]Spurning the Assembly

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[EDITORIALS]Spurning the Assembly

Speculation has risen that acquaintances and relatives of President Roh Moo-hyun who were asked to appear at National Assembly hearings may have coordinated their decisions not to show up as witnesses. Four witnesses faxed documents explaining why they would not appear to the National Policy Committee, but the faxes were sent from the same place at the same time.
What is going on here? Whatever it is, it was enough to lead the opposition Grand National Party to suggest that the Blue House may well have arranged the wave of no-shows. If the Blue House did press for that action and drafted the letters, the problem becomes more grave; it means that working behind the scenes, the Blue House tampered with the hearings.
Mr. Roh’s older brother, Roh Geon-pyeong; a brother of the latter man’s wife; the former president of the bottled water company that Mr. Roh previously owned and a former Blue House secretary are central figures who could testify about the whiff of corruption allegations surrounding Mr. Roh. They have complained about the opposition party and coverage by the media, which makes us wonder why they would refuse an opportunity to publicly clear their names and defend their positions.
The reasons they gave were lame. Most of the potential witnesses said that they could not respond to the Assembly’s request because the law stipulates that witnesses should receive a notice from the Assembly a week in advance; they said their notices came six days prior to the hearing.
One man, Kang Geum-won, did appear, but his emotional behavior irked rather than answered any questions. Granted, the Assembly made him cool his heels for hours, but he should not have chastised the committee by saying, “With this laxity, you would be fired if you were in business.”
The relationship between the Blue House and the Assembly has deteriorated since the new political party was formed. This slight must be looked into, and it must be made clear whether the Blue House had a hand in the witnesses’ decision not to attend.
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