JAKARTA - With the public closely watching its next step, the National Police declined to detain Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto after questioning him for nine hours on Tuesday in a perjury case.
During a meeting with an independent team tasked by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo with monitoring the current standoff between the KPK and the police, acting National Police chief Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti promised Bambang would not be detained.
"The [acting] National Police chief told the team this afternoon that he guaranteed there would be no detention for [Bambang after the questioning]," independent team member Jimly Asshidhiqie said after the meeting at KPK headquarters on Tuesday.
Bambang was named a suspect and arrested on Jan. 23 by the police for his alleged role in abetting perjury during a 2010 hearing at the Constitutional Court regarding a local election dispute.
The arrest triggered public outcry, with many calling Bambang's arrest an act of revenge carried out by Jokowi's nominee for police chief, Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, who on Jan. 13 was named a graft suspect by the KPK.
Following Bambang's arrest, Jokowi personally asked Badrodin to release him.
Before his questioning on Tuesday, Bambang said he was ready for detention.
"Yes, I am ready, but what will be the [police's] reason for arresting me? This question must be asked," he said.
Bambang, joined by KPK chairman Abraham Samad, fellow deputy chairmen Zulkarnain and Adnan Pandu Praja and his lawyer, Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, bid farewell to hundreds of KPK employees.
He said he was ready to die in the fight against corruption.
"If I have to lose my life, then so be it. I believe in God. Only the prayers of the poor and the oppressed will help the nation," he said.
Later on Tuesday, Nursyahbani said she expected Bambang would not be detained, as National Police investigators were currently focused on collecting evidence to bring charges against Abraham.
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician Hasto Kristiyanto has filed a police report alleging that the KPK chairman abused his authority by helping ensure a lenient sentence was handed down to PDI-P politician Emir Moeis in a bribery case last year.
"It is stupid for them to do so [detain Bambang]. Now, they are targeting Abraham," Nursyahbani said.
Meanwhile, National Police detective division chief Insp. Gen. Budi Waseso said it was just a matter of time before investigators named Abraham a suspect in the case.
Budi said that investigators handling Abraham's case had already issued a sprindik (letter authorizing on investigation) and added that investigators were in the early stages of building cases against both Pandu and Zulkarnain.