Farouk Arnaz, Markus Junianto Sihaloho, Jakarta – The House of Representatives' commission on legal and political affairs approved Comr. Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo as the president's pick for the next national police chief in a hearing on Wednesday.
Listyo's nomination was approved unanimously by the 49-member commission to take the helm of the national police, currently under public scrutiny over the killing of six members of hardline group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).
The National Commission for Human Rights has concluded that there has been an excessive use of force by officers during the December 7 incident, but stopped short of calling it gross human rights violations.
The rights commission recommended legal proceedings against the officers involved.
The issue was raised in the hearing by Dimyati Natakusumah, a lawmaker from the Islamist Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), who asked why a case emanating from alleged health protocol violation by FPI leader Rizieq Syihab ended up with the death of six people.
During the incident, police were pursuing a vehicle convoy carrying Rizieq, who was being sought for violating rules against public gatherings during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Police have said Rizieq"s bodyguards made dangerous attempt to block the chasing vehicle and they eventually involved in a shootout. Two FPI members were killed at the spot, while four others were shot to death inside the police car for allegedly attempting to resist arrest and grab the officers' guns.
Investigation by the rights commission focused on the four slain FPI members.
"We at this House commission have been asked by many people why law enforcement measures against health protocol violation had led to the loss of six lives," Dimyati asked.
Listyo, who is currently heading the Criminal Investigation Agency, replied that he would follow recommendation by the rights commission.
"Our position is that we will obey and follow up recommendations by the National Commission for Human Rights," Sigit said.
According to police investigation, at least four officers were involved in the operation.
Listyo also told the hearing that he would take a "more humane approach" to uphold justice, pointing to a past case in which a grandmother was "inappropriately" prosecuted and sentenced for stealing a small amount of cocoa beans.
"We must involve wisdom to make sensible decision in a case like this, which could have been settled without litigation," he said.
In a rare sight of a House screening for a new police chief, the top brass of the institution including current police chief Idham Azis and high-ranking officers from various graduation years accompanied Listyo to the hearing room to show that they are "in unity and solid" in backing the nominee.
"Leaders and members of the House commission have agreed by acclamation the honorable discharge of Police Chief General Idham Azis and the appointment of Comr. Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo as a sucessor," commission chairman Herman Hery said.
The decision will be put forward to the upcoming plenary session for another rubber stamp. A coalition of pro-government parties is currently holding a vast majority in the House.
Listyo will begin his tenure when Idham retires at the end of this month.