Department of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, known as a staunch supporter of the Philippines’ hardline war on drugs, was put in an awkward spot last week after his son, Juanito Jose Diaz Remulla III, was arrested for — of all things — allegedly importing PHP1.3 million of marijuana during a buy-bust operation by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Many have called for Remulla to resign so that his son’s case could be handled impartially, but Remulla instead promised that he would not use his position to influence it in any way.
But already there are signs that Juanito may be receiving special treatment. When authorities released his mugshot to the media, they made the unusual decision to blur his face. They also reportedly did not force Juanito to take a drug test after he refused one.
Now, Rep. France Castro of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers wants to investigate the apparent pile-up of affordances given to Juanito.
Castro singled out the two-day delay in publicizing Juanito’s arrest, who had been busted by the authorities on Oct. 11 but whose arrest was only made known to the media on Oct. 13.
“His father who was in Geneva was even among the first to know [of] the arrest. What transpired during the almost 2-day delay?” the lawmaker asked in a statement released on Monday.
Castro also mentioned the blurred mugshots that were released to the media — a departure from authorities’ common practice of “not only [releasing] the unaltered mugshots of drug suspects but also [parading] them in front of media as early as they can.”
The lawmaker also said that Juanito should have been made to take a drug test, which is mandatory for anyone arrested in a drug case. The lawmaker argued that the drug test should have been done within 24 hours if there was reasonable ground to believe that he was under the influence.
“But with the almost 2-day delay that was skipped by the PDEA, even up [until] now he has not been tested,” she said.
A PDEA spokesperson responded to Castro’s statement by saying that the blurring of drug suspects mugshots is part of their “existing media protocols” and claimed that the reason Juanito did not take a urine test was due to his lawyer’s intervention.
high-profile supporters of the former and current administration. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is also standing by his DOJ chief, saying he did not believe Remulla had any reason to resign.
Remulla has been a vocal supporter of the Philippines’ hardline drug policy and recently doubled down on the country’s stance against rejoining the International Criminal Court, rebuking the ICC for “challenging the Philippine justice system” after the latter said it planned to resume its investigation into crimes allegedly committed as part of Duterte’s drug war.