On a bright Sunday that seemed otherwise ordinary, political activist Ruangkrai Leekitwattana embarked on a quest for justice, or so was his claim. With determination in his step and a petition in his hand, he approached the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) with a request that was bound to ruffle some feathers in the political landscape of Thailand.
The heart of Ruangkrai’s mission? To cast a spotlight on 44 MPs of the Move Forward Party (MFP), urging the NACC to assess the ethical dimensions of their support for a controversial bill. This was no ordinary bill; it proposed amendments to the lese majeste law, embodied in Section 112 of the Criminal Code, a subject of heated debates and passionate disagreements.
Ruangkrai wasn’t shooting in the dark. His petition was soundly anchored in the ruling made by the Constitutional Court on January 31, a ruling that branded the MFP’s endeavor to tweak the lese majeste law as an audacious attempt to undermine the constitutional monarchy itself. According to the court, this ambitious pursuit crossed lines drawn in the sand by the charter, setting the stage for a legal and moral showdown.
But this was not a spur-of-the-moment act of civic duty by Ruangkrai. This story began earlier, in the crisp autumn days of September 2021, when he first approached the NACC. His initial plea was a simple one: to evaluate whether these 44 legislators from the MFP had strayed from the ethical path laid out in Section 234 (1) of the 2017 constitution.
The response from the Office of the NACC, dated January 16, 2022, was like a carefully penned mystery novel – acknowledging the existence of flaws in the proposed amendment without explicitly including it on the House agenda. The reason? A constitutional bind, as current laws and House regulations prescribe penalties for those daring to challenge the constitution with their proposed bills. Yet, they left the door ajar for Ruangkrai, suggesting he could strengthen his case with more evidence.
Armed with the consequential ruling by the Constitutional Court from January 31, Ruangkrai saw a glimmer of hope. This wasn’t just new evidence; it was a beacon, potentially illuminating a path for the NACC to reassess his petition with renewed interest and, perhaps, purpose.
Yet, Ruangkrai’s aspirations didn’t halt at the steps of the NACC. He pondered the fate of these 44 MPs, wondering if their actions warranted a judgment under the stern eyes of the Supreme Court, as per Section 87 of the anti-corruption law. In Ruangkrai’s vision, this was not merely a question of political maneuvering but a test of ethical integrity. Should these MPs be found on the wrong side of ethics, they might find themselves barred from the electoral battleground, their political careers hanging in the balance.
In this intricate dance of laws, ethics, and politics, Ruangkrai Leekitwattana positioned himself as a crusader for justice, challenging the status quo and igniting a debate that would resonate across the corridors of power in Thailand. What unfolds next in this legal and moral saga is a story yet to be written, a chapter pending in the annals of Thai political history.