Withdraw Cho nominationThe closely-watched confirmation hearing on justice nominee Cho Kuk was held Friday without much clarity about his involvement in the ethical and possibly criminal charges involving his family. He pleaded innocence and ignorance to the allegations as he did in the self-arranged news conference earlier.
The previous day, the Korean Society of Pathologists announced a retraction in the medical paper that credited Cho’s daughter as the first author — an achievement that contributed to her admission to Korea University. Cho said the decision is something that should concern the research’s head professor Chang Young-pyo and not his daughter. He also gave a bizarre explanation about his daughter receiving scholarships for six consecutive semesters from Pusan National University’s medical school after flunking the first year. He claimed the scholarship was awarded to “encourage” her daughter.
Cho admitted to have caused pain to many people and youths struggling to get into universities and pay for schooling. Yet he claimed he was not involved in any way and promised to make amends through his public service contribution. He sounded like a martyr who sacrificed his family to uphold his duties to his country.
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) went all-out to defend Cho and argue how he is best fit to reform the prosecution. “Prosecutors are now acting as if they are politicians,” said Rep. Lee Cheol-hee, accusing the prosecution of leaking information under investigation. The ruling front has gone too far in meddling with prosecutorial investigation. The Blue House accused the prosecution of investigating Cho and his surrounding as if he is under treason charge and defined the probe as a “witch hunt.” One official said the prosecution was undermining the elected lawmakers and president and denying civilian rights. Just a month ago, the president asked new Prosecutor-general Yoon Seok-youl to be “equally strict on sitting power” when he handed over the certificate of appointment. Is this the same presidential office?
Cho’s scandals have gone beyond ethical issues. Students and universities as well as civilian activist groups where Cho has worked have all issued statements opposing his appointment. The ruling forces and Cho are wrong if they really think Cho’s appointment could be justifiable by pressuring the prosecution. The president must come to a decision to stop this wasteful controversy by withdrawing the nomination.