By THE NATION
The 2017 Constitution prohibits MPs from holding shares in media firms, and violators face disqualification, imprisonment, fine and a ban on voting rights.
However, Pheu Thai spokesperson Laddawan Wongsriwong said that granting an injunction for these MPs would be unfair as Thanathorn faces a similar allegation. She said that since the Future Forward leader had been suspended from his parliamentary duties, the 41 MPs from the pro-junta bloc should get the same treatment.
House Speaker Chuan Leekpai forwarded the cases against the 41 MPs to the Constitutional Court last week.
However, Phalang Pracharat deputy spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboon-kongchana rejected Laddawan’s insinuation that Thanathorn was being treated unfairly, saying the court had the jurisdiction to issue an injunction. He also cited a similar case during the Samak Sundaravej administration in 2008.
Thanakorn said the involvement of the 27 Phalang Prachart MPs in media companies was different compared to Thanathorn, adding the firm the Future Forward leader had invested in published magazines, while the 27 MPs were investors in companies that had nothing to do with media.
He explained that official documents for these companies covered a wide range of operations, and “media” was one of them. But, he said, the actual operations were very different from what is listed in the companies’ official documents.
The politician went on to say that he was confident the court would be fair to the MPs.
The MPs facing media shareholding accusations include ministerial candidates Nattapol Teepsuwan, Tewan Liptapanlop and Jatumongkol Sonakul.
While the threat of disqualification is imminent, Thanakorn said he believes PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha – who is considering the Cabinet line-up – will look at each candidate’s qualification carefully.
Meanwhile, Thanathorn’s legal representatives yesterday sought another 15-day adjournment from the Constitutional Court.
Prior to yesterday’s request, Thanathorn had sought a 30-day adjournment in addition to the 15 days he was given by the court to prepare his defence. The lawyers said they were seeking more time so the accuracy of documents could be verified.