President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. refused to heed online calls for his justice secretary to resign following reports that the latter’s son was arrested in an anti-drug operation last Tuesday.
The chief executive on Friday said that he thinks these have “no basis” since “you call for somebody to resign if he is not doing his job or if he misbehave[s] in that job.”
“He has done quite the contrary. He has taken the very proper position that he is recusing himself from any involvement in the case of his son,” Marcos added, referring to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla.
“And I think that being the Secretary of [the] Department of Justice, he’s very aware that he must allow the processes of the judiciary to work properly and that no one in the Executive should interfere,” he further said.
Hashtags “#BoyingResign” and “#BoyingRemullaResign” trended on local Twitter on Thursday evening after his eldest son, 38-year-old Juanito Jose Diaz Remulla III, was arrested in an anti-illegal drug operation on October 11.
Reports said that agents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency seized packets containing around P1.3 million worth of suspected “kush” or high-grade marijuana from him.
The operation was conducted at the BF Resort Village in Talon Dos, Las Piñas.
The drug was shipped from California and consigned to Juanito in Las Piñas City but it was detected by the PDEA and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group, prompting PDEA to launch a “controlled delivery” that led to his arrest.
Following the incident, some Filipinos took to social media to call for the elder Remulla’s resignation from his Cabinet post.
“When your son is caught in a drug bust, your unconditional love is foremost! But when you’re SOJ and it’s your son involved in such drug bust, your unconditional oath and love for country is paramount! Resignation is a must! #BoyingRemullaResign,” a Twitter user wrote.
“Just the mere fact that he’s the acting DOJ Sec is enough to influence whoever it is who will handle the case, sinong piskal ang ‘di ma-threaten [diyan]? If he’s serious in not wanting to influence his son’s case, the only right thing to do is to RESIGN! #BoyingRemullaResign,” another online user commented.
But the elder Remulla on Thursday shared a handwritten note to the media where he vowed not to interfere with his son’s case and let justice take its course.
“We all know about unconditional love but at 38 years old, he will have to face his predicament as a fully emancipated child,” he wrote.
As justice secretary, Remulla has administrative control over the National Prosecution Service, members of which would have to determine probable cause on whether his son should be indicted and charged in court.
He can, in theory, review appeals of resolutions of the Prosecutor General and from provincial and city prosecutors, but he has said that he will not intervene.
“A person should always face the consequences of their actions and I will let justice take its own course,” Remulla said in his letter, stressing he takes his roles as father and as justice secretary seriously.
He also said that while it is a “very difficult time” for him and his family, it is “nothing compared to what so many Filipinos are going through.”
“I will respect the justice system and I wish my son a path to redemption,” the justice secretary added.
Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla additionally said they “were never informed” of the drug operation against his nephew.
“Our family is devastated with these developments, most especially my 87-year-old mother. We thank everyone for their calls of concern but rest assured that we are on top of the situation and that we shall abide in accordance with the due process of law,” he said on Thursday.
“What we are going through is what millions of Filipino families are also going through now. We have been asked numerous times by friends and associates to intervene with their family members’ cases and we have never in any way intervened. We are not about to break any rules now,” the governor added.
The PDEA said Juanito was the lone suspect in the operation and is now detained at their facility.
The agency said he is facing life imprisonment, the penalty for importing illegal drugs.