[EDITORIALS]Roh’s words need action

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[EDITORIALS]Roh’s words need action

At a luncheon with journalists who cover the Blue House, President Roh Moo-hyun said he opposed an investigation into irregularities involving the 1997 presidential campaign fund. He said past wrongdoings shouldn’t be glossed over and buried, but they should be settled at some point. “Probing into the 1997 presidential candidates is not something to hold on to forever,” he said.
Then, he said, “Doesn’t it show our society’s common sense that the public isn’t demanding another investigation of 1997 presidential candidates just because new irregularities were disclosed?”
He is right. Investigations were conducted under the previous administration and people responsible were held accountable, so it makes no sense that such a case should be reinvestigated. Moreover, illegal wiretaps can’t be grounds for a new investigation.
At an earlier stage of the “X-file” incident, the prosecution stuck to this principle. But because of the Blue House and the governing Uri Party, prosecutors recently started to examine the investigation records of tax scandals related to the 1997 presidential campaign fund. Because the party has submitted special legislation to allow the release of illegal wiretaps, the prosecution was obliged to re-examine related records in case the law is enacted.
After all this fuss, President Roh said he was against another investigation of 1997 presidential campaign funds. Naturally, the opposition criticized him, saying, “Is this out of intention to gloss over the mistakes of the previous administration?” and “Isn’t this to keep an investigation from spreading to the 2002 campaign fund irregularities?”
President Roh said, “[If the prosecutors investigate the 1997 campaign fund scandal again], won’t they think that I, the president, am too harsh to those involved?” Many people expressed concerns that Mr. Roh’s words could influence the prosecution’s investigation, and using words like “harsh” makes it sound as if the president is granting favors to the opposition party.
If Mr. Roh really opposes a second investigation, he can take measures to stop one, like having the Uri Party withdraw the special legislation on illegal tapes. If the president had taken firm measures like this, we could have avoided sweeping the whole country into the whirlwind of past wrongdoings. Mr. Roh must put his words into action now.

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