Puppet Yingluck's Reign
How Can It Be A Reconciliation Bill When Nobody Asks For It Except Thaksin & His Gang?
( Last edit 2012-05-30 )
New unity bills stir suspicions
From Bangkok Post May 30, 2012
Pheu Thai seen trying to muddy waters by shifting blame for Thaksin whitewash attempt
Pheu Thai Party MPs have proposed three new reconciliation bills in addition to the one already submitted by 2006 coupmaker Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin, raising suspicions of behind-the-scenes manipulation to bypass proper debate of the law in parliament.
Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai Samart Kaewmeechai and Pheu Thai Party list MP Niyom Worapanya have each tabled their own unity bills, while Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Nattawut Saikuar, a red shirt co-leader, has submitted another version on behalf of the red shirts.
The move by the Pheu Thai MPs to table their own proposals may be designed to give the impression that the party disagrees with Mathabhum Party leader Gen Sonthi's reconciliation bill, tabled last week.
It also suggests a divergence of opinion within the party on how to shape the reconciliation law.
However, due to the similarities of the contents of all four drafts and the likelihood of the bills being combined for deliberation, the move could succeed in muddling parliamentary scrutiny of who is responsible for the measures.
A House committee is likely to combine the drafts into one bill, which could then be pushed through by a majority vote of the committee.
The charter amendment bill was pushed through by using a similar tactic earlier this month.
(above:Chaos in the House of Representatives by Democrat MPs, disrupted the voting to move the deliberation of the drafted Reconciliation Act to the top of the agenda in the parliament assembly on May 30, 2012)
Pheu Thai, which is widely seen as the main beneficiary of any amnesty measure contained in the bill, wants to avoid any blame for putting such a measure forward.
The contents of the Pheu Thai drafts are similar to Gen Sonthi's bill in that all four are driven by a determination to whitewash political offences committed during rallies over the past six years.
The differences between them are minor, depending on when the offences were committed. The drafts of Gen Sonthi, Mr Samart, and Mr Nattawut call for absolving crimes committed between Sept 15, 2005, and May 19, 2011.
Mr Niyom's version proposes an amnesty be granted to those involved in political rallies that took place from Sept 19, 2006 until the day when the bill becomes law and comes into force.
Mr Nattawut's version also proposes that amnesty must not be granted to those who committed acts of terrorism and crimes that took people's lives.
A Pheu Thai source said the idea behind proposing the three versions was to deflect mounting criticism of Gen Sonthi's bill.
Mr Nattawut's version is also intended to appease some red shirt supporters demanding justice for those responsible for the deaths of red shirt protesters during political rallies in 2010.
Observers noted that the bills are expected to be combined for deliberation in parliament.
A House committee would then be created to come up with a final draft before proposing it for consideration in parliament.
Some critics believe this final draft has already been prepared and will be forced through with a majority vote.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has not proposed his own reconciliation bill, although he had earlier mentioned that his version of the bill has six sections.
It should not come as a surprise if Mr Chalerm's version eventually emerges as the final version proposed by the House committee.
Mr Samart said Pheu Thai, as a major party, is duty-bound to submit its versions of the bill after Gen Sonthi's party, which is smaller, proposed its own law.
He said it does not serve the party's interests to drag its feet and it was up to parliament to decide whose version will be used as the core of the final law.
Mr Samart denied the bill would abolish some independent organisations such as the Election Commission, the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Constitution Court. His bill will overturn the decisions made by the coup-appointed Assets Scrutiny Committee, to pave the way for a new judicial process to look into all allegations.
Mr Samart believed the four versions of the bill should pass their first reading in parliament, after which the current session will close for a two-month period during which a committee will analyse the bills' contents.
Banharn Silpa-archa, de facto leader of the Chartthaipattana Party, says his party MPs will stick with their support for Gen Sonthi's reconciliation bill. About 20 MPs of the party had signed in support for the bill. Mr Banharn said he had cleared the air with Chartthaipattana party chief adviser Sanan Kachornprasart who earlier opposed the bill.
Gen Sonthi said the bill is not intended to absolve people convicted by the courts but to grant amnesty to political offenders.
Democrat Party Abhisit Vejjajiva said the government should withdraw the bills. Gen Sonthi's version may upset the red shirts because it also proposes giving an amnesty to state officials who dealt with protesters in 2010.
Democrats back PAD rally
From Bangkok Post May 30, 2012
The opposition Democrat Party says it will back protests by the People's Alliance for Democracy against any reconciliation bill they see as aimed at whitewashing the crimes of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thepthai: Second battle against Thaksin
Party secretary-general Chalermchai Sri-on said yesterday that Democrat MPs could join the yellow shirt PAD's rally outside parliament today.
Three reconciliation bills were presented to the House yesterday, in addition to one presented earlier.
Democrat MPs who shared the belief that the charter bill should not go ahead had the constitutional right to express this, Mr Chalermchai said.
He said Democrat MPs would show their opposition to the bill both inside and outside the parliament building while his party would adhere to peaceful moves and the national interest.
Democrat MP Thepthai Senapong yesterday said many people would join the rally. He encouraged viewers of his TV programme to participate.
He called the rally the beginning of a second round of battle against the Thaksin regime.
The bill would provide Thaksin with an amnesty from the two-year jail sentence he was given in 2008 for abuse of power. PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang said the rally would start at 1pm at the Royal Plaza and proceed to parliament about 3pm.
"[The protest] is calling for the House to reject any reconciliation bill. If one is approved, it would ruin the country," he said yesterday.
Maj Gen Chamlong said the yellow shirts opposed the bill even though the PAD also stood to gain from it.
"We are looking out not for our personal interests, but the nation's interests," he said.
House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont said the bill is likely to be deliberated tomorrow.
Another PAD leader, Pibhop Dhongchai, said the alliance would protest against any matter involving the lese majeste law or moves to seek an amnesty for Thaksin.
"It is clear the draft legislation proposed to parliament is about Thaksin's amnesty and the return to him of his seized assets, even though the court has already ruled on the case," he said.
"The judgment of the Constitution Court must be respected by all parties including the House."
PAD spokesman Parnthep Pourpongpan said the reconciliation bill went against the constitution.
He said it violated Section 216 of the constitution, which states: "The decision of the Constitution Court shall be deemed final and binding on the National Assembly, Council of Ministers, Courts and other State organs."
Pol Col Jak Jittatham, deputy spokesman of the Royal Thai Police Office, said at least 700 police would be on duty at parliament to ensure order during the PAD rally.