01 December 2009
The Case Against Chandra and Bibit -- Dropped!
It was time that these shenanigans came to an end. The fact that this 'case' ran as long as it did is an embarrassment to the Indonesian Police, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Office of the President of the Republic of Indonesia. When leadership was called form it was severely lacking from those elected and appointed to leadership positions. Instead it was people power and the power of those people voicing their concerns about the need for justice through the media that spurred the courts into action and the ultimate resolution of this issue.
However, whether the issue is finished is really a moot point considering that the underlying issues remain unresolved. The dedication of the police and the AGO in wanting to see this case go to trial raises myriad of questions, and the fact that there seems to be some intent of seeing the instigator, Anggodo, pursued through the courts, then the simple reality is that Chandra and Bibit, and the mistrust between the various law enforcement agencies of Indonesia seems set to linger for some time yet.
The AGO has decided that it is not going to pursue the charges in the public interest. And, it would seem that the President's office is busy drafting and finalizing an order of reinstatement that will see both Chandra and Bibit returned to their rightful places as KPK Commissioners. However, what has not been addressed is the damage to their reputations as a consequence of this long-running unsavoury incident.
The AGO seems intent on continuing to perpetuate the fallacy that there was enough 'evidence' available to the police and the AGO to continue this case to trial. Marwan Effendy, the Deputy Attorney General for Special Crimes, said as much in his statement indicating the intent of the AGO to drop the case.
According to Effendy, the psychological and moral consequences that would arise as a result of the trial would not have warranted the trial going forward. So, the AGO bowed to public pressure. OK, but this is not where Effendy decided to stop. Instead, Effendy went on to say that the charges were valid, that Chandra and Bibit did not understand the anti-corruption law and that neither of them realized the consequences of their actions in breaching the provisions of the law.
Simply, in other words the Deputy Attorney General for Special Crimes is saying we would have garnered a conviction, but a conviction is not in the public interest. In essence, Chandra and Bibit are guilty as charged, but the AGO in their infinite wisdom and intimate understanding of the public's need to eliminate corruption has decided to not do its job. Alternatively, this could be a simple case of the Deputy Attorney General for Special Crimes continuing the defamation of the good name and character of both Chandra and Bibit.
Perhaps a trial would have been the best option. A trial would have presented an opportunity to Chandra and Bibit to be exonerated of the charges and clear the mud thrown at them. A trial would have also highlighted the lengths that the police and the AGO had gone to fabricate a case.
Admittedly, there are arguments that the trial might have gone the other way and confirmed guilt, but if the police or the AGO really had that evidence then it would be an outrage not to pursue it; corruption within the Corruption Eradication Commission. It could be argued that there would not be a bigger case, or a sweeter one, than busting the corruption busters up to their eyeballs in extortion and bribery while feathering their own nests.
The moral of this story is that corruption is alive and well in Indonesia, that it is facilitated and perpetuated by those in positions of authority or power, but that good is more regularly triumphing over evil. There is a long way to go, but perhaps this is a first step in the next phase of the corruption fight.
A final note. The case might have been dropped, and Chandra and Bibit will return to their respective positions at the KPK. However, much damage has been done to their reputations, and it must be part of the process of healing that the dropping of the case includes rehabilitation of their names and reputations. Anything short of a full apology is a slap in the face. The police allowed the fabrication of a case, the AGO kept the fabrication going, and the president refused to step in and discipline those responsible. Yes, an apology is warranted and justified. It is time that the president was presidential enough to step up to the plate and make it.
Come on Mr. President, what are you waiting for?