Park must comply with subpoenaPark Jie-won, floor leader of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP), has vowed not to comply with the prosecution’s second subpoena as he faces charges of accepting bribes totaling 100 million won ($87,500) from two executives of insolvent savings banks. But this persistent refusal to accept the prosecution’s call constitutes an outright dismissal of our judicial system by Park, who served as both chief presidential secretary and culture and sports minister under the former Kim Dae-jung administration.
Park and his party have suggested that prosecutors may be attempting to fabricate the case, citing the example of former Chairwoman Han Myung-sook, who was found not guilty despite being indicted twice on bribery charges. However, they seem to have forgotten that Han deigned to appear for questioning.
The prosecution seems to be within its rights in summoning Park as the order follows its probe. In light of the testimony provided by executives at savings banks, during which they claim they gave money to Park, prosecutors have no choice but to question him. If Park is innocent, as he insists, this would also be the easiest way to clear away any suspicions. And this is precisely what voters want to see from a political leader. The ongoing special session of the Assembly will end on Aug. 3. But the DUP must refrain from calling for another extraordinary session immediately afterwards in order to stop Park from being questioned. Rather than reigniting public outrage over the “bullet-proof” nature of the Assembly, lawmakers must let prosecutors execute a subpoena by guaranteeing a short recess before they convene a special session. If not, Park cannot be summoned without his peers’ consent.
An arrest motion for Chung Doo-un, a Saenuri Party lawmaker also embroiled in bribery cases, was vetoed by a majority of representatives in the Assembly. But he has promised to appear at the court when the prosecution files a request for his arrest warrant after the special session is over. Park should follow in his footsteps.
More lawmakers are likely to be summoned by the prosecution on charges of corruption involving saving banks and violations of the election law during the last legislative election. If a political heavyweight like the floor leader of a mammoth party vehemently resists being subpoenaed, it will shake the very foundation of our justice system.