Probe the president thoroughly

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Probe the president thoroughly

President Park Geun-hye is expected to agree to sit for questioning by state prosecutors. Given her title and security issues as the active president, she will be interrogated in a place other than the prosecution office. Prosecutors said the timing was important and not the place. They must draw a confession from Park that she condoned or colluded with her friend Choi Soon-sil’s influence-peddling and forcible fund-raising from large companies before they issue indictment of Choi on Saturday.

There has been dispute in the way the first-ever prosecution questioning of an active president should proceed. Some think making the president go through the excruciating ritual of stopping for a photo session and facing hounding by journalists and the public is too cruel, while others argue that nobody, including the president, should be considered an exception in the face of the law.

The crowd of one million citizens who called for her to step down gathered in a common wish to rebuild a nation of equal justice. The president would feel the being subjected to a prosecution probe is humiliating. But given the gravity of the situation and public anger, she should think about surrendering all the prerogatives and walking into the prosecution office to comply with questioning if her gesture can help to relief the people of some of the anger and sense of betrayal.

There has been suspicion about the prosecution hastily arranging questioning of the president before Choi’s indictment on Saturday. The people see the Choi scandal as the abuse of power by Park. What Choi did is not the key matter. It is the president who should speak for the way she or her aides handed over classified state materials to Choi, interfered with the creation and operation of two fund-raising foundations, made appointments under the request of Choi, and profiteered from various business stakes in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Park must explain whether she demanded money during a tete-a-tete with seven conglomerate heads, kicked out CJ Group Vice Chairman Lee Mie-kyung, and damaged government systems by running ministries for her benefit.

How thoroughly and willingly the state prosecution probed Choi and Park would be exposed through the independent investigation. It must hunt down how the president had abused her power and the Constitution.

JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 15, Page 30
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