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CAPO once again questions charter court's authority

The Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) yesterday once again made a case against dissolving the caretaker cabinet and dismissing the premier should the Constitutional Court rule against her for illegal transfer of National Security Council chief.

CAPO member Pol Lt Col Anchulee Theerawongpaisal cited two open letters by Ukrit Mongkolnavin, chairman of the Independent National Rule of Law Commission, that said the Constitutional Court could not accept a petition on Thawil's transfer as PM Yingluck Shinawatra had already dissolved the House of Representatives and was now serving on a caretaker basis.

Ukrit's letter confirmed the centre's concern that the court may have overstepped its authority by deciding to rule on this case, she said.

The petition is similar to the one filed with the court by a group led by former senator Ruangkrai Leekijwattana regarding the qualifications of then premier Samak Sundaravej, the letter said.

The justices took recourse to Article 182 and voted 8:1 to disqualify Samak as a prime minister after convicting him for accepting money for a TV cooking show in breach of Article 267.

However Samak's offence was personal and had no connection with the rest of the Cabinet, which continued working after the ruling, he said.

The CAPO has also expressed fear that an adverse court ruling might plunge the country into civil war.

Caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung, who also oversees CAPO, said the ruling in Samak's case was made by the same bench that is about to pass judgement on Thawil's transfer case, with the exception of the now-retired former court president Wasan Soypisudh.

Anchulee said the CAPO on Monday issued an order to the heads of 37 state agencies including permanent secretaries and others with equivalent positions to take criminal and civil actions against protesters from the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) who trespassed state premises, intimidated officials and damaged property.

They were instructed not to welcome and support PDRC protesters, especially those facing criminal prosecution.

Separately, a source close to General Nipat Thonglek, permanent secretary of the Defence Ministry, confirmed that the following message that circulated in social media came from Nipat:

"The Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence will protect the Prime Minister and take care of the right thing as much as I can and I will take care of the PM to the fullest as [the PM is] the commander of all armed forces. As permanent secretary [of Defence], I feel unhappy if I cannot take care or let the PM or the ministers come to work."

Nipat signed the message dated April 17.


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