A nonsensical petitionThe lead-up to the Blue House’s decision to submit to the National Human Rights Commission a public petition to investigate possible human rights violations by the prosecution in the course of its investigation of the family of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk raises many suspicions. The Blue House announced that it had referred the petition to the commission after it received 226,434 signatures on the issue on the Blue House page since Oct. 15. (The Blue House has set a guideline to answer to petitions with more than 200,000 signatures.) Fortunately, the Blue House withdrew the petition, saying it was sent to the commission by mistake.
Nevertheless, the Blue House’s original motive to submit the public petition to the commission rings alarms on many fronts. First of all, the commission’s inspection of a case under a prosecutorial probe and court trial could influence the judiciary process. The society also suffered enough from the lengthy controversy over Cho and his family. The petitioners claimed the rights of Cho’s wife and children have been infringed through the disclosure of their private life and documents. Yet there are complaints over preferential treatment towards Chung Kyung-sim, Cho’s wife, for discreet questioning and a closed-door trial process. Few people would understand why the president’s chief of staff had to personally file the complaint with the commission despite its withdraw a day later.
The action came while the Blue House and the political heavyweight-turned Justice Minister are pitted against the prosecution over the latest reshuffle which replaced or demoted most of the top prosecutors under Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl who spearheaded probes on Cho and the Blue House. There were sneers about whether the Blue House would submit a similar public petition on former President Park Geun-hye or Chung Yoo-ra — daughter of Park’s secret friend Choi Soon-sil who brought down the Park administration — if the petition gathers more than 200,000 signatures.
The Blue House civilian petition page has repeatedly been questioned for its service and reliability in fairness. There have been questions about how many of the petition selections are to the Blue House’s liking. The Blue House only pays attention to issues that favor its policies to make them look as if they represent the public consensus. This kind of lopsided attitude should be avoided.
JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 14, Page 34