Polemic of Bibit-Chandra Rejection, Constitutional Court Only Gives Opinion Through Verdict

Moh. Mahfud MD, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court and Vice Chairman of Commission III of the House of Representative, Aziz Syamsudin, while leading the Consultation Meeting of Commission III of the House of Representatives (DPR) with the Constitutional Court (The Court), Thursday (10 / 2).

Jakarta, MKOnline - the official opinion of the Constitutional Court (The Court)-related to dispute about the status of the two Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) leaders, Bibit Samad Riyanto and Chandra Matra Hamzah, would only be expressed in a verdict (decision) of the Court. "Because, the Court should not make any comments on the content of a controversial law but through its lawsuit,"said Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court (The Court), Moh. Mahfud MD. "Therefore, as a judge, (as long as there is no application) The Court does not know whether deponeering (case waiving) was to remove the error or not," he continued.

This was stated by Mahfud in the Consultation Meeting of Commission III of the House of Representatives (DPR) with the Constitutional Court (The Court), Thursday (10 / 2) on the education and training room 8th floor of the Constitutional Court Building. The statement was a response to questions that was raised by some members of Parliament who were present at the time. They questioned the Court’s point of view of the differences in interpretation (opinion) related to whether deponeering or waiver of the case could remove someone suspect status (in this case Bibit and Chandra) as suspects. Therefore, it will be consequential to the participation of two KPK leaders at the hearing or meeting held by the House of Representatives.

Previously, the House of Representative (especially the Commission III) has rejected the presence of Bibit and Chandra in a hearing in the House which at that time KPK was invited. Parliament argued that deponeering did not remove the suspect status of someone. And, because the status is still suspect they are both 'not feasible' to follow the hearing in Parliament. According to the House, the opinion has been studied in depth, even has involved experts and legal experts. But lately, the KPK questioned the attitude of the House of Representatives who rejected the presence of two bosses. And finally, now the problem was more pointed.

In a meeting attended by those entire constitutional judges, Mahfud said, although so far many parties who requested the Court to argue about it, he explicitly refused to respond. If he requested to give a personal opinion he will do similarly.

In line with this stance, the Constitutional Judge Harjono also prefers to remain silent and not to give any comment about the differences in these views. And, on that occasion, he also invited other constitutional judges to be the same. "We keep each other how the Court should talk with the verdict," he reminded.

Because according to him, if constitutional justices were involved in the debate, then there is a potential to violate the code of ethics. "That's one thing that was not permitted by, (not only) the provisions of legislation, (even) code of ethics was already prohibited,” said Harjono. "The code of ethics is more sensitive than the rule of law. People can disobey the code of conduct without violating any laws, "he continued. This stance, said Harjono, is necessary for the Court to be a truly independent institution.

Mandatory Implemented
Not only discussing about these issues, the meeting also talked about several other matters relating to recent legal and political developments. One of them was related to the decision of the Constitutional Court, which until now had not been carried out by the General Election Commission (KPU) of West Kotawaringin Regency. Responding to this, Mahfud asserted, the decision of the Court on that case has been based on the facts revealed in the trial and actually believed by all the justices, so that had to be implemented, regardless of being right or wrong. "The decision of justices is not necessarily true, but the decision must be followed," said Mahfud. "For the case to flow and finish."

Constitutional Judge M. Akil Mochtar said actually the problem was not the authority of the Court any longer because it has already been at the stage of implementation of the decision. In fact, according to him the KPU and Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) has coordinated and requested advice to the Court to follow the decision. And, as the advice, the Constitutional Court, according to Akil, has asserted that the KPU of West Kotawaringin must implement the decision according to their appropriate authority.

Besides that, the meeting also discussed why the Constitutional Court accomplished  more election cases in 2010 ago than any other kinds of cases. Because, according to Vice Chairman of Commission III of the House, Aziz Syamsudin, who also chaired the meeting at the time, lately there were opinions stating that the Court handles more election cases than judicial reviews. 

Mahfud answer was simple. According to him, the statement was true, but it was because the Court was bound by the law. Namely, the law already provides that the local election disputes should be done within a period of 'only' 14 days. "If it is not decided within that period, then the decision of the Court will be redundant," he explained.

More than that, Mahfud also argued, that the quantity of local election dispute cases that goes into the Court is currently at a high intensity. In fact, there are 230 local election dispute cases submitted to the Court, of the 312 cases registered at the Court during 2010. In other words, only 73.72 percent of cases registered were local election dispute lawsuits. So it is much reasonable if the Court adjudicated local election dispute cases more in 2010. "Besides the judicial review lawsuits is not restricted to time frame for a solution," said Mahfud.

After the meeting, Aziz told the reporters, that the results of this meeting would become a consideration for the House of Representatives to discuss the three draft laws, namely the Supreme Court Bill, the State Prosecutor Bill, and the Judicial Commission Bill. According to him, many issues have been answered and clarified by the Court especially some hot issues lately. "We get a lot of enlightenment in a clear and comprehensive explanation” He said. (Dodi/mh/ YCPKS)

Friday, February 11, 2011 | 11:50 WIB 253