Jakarta Journo: Angelina Sondakh’s Fall From Grace
How do you change from an acclaimed Miss Indonesia to a
nationally-mocked, shady figure? The answer is pretty simple: You enter
this tiny little world called politics.
I remember the first
time I encountered Angelina Sondakh. She was the host of “Battle of
Wits,” an educational TV show where high school students showcased their
debating skills in English.
Unlike today, I looked at her with a sense of admiration and respect. It only took her a few years to rise to prominence.
In 2001, Angelina was crowned Miss Indonesia. She was pretty much the talk of the town and a figure many people looked up to.
Little did we know, things were about to change when the lady decided to play the politics game.
In 2004, Angelina ran in the legislative elections under the flag of the Democratic Party.
Democrats came only fifth, with the Golkar Party and the Indonesian
Democratic Party of Struggle dominating, but she won a seat.
the Democrats did not top the political contest, supreme leader Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono rose to the presidential throne.
ascension then became a decisive moment for the Democrats in preparation
for the next elections. And in 2010, Angie sided with Anas Urbaningrum
in the vote for chairman of the Democrats, and was made deputy secretary
general when he won.
I bet she felt like a champion back then, being a high-ranking member of the ruling party and all that.
forward a few years, she’s once again the talk of the town, but for all
the wrong reasons. Angie, as she is popularly known, was named a
suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in early February
for her involvement in the long-running Southeast Asian Games athletes
village bribery scandal.
A member of the House of
Representatives’ sports commission, she allegedly helped move money
around to grease palms during the tender process.
became a tabloid darling when her surreptitious relationship with a
married KPK investigator was revealed, not long after her husband Adjie
Massaid passed away.
One can’t help but wildly wonder at the motives behind the relationship.
popular occupation to take after winning Miss Indonesia is to become an
actress. It’s a good thing Angie never tried it. We all witnessed how
bad her performance was as the witness-turn-suspect during the infamous
nationally-televised testimony at Nazaruddin’s trial a couple of weeks
Asked whether she had communicated via BlackBerry with
Mindo Rosalina Manulang, already found guilty in the Sea Games saga, she
said, unsurprisingly, but still unconvincingly, “No, your Honor.”
only that, Angie told the judge that she hadn’t owned a BlackBerry
until late 2010, so to have a conversation with Rosalina in May 2010 was
Unfortunately for her, and rather hilariously for
the rest of the nation, different people, from Nazaruddin’s lawyer to
the media, and even fellow Dems, managed to prove that Angie has
actually been using BlackBerry since 2009. How embarrassing is that?
not only is she being charged over the athletes villages corruption
allegations, she has also been reported to the police for giving false
testimony under oath, or simply for being a liar. She could get seven
years behind bars, if convicted.
She’s already lost her spot as
her party’s deputy secretary general, and will surely lose her place as a
lawmaker as well, if she’s proven guilty.
Armando Siahaan is a reporter at the Jakarta Globe. Follow him on
Twitter @jakartajourno or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.