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Politicians seek halt of compensation to indicted lawmakers

Politicians seek halt of compensation to indicted lawmakers

Posted November. 04, 2013 04:54,   


Jun Byung-hun, floor leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, said on Sunday his party would seek revision of laws to halt payment of various compensations and benefits to a lawmaker who is arrested for rebellion collusion and bribe-taking, and deprive the lawmaker concerned of the right to demand the government to submit materials and information.

With Rep. Lee Seok-ki of the Unified Progressive Party arrested due to rebellion collusion charges, Jun seems to point out the inappropriateness of paying compensations to Lee and of his office’s requesting the government to submit classified national intelligence materials. Ahead of the regular session of the National Assembly, Lee had demanded the Defense Ministry to submit some 30 cases of materials, including “South Korea-U.S. joint plan to counter local provocations (by North Korea).”

“Our party will submit a bill seeking suspension of all assistance to a lawmaker, who has been arrested for rebellion collusion and bribe-taking related to his duties and his or her aides, until the court issues ruling,” Jun said at a press conference at the National Assembly on Sunday. “In this regard, there was some progress in talks between vice floor leaders of the ruling and main opposition parties.”

The revision bill on payment of allowances to lawmakers includes provisions that if a lawmaker is arrested or put to a trial due to anti-state crimes such as rebellion and treason under the Criminal Code and violation of the National Security Law, or to bribe-taking, payment of compensations to the lawmaker and aides shall be suspended. However, the bill suggests that if the lawmaker is found not guilty at the Supreme Court, compensation is paid retrospectively. Additionally, a measure will be taken to seek revision of the National Assembly Act to deprive such a lawmaker of the right to demand the government to submit information and materials. However, the Democratic Party is reportedly somewhat cautious about applying the revision bill to the crime of glorification and encouragement of an enemy state, which is under controversy over constitutionality.

“Our party took the lead in proposing the bill as part of the efforts to relinquish lawmakers’ privileges and to follow the principle of no work no pay, said Jung Sung-ho, vice floor leader of the Democratic Party at a luncheon meeting on Sunday afternoon. “If a lawmaker is arrested, he or she cannot continue legislative activities, and therefore I think it is right to suspend assistance.”

“Considering the principle of "No work, no pay" for lawmakers, it is natural to make the decision,” floor leader Jun said. “This has nothing to do with the principle to presume innocent until a suspect is proven to be guilty.”

However, some lawmakers in the party will likely oppose the bill. Rep. Park Jie-won said, “I don’t support the Lee Seok-ki’s case. But we should not violate the Constitution suggesting that a suspect shall be presumed innocent until the court’s final ruling.”