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Is Pres. Park giving prosecutors direction in investigation?

Is Pres. Park giving prosecutors direction in investigation?

Posted December. 02, 2014 09:03,   


At a meeting with senior presidential secretaries on Monday, President Park Geun-hye commented on leak of a presidential office documents that spawned “suspicions over Jeong Yoon-hoi’s intervention in state affairs by saying “Leak of documents to outside is an act that causes disorganizing of national order, and which should never occur.” Park went on to say, “The problem lies in the very fact that they carried reports without checking with related officials on an issue that can be confirmed if one takes just a moment to check, as if there are hidden power elite by citing unofficial reporting lines, and directing the situation as if it is true,” adding, “Seeking to sway the nation with such groundless accusations should never happen in the Republic of Korea, which seeks to join the league of advanced countries.” The president thus clarified that she sees as the essence of this incident “leak of documents” and “reckless reporting of groundless accusations.”

Park urged the prosecution to “unearth facts without leaving any hint of suspicion over all matters, including the factuality of the contents in the documents, by thoroughly investigating and getting to the bottom of it.” However, as the president effectively made conclusion to the suspicion, it is questionable whether prosecutors will be able to overcome her ‘guidelines.’ If the president had thoroughly looked into issues behind the incident, to find that Jeong’s intervention in administration of state affairs is totally groundless, it is a situation that is very fortunate to the nation as well as her administration. If there are forces that seek to add confusion to state administration and gain political interests by circulating groundless rumors, authorities should thoroughly unearth and root them out.

However, investigation is like a living organism. While investigation is conducted into a case, no one knows whether something that the plaintiffs never predicted will surface or not. It is worrisome whether prosecutors will be able to present different outcome, even after the president has presented a conclusion already. Even if prosecutors come up with results that are the same as the president’s after conducting thorough investigation, it is questionable whether the public will trust the result without having any doubt. In the case of bribing with expensive clothes for business favors in 1999, then President Kim Dae-jung labeled it ‘witch hunting’ but it ended up with a parliamentary hearing and independent council investigation. If the public suspects that prosecutorial investigation has been led to conclusion that is predetermined by those in power, chances are high that it results in repetitive probes such as a parliamentary investigation or independent counsel probe.

The public would not feel comfortable in their mind when they hear the president’s voice seemingly revealing her anger over controversy surrounding documents said to be from the presidential office. President Park should realize that her administration’s repeated fiascos in personnel management that failed to live up to people’s expectations, and communication failures helped spread rumors of arbitrary acts by power elite under the president’s official reporting line, and power struggle inside the power elite group. President Park should feel apologetic towards the public about the situation wherein not only Jeong Yoon-hoi, who served as her chief secretary in the past, and three key presidential secretaries dubbed "supreme power elite," but also her own younger brother Park Ji-man emerge as a pillar of forces allegedly engaged in power struggle. This should start with establishing the practice of transparent and fair personnel management. Lack of principle and moral hazard among her confidants and relatives provided an environment for “Jeong Yoon-hoi documents’ to mushroom into scandalous suspicions. The president’s ruthlessly thorough management of people surrounding her will be a fundamental solution to dispelling the public’s concern over monopolization by hidden power elite under an unofficial reporting line.