Calls for #BoyingRemullaResign flood social media after DOJ chief’s son’s arrest for PHP1.3 million worth of marijuana

Image: Boying Remulla (Facebook)
Image: Boying Remulla (Facebook)

Netizens are not letting Department of Justice Secretary Boying Remulla off the hook, despite his insistence that he would not intervene on behalf of his son, who was arrested this week for possession of PHP1.3 million (US$22,058) worth of marijuna.

The hashtag #BoyingRemullaResign trended on social media after the justice secretary’s posted a handwritten note yesterday promising he would not intervene in the authorities’ investigation. In the note, he wrote that his 38-year-old son would have to “face his predicament as a fully emancipated child” and wished him “a path of redemption.”

Remulla’s son, Juanito Jose Diaz Remulla III, was arrested by authorities on Tuesday after allegedly being found in possession of a kilogram of imported kush that authorities estimated had a street value of PHP1.3 million.

Under Filipino law, anybody found guilty of importing over 500 grams of marijuana could potentially face life imprisonment and a penalty between PHP500,000 to PHP10 million (US$8,487 to US$169,740).

Filipinos online felt that Remula’s statement was not sufficient and called for him to resign out of delicadeza (propriety) and to give way to an impartial investigation.

“With his own son facing drug charges, Boying Remulla has lost all moral authority to be Secretary of Justice. I join calls for him to resign immediately,” academic Gideon Lasco wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, another netizen pointed out the irony of the situation to the DOJ chief’s brother, former Cavite representative Gilbert Remulla, who said that Juanito’s arrest was a cross his family had to bear.

“Hope this reminds you what was the stand of your brother back then when it was comfortable to consider it as a crime and support Death Penalty,” wrote the user, who posted screenshots of previous statements made by the justice chief himself in support of the death penalty for drugs, kidnapping, and plunder.

Other netizens also pointed out the disparity in privilege between Remulla simply distancing himself from his son and “letting the judicial process take its course” versus the victims of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, which Remulla staunchly supported.

“How lucky. When it’s the son of the Justice Secretary they mention the judicial process. But the poor victims of the tokhang (drug-related arrests) there’s no such thing as a judicial process. They were killed immediately,” one wrote..

Political comic artist Cartoonist Zach illustrated the stark difference between Remulla’s statement and several nameless deaths from tokhang — a word synonymous with the drug-related extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration.

Netizens also recalled the memory of Kian de los Santos, a 17-year-old student who was killed by police in 2017 based on fabricated drug charges, and who even pleaded for his life as he had a test in school the next day.

The arrest places Remulla in a tight spot as justice secretary, particularly since he recently doubled down on the country’s stance against rejoining the International Criminal Court and rebuked 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.

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