Veto the bills

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Veto the bills

The ruling Democratic Party’s (DP) efforts to strip the prosecution of its investigative authority have reached the point of no return. On Saturday, the DP passed a revision to the Prosecution Act to deprive the top law enforcement agency of its power to investigate criminal cases and only allow it to retain its power to indict criminal suspects. Investigative authority will be handed over to the police.

The party neutralized vehement resistance from the People Power Party (PPP) by exploiting the National Assembly Act, which mandates lawmakers end protracted filibusters. If the DP also passes a revision to the Criminal Procedure Act in another full meeting on Tuesday as scheduled, the ruling party’s methodical campaign to prevent prosecutors from probing into criminal cases will be completed.

As the DP pushed the revisions over the weekend, PPP lawmakers denounced it, and that was followed by an exchange of insults. The DP took it a step further. It requested the Blue House delay its last Cabinet meeting slated for Tuesday for a few hours so that President Moon Jae-in can promulgate the two revisions in the meeting.

The two revisions are strongly criticized not only by legal minds but also by academics and civic groups due to their apparent unconstitutionality. For instance, the revisions do not allow accusers to file complaints even when the police unilaterally decide not to send their cases to the prosecution. That constitutes a brazen denial of people’s right of access to courts.

Nevertheless, the DP pushes the revisions to block the incoming administration from looking into dirt on the party, the government and the Blue House. If President Moon promulgates the two contentious bills on Tuesday, the prosecution must end its ongoing investigations into explosive cases involving Moon directly or indirectly — such as the Blue House’s alleged intervention in the 2018 Ulsan mayoral election and the president’s office’s alleged involvement in manipulating the results of feasibility research on Wolseong nuclear reactors — from September. The prosecution’s investigations into the Daejang-dong land development scandal and other suspicious activities surrounding DP presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung will most likely be stopped or significantly restricted.

The way the DP behaves only helps fuel suspicion that the ruling party and government want to prevent the prosecution from probing into their wrongdoings. Such legislative violence can only be stopped by Moon. We hope he puts the brakes on the relentless push by the DP at the last minute.
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