The apparent imminent demise of jailed former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Purnama’s marriage has shocked the nation after it was revealed that he has filed for divorce from his wife, Veronica Tan.
Yesterday evening, a photo circulated online showing an official divorce request by Ahok to the North Jakarta Court, signed by two of his lawyers, Fifi Lety Indra (who is also his sister) and Josefina Agatha Syukur. The divorce letter states that Ahok is also filing for custody for their children.
The photo, and thus the divorce filing, was confirmed to be authentic by Josefina. “It’s true that Pak Ahok has filed for divorce from Ibu Veronica. The case number is 10/Pdt.G/2018 dated January 5, 2018,” she said, as quoted by Kompas today. Josefina did not reveal the reasons behind the divorce filing, saying that it’s a private matter between Ahok and Veronica.
The news came as a shock to many people, especially given the fact that there had been no apparent signs of trouble in Ahok and Veronica’s marriage, even after the former governor was sent to jail for two years at the conclusion of his highly controversial blasphemy trial last year.
Veronica has been known for keeping somewhat of a low profile despite her husband’s political fame. During one of her rare appearances speaking before the media, she was moved to tears while reading out Ahok’s heartfelt letter explaining that he wasn’t appealing against his blasphemy conviction “for the good of the nation.”
Ahok was also known for speaking of Veronica in only the most glowing of terms. Last year, he gave her a touching tribute on International Women’s Day, saying that “She is not just my companion, but my true partner and equal. She is a hard worker who devotes so much time to training women in Jakarta, especially those living in rusunawa (low-cost housing) to learn skills such as batik so that they can become entrepreneurs.”
Just last month, a photo of a visibly happy Veronica was posted on Ahok’s official Instagram account (which is operated by his aides) to wish her a happy birthday.
The mysterious and sudden nature of the divorce filing have made this the biggest news story and social media topic of the the week thus far and speculation over their imminent split will likely remain rife until the true reason behind it is revealed (if ever).