The House of Representatives Ethics Council has found Ribka Tjiptaning responsible for efforts to erase a Health Law clause and barred her from chairing any special committee or working committee until her term ends in 2014.
Siswono Yudohusodo, the deputy chairman of the Ethics Council, said the council ruled that Ribka, as chairwoman of House Commission IX, should be held responsible for the effort to drop a clause in the 2009 Health Law that defined tobacco as an addictive substance.
However, Siswono said it was not yet clear who was behind the effort to get the clause dropped.
Ali Maschan Moesa, an Ethics Council member, said the decision on Ribka was fair.
“Why did we deem her guilty? Because she signed the footnote to delete the clause,” Ali said.
He said the verdict on Ribka had been issued in November. Despite the footnote, the Health Law was passed without the clause dropped.
M. Prakosa, the chairman of the Ethics Council and a member of the same party as Ribka, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said all political factions at the House should abide by the verdict.
He also said the council only dealt with the ethical aspect of the case, while any legal aspects were under the authority of law enforcers, not lawmakers.
Ribka said she found the Ethics Council’s decision “strange, since it has been explained extensively that there were no missing clauses.”
Meanwhile, the Coalition Against Corruption of the Anti-Tobacco Clause (Kakar), which had reported Ribka’s case to the police and then to the Ethics Council, will push for the criminal case to be reopened. Police have dropped the case against Ribka.
“We will reopen it because now we have the verdict of the Ethics Council regarding the violation [by Ribka],” Hakim Sorimuda Pohan of Kakar said.
He said that although the Ethics Council verdict was made late last year, “we only received the decision on March 28.”
Hakim said the letter informing them of the verdict said Ribka’s action “has been proven to have violated ethics.”
“Ethically, the Ethics Council has already found her to have made a mistake, and therefore legally we will follow this up,” he said.