The high profile arrest of Juanito Jose Remulla lll for allegedly importing marijuana, a prohibited drug, from San Diego, California worth about P1.2M has certainly generated enough controversy that PBBM had to issue a statement.
This was necessary because the arrested individual happens to be the son of the current Secretary of Justice, Jesus Crispin Remulla.
As we know, there have been calls for the resignation of the father in the regular and social media.
I do not know why it is that every time an individual is arrested who is related to a government official, the relationship is at times the focus of the reporting and not the crime.
For instance, when a nephew of a Congressman or a Mayor is arrested, it is the relationship that is emphasized in the reporting as if it is a given that the arrested individual will beat the charge.
This appears to be the drift of those demanding the resignation of the Justice Secretary.
The age old question to ask in this circumstance is: should a relative like a father who happens to be in government resign every time a son, daughter, or any other relative is arrested?
There is no easy answer to such a question, principally because of some cases in the past.
Some relatives may have gotten away but it is also equally true that relatives of public officials and even officials themselves have been sent to jail because of what they did. So, maybe the answer is—it depends.
In this case, I was surprised that some of the usual government critics came to the defense of Secretary Boying Remulla, and for good reason.
In our kind of judicial system, I quite agree with former Senator Leila De Lima that every arrested individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. Furthermore, the father has issued a categorical statement recusing himself from any involvement in the case, saying that his 38-year-old son will have to face the music on his own.
The uncle and current Governor of Cavite also issued a statement that he will not interfere in the case.
The public, in the interest of fairness, should therefore perhaps reserve judgment and see how this case will move forward.
Because it is a high profile case, I am sure that it will be covered by the media every step of the way and scrutinized in every detail.
If there will be any signs that the young Remulla will be getting any special treatment, the usual critics I am sure will punch on it as hard as they can.
This case must be a very unwelcome distraction to Secretary Boying Remulla that he would rather not have.
I am sure that a lot of us who are parents understand the situation well.
But as he very well knows, this goes with the territory of being a parent and public official.
Sometimes, things do not always turn out the way we want it.
Fortunately for him, in his three months as DOJ Secretary, his pronouncements and actions have been well-studied, proper and correct. This is perhaps one reason why even the usual critics are giving him some slack and the benefit of the doubt.
In the initial report from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Juanita Remulla lll was arrested when he attempted to claim the imported high grade marijuana.
Question is, what did PDEA mean by high grade marijuana?
Does this carry a higher penalty than say an ordinary marijuana or just a way of making the arrest more dramatic?
There is also some indication in the initial report that PDEA may have had an informant which is the reason why the arresting personnel were well prepared and ready.
There was, however, no mention that would indicate that the young Remulla has imported marijuana before or whether the imported stuff was just for his personal use. This in a way is important because this will influence the development of the case if the marijuana is only for his own consumption and not to be marketed.
Now we know that the charge is for illegal possession of dangerous drugs which falls under Sec 11 of R.A. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002.
The lawyers of young Remulla whoever they are should be breathing a sigh of relief. For good lawyers they must be seeing opportunities and not all doom and gloom. Furthermore, part of their job is to see to it that this case remains focused on the merits of the case and not allow it to become a circus.
At this stage of the case, I do not know whether the young Remulla realizes the kind of problem he has just given his family.
I hope he does because this case has the potential of affecting the political fortunes of his clan which is on the rise. It would be a pity if it takes a dive.