Justice will prevailThe prosecutorial probe on former Justice Minister Cho Kuk is expected to lose some of its steam after the request for an arrest warrant was denied. The court rejection of the request could raise questions about the prosecutions claims against Cho.
The Seoul Eastern District Court turned down the prosecutors’ request for pretrial detention because it did not find Cho to be in danger of destructing evidence or fleeing during investigation. The judge also worried about the impact on the family if the father and the mother were behind bars.
The court’s denial of physical detention does not clear Cho from the criminal charges or raise doubts about the justice behind the prosecutorial probe. The court agreed that the Blue House order to suspend an inspection on corruption charges on former Busan vice mayor Yoo Jae-soo hurt the country’s law system and fair execution of state governance. It agreed to the questions raised by the prosecution but decided against sending Cho to prison in respect for his family woes.
The Blue House interpreted the decision was in its favor. Presidential spokeswoman Ko Min-jung said the ruling underscored the unreasonableness of the prosecution’s request for an arrest warrant. The ruling party also applauded the decision as a “reasonable” judgment in tune with public sentiment.
The opposition demanded the prosecution to press ahead with a thorough investigation regardless of the warrant setback to find out the highest rank to order the suspension in the inspection on Yoo. The prosecution suspects the court under Supreme Court Chief Justice Kim Myeong-su appointed by President Moon Jae-in was out to protect the administration.
Many also believe Cho played a part in the illegal college entries of his children and management of the family fund. He is also suspected of being involved in the Blue House meddling in an inspection on a former Busan mayor and a mayoral election in Ulsan. The prosecution is also probing the play of favoritism in granting loans to Wooridul Hospital with historical loyalty to the ruling front. The government has not given any answer to the allegations. People are now asking how the liberal government is any different from past conservative governments.
It has repeated the corrupt practice of using its influence with state power to get its people elected. Public disappointment is greater because people had elected Moon after devoting an entire winter to rallying for the impeachment of a president who had abused her power. The unremorseful statement from the presidential office after Cho’s arrest warrant was denied suggests the Blue House remains oblivious to public sentiment.
Cho admitted that he had received many calls while his office was inspecting former Busan mayor. The investigation may not end with Cho. The ruling force must not attempt to interrupt the investigation with the pretext of prosecutorial reform. It must not undermine the investigation through criticism just because arrest warrant was denied. Justice always prevails.
JoongAng Sunday, Dec. 28, Page 34