The past week must have been a grueling time for Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla of the Department of Justice.
Last week, his son Juanito Remulla III was arrested by operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for possession of cannabis, or marijuana.
Secretary Remulla learned of his son’s arrest when the former was in Switzerland where he represented the Philippines in a forum on human rights. There, he defended the anti-narcotics program of the country before a panel of the United Nations.
News of Remulla’s son’s arrest came out more than a day after the arrest was made. Understandably, the PDEA had to ascertain the real identity of the person they arrested before they could make any announcement linking that person to the justice secretary.
Mindless, opportunistic politicians such as the publicity-seeking Representatives Edcel Lagman and France Castro questioned the “delay” in the release of the news.
Their protests underscored their inability to understand that the PDEA has a policy of verifying any information they have regarding any arrests they make, before releasing the information to the public.
Lagman took one foolish step further by demanding that the Remulla family must explain why it took the family more than a day to make the announcement that Secretary Remulla’s son had, indeed, been arrested.
The surreal Lagman seems unaware that the Remulla family has no legal obligation to make press statements.
A certain Athena Charanne Presto, who claims to be a sociologist, demanded Secretary Remulla’s resignation. Presto probably needs to read up on her Sociology because Remulla said he will not resign inasmuch as his son’s case has nothing to do with his job as justice secretary.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. agrees, and rejected any call for Remulla’s resignation.
A certain Atty. Kristina Conti from the National Union of People’s Lawyers, known for its anti-administration bias, publicly said she doubts if Secretary Remulla will keep his vow not to intervene in his son’s case.
Atty. Conti does not speak like a lawyer should.
As a lawyer, Conti ought to know that since she has no prima facie evidence to support her suspicion, she has to give Secretary Remulla the benefit of the doubt.
Conti was probably absent in law school when her classmates were taught that suspicion is not synonymous to guilt.
Being a father, it certainly pains Secretary Remulla to see his son in trouble with the law.
As the Secretary of Justice, he knows that it is his duty to see to it that justice is properly carried out without fear or favor, even if the accused happens to be the son of the justice secretary.
Soon after he returned from abroad, Secretary Remulla himself informed the public in a television interview that his son is old enough to face the possible legal consequences of what happened, and that he will not intervene in his son’s case.
“Let the axe fall where it may be,” is essentially the message Secretary Remulla conveyed to everyone, including his son.
True to what Secretary Remulla said, and contrary to what his detractors have been peddling, prosecutors from the Department of Justice immediately filed in the appropriate court the corresponding drug raps against his son.
Since the prosecutors recommended no bail for Remulla’s son, it is very unlikely that the court which will try the son’s case will grant provisional liberty to the younger Remulla. If convicted, the son may serve a life sentence.
Evidently, the fact that the prosecutors filed the corresponding criminal case against Remulla’s son, and that they did not recommend any bail for him, is an early indication that Secretary Remulla intends to keep his word that he will not intervene in his son’s legal problem.
Former Senator Vicente Sotto III, a political rival of the current administration that includes Remulla, believes that the justice secretary will not intervene in his son’s case. Senator JV Ejercito has also spoken in defense of the justice secretary.
Therefore, from all available indications, it looks like Secretary Remulla will keep his promise not to meddle in his son’s case.
Secretary Remulla’s situation appears to be a case of first impression.
There is nothing in the historical record of the Philippines about a justice secretary who intervened in a criminal case against his son or daughter.
That fact should be enough incentive for Secretary Remulla to keep his word and let the historical record stay unblemished.
When British Prime Minister Winston Churchill rallied his people against Nazi Germany’s aggression in World War II, he promised that when historians of the future review the record, they will say that the British resistance to the Nazis against all odds will be Britain’s “finest hour.”
By keeping his distance from his son’s legal predicament, this unfortunate incident can prove to be Secretary Remulla’s “finest hour.”