Constitutional Court gives 15-day deadline extension to caretaker PM on Thawil case

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BANGKOK, April 23 — Constitutional Court on Wednesday approved caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck’s request for a 15-day extension to defend herself on the controversial transfer of Thawil Pleansri from his position as National Security Council (NSC) Secretary General to an inactive post.

The Constitutional Court earlier told Ms Yingluck to present evidence to defend herself in the case on April 18 but her legal team asked the Court for a 15-day extension, saying that she needed more time to prepare her testimony.

The Court today agreed to give Ms Yingluck another 15 days, from April 18 to May 2.

Apart from Ms Yingluck, the Court has also ordered testimony from more witnesses, including appointed senator Paibul Nititawan who filed the petition, Pol Gen Wichean Potephosree, former national police chief and former NSC chief, and Mr Thawil himself.

The three witnesses were considered by the Court as stakeholders and were ordered to testify on May 6.

After Mr Thawil was transferred, Ms Yingluck appointed Gen Wichean to the post. Gen Wichean was later transferred to become permanent secretary of the Transport Ministry and Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut was promoted from NSC deputy secretary general to become the agency’s head.

A group of senators led by Mr Paibooon petitioned to Court to consider termination of Ms Yingluck’s positions in accordance with Article 182 (7) and Article 268, following the Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling on Mr Thawil’s reinstatement as NSC Secretary-General since the transfer in 2011 was done in an unlawful manner.

The Court rejected Ms Yingluck’s request for three witnesses–Pol Gen Kovit Wattana, former deputy prime minister; Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung and Pol Gen Achirawit Supanpesat, former deputy police chief.

The Court said the three were irrelevant to the case.