Top cop’s hearing in assembly Monday

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Top cop’s hearing in assembly Monday

Opposition parties turned up the heat on National Police Agency chief nominee Cho Hyun-oh, saying he should be fired after making a series of controversial remarks. They also demanded President Lee Myung-bak to comment publicly on the remarks, and vowed to scrutinize the “morality” of all government appointees in the future.

Cho, whose confirmation hearing at the National Assembly is scheduled for Monday, hit the headlines after a video surfaced of a lecture he gave to police officers in March in which he said that former President Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide in May 2009 because he was being investigated for large slush funds. In the same speech, Cho, who is currently the Seoul police chief, said the families of the 46 sailors killed in the sinking of a warship in March mourned too publicly, “like cows and pigs.”

The floor leaders of the Democratic, New Jinbo, Democratic Labor and Creative Korea parties met yesterday morning and demanded President Lee withdraw Cho’s nomination.

In a joint statement, the parties demanded Lee “make public his official position on Cho’s controversial remarks and revamp recurring problems in the government appointment system” in order to filter out inappropriate candidates like Cho.

“If President Lee doesn’t accept our requests, we will come up with every possible means to make a joint protest,” the floor leaders said.

The parties will hold a rally with officials of the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation at Myeongdong Cathedral on Thursday to demand Cho’s dismissal and arrest for defamation.

The National Assembly’s Public Administration and Security Committee scheduled Cho’s confirmation hearing for Monday, although DP lawmakers boycotted the meeting.

The ruling Grand National Party said Cho should be given a chance to explain himself at the hearing.

In a radio interview with local broadcasters YTN and KBS, GNP spokesman Ahn Hyoung-Hwan said Cho should make a sincere apology to bereaved family members of the sailors who died in the Cheonan warship attack in March. Ahn warned opposition parties to refrain from making further political gains from the Cho scandal.

“It’s the lawmaker’s job to verify the truth at the hearing,” Ahn said.

After media coverage of Cho’s speech, prosecutors who investigated former President Roh for bribery flatly denied Cho’s assertion about slush funds in accounts opened in other people’s names. Roh’s supporters said they will sue Cho for defamation. The families of the Cheonan victims have also threatened to sue Cho for defamation.

By By Kim Mi-ju []
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