A new rotation of officers was announced at the Jakarta Police headquarters on Friday (25/11). (Antara Photo/M. Agung Rajasa)

With One Budi Fading, Another Steps Up to Keep PDI-P Happy

FEBRUARY 06, 2015

Jakarta. The police general who has pursued a raft of dubious criminal cases against antigraft commissioners who charged his superior with corruption now stands a very real chance of being named Indonesia’s new police chief.

Budi Waseso, the National Police’s chief of detectives and self-professed supporter of Budi Gunawan, the would-be police chief named a suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), was on Thursday promoted to the rank of commissioner general, a three-star rank that makes him eligible for promotion to the four-star rank of National Police chief.

“Budi Waseso is included in the list of candidates,” Adrianus Meliala, a member of the National Police Commission, which is tasked with recommending police chief candidates to the president, confirmed on Thursday.

Budi Waseso’s rise through the police force since Budi Gunawan was charged on Jan. 13 has been startling. From heading up the officers’ training center at the police academy, where he worked directly under Budi Gunawan, Budi Waseso was appointed chief of detectives — second only to the police chief in power — and now stands poised to head the nation’s most powerful — and perceived to be the most corrupt — law enforcement agency.

Analysts, though, warn that if President Joko Widodo does nominate Budi Waseso for police chief, he will be committing the same mistake as when he nominated Budi Gunawan, namely making a concession to his political backers, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

Budi Waseso has made no secret of his support for Budi Gunawan, who served as the security aide to PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri during her presidency from 2001 to 2004 and is widely believed to have been foisted onto Joko for the post of National Police chief by the PDI-P chief.

By nominating Budi Waseso for police chief, analysts say, Joko will be able to drop Budi Gunawan nomination while still saving face with the PDI-P and Megawati, his political patron.

PDI-P officials have already signaled their approval of Budi Waseso’s advancement in the ranks.

Tjahjo Kumolo, the minister for home affairs and previously Megawati’s number two in the party hierarchy, said Budi Waseso “would make a great police chief,” even though he has not been nominated. Tjahjo did not comment on the nine other three-star police generals who are also eligible.

It was also telling that the only congratulatory flower board sent to the National Police headquarters for Thursday’s promotion ceremony was from Abdullah Mahmud Hendropriyono, a former intelligence chief and member of Megawati’s inner circle, who is dogged by allegations of human rights abuses.

Hendropriyono serves as a senior adviser to Joko, in what is widely seen as yet another concession the president has made to the PDI-P chairwoman.

Budi Waseso, speaking to reporters after his promotion, was adamant that his office would press ahead with investigating the cases filed against the KPK’s four commissioners in the wake of the antigraft office naming Budi Gunawan a suspect.

The police are widely accused of going into retaliation mode against the KPK by digging up cold cases — some dating back a decade — to pin against the antigraft commissioners.

However, Budi Waseso denied this, while skirting the question of why his office was working with uncharacteristic speed to investigate the cases.

“My work has nothing to do with politics. People can say what they like. We shall prove it,” he said.

“We must fight corruption. But if an institution is led by people who are less than credible we must correct it,” he added, in a reference to the KPK that reflected more on the police force.

“We are careful so we are not accused of [retaliating]. But if the evidence is there, you can bet [the KPK leaders] will be named suspects.”

Budi Waseso also said he was ready if nominated for police chief.

With his promotion, there are now 10 three-star generals in the police force, including Budi Gunawan.

Two are entering retirement age this year — intelligence chief Djoko Mukti Haryono and counterterrorism chief Saud Usman Nasution — which makes it unlikely that either of them will be nominated.

Rumored to be Budi Waseso’s closest contenders are internal affairs chief Dwi Priyatno and Badrodin Haiti, the acting police chief.

However, Badrodin’s nomination could trigger the same controversy as Budi Gunawan’s. Both men were among the police generals flagged in 2010 by the anti-money-laundering agency for the suspiciously large transactions — in the millions of dollars — flowing through their accounts.

Other three-star generals include security chief Putut Eko Bayu Seno, National Defense Institute governor Boy Salamudin, and anti-narcotics chief Anang Iskandar.

The man who Budi Waseso abruptly replaced as chief of detectives, Suhardi Alius, is also eligible, but his nomination could prompt resistance from inside the police force. Suhardi was removed from office last month for reportedly leaking information about Budi Gunawan to the KPK.

Budi Waseso would seem to have the edge in the race to be police chief.

Two of the last four police chiefs were previously the chief of detectives, including the last man to hold the post, Sutarman, who Budi Gunawan was originally slated to replace.

And the two Budis’ closeness means supporters of the graft suspect will also support the loyalist.

Further Coverage

Jokowi’s options on Budi Gunawan

Editorial: Jokowi Will Kill the KPK Without Direct Action

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