The truth shall set you freePresident Park Geun-hye has delayed the investigation schedule to next week after waging a war of tension with state prosecutors who had wished to question the president by Friday before they indict her controversial friend, Choi Soon-sil, on multiple charges, including state-meddling. Although delayed, the first-ever criminal investigation of an active president remains intact. What is important now is how sincere the president will be during the investigation into abuses of power and influence in state affairs by unauthorized figures.
Park’s lawyer, Yoo Yeong-ha, has said that the president will be ready for an investigation next week. He emphasized that the president was fully willing to cooperate with the probe. His explanation comes as the Park camp is suspected of trying to buy time to build a stronger defense.
The president stands at the heart of various allegations surrounding Choi. She is suspected to have been behind the leak of classified state materials, the creation of two nonprofit organizations, the Mi-R and K Sports foundations, and their fund-raising activities. She is also suspected of possibly bullying conglomerate heads and interfering in institutional appointments through her economic senior secretary. Donations are suspected to have been made while an imprisoned chaebol owner was hoping to get a special pardon from the president. The president must answer to all these allegations.
It will all come down to the will of the president, who will come under the test of history and the Constitution. She has an obligation to tell the truth to the people before she calculates her well-being. She must be specific as to what she has and has not done. She must not think she can wiggle out by apologizing for having befriended the wrong kind of people or because she had innocent intentions.
Choi and her senior secretary for policy coordination, An Chong-bum, will be indicted and referred to court on charges of abusing power and leaking classified information. How the prosecution mentions the role of the president in its arraignment could indicate the direction of its investigation concerning the president.
The prosecution must be bold enough to mention the suspected role of Park in its petition to the court, keeping in mind that people are closely watching its every move.
The legislature passed the law to form a separate team of independent counselors to investigate the matter. The president cannot hide the truth, as she faces judgment from state and independent prosecutors, as well as the people. Telling the truth will be her only salvation.
JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 8, Page 30