Analysts seek fair probe of drug case vs DoJ chief’s son

File photo of seized marijuana bricks — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

POLITICAL analysts on Sunday sought an impartial investigation of the drug case against the son of the country’s Justice chief.

“The drug case of the Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla’s son calls for an objective investigation, clear determination of guilt and firm implementation of our laws,” Arjan P. Aguirre, who teaches political science at the Ateneo de Manila University, said in a Facebook Messenger chat.

He should also prove that his openness about his eldest son’s recent arrest for illegal drug possession was out of sincerity and not due to pressure, he added.

Mr. Remulla did not immediately reply to a text message seeking comment.

Last week, officials of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) arrested Mr. Remulla’s son Juanito Jose for possession of high-grade marijuana worth about P1.3 million.

PDEA Director Derrick Arnold C. Carreon told CNN Philippines on Oct. 14 he was the lone suspect in the anti-illegal drug operation conducted in Las Piñas City near the Philippine capital.

The Justice chief said he would not interfere in his son’s case.

“This is a very difficult time for my family and me, but this is nothing compared to what so many Filipinos are going through,” he told reporters in a handwritten message via Viber. “I will respect the justice system and I wish my son a path to redemption.”

Calls for him to resign went viral on social media.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. last week rejected calls for Mr. Remulla to resign. “You call for somebody to resign if he is not doing his job or if he misbehaves in that job,” he said on Oct. 14.

Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman said the Justice chief does not need to resign for as long as he keeps his word to stay out of his son’s case.  

Hansley A. Juliano, a political economy researcher studying at Nagoya University’s Graduate School of International Development in Japan, said Mr. Remulla’s resignation would depend on the pressure and potential damage of the incident to his reputation.

“There are always calls for resignations of Cabinet officials when they seem to damage the brand, integrity or reputation of the president vis-a-vis his governance promises,” he said in a Facebook Messenger chat.

Mr. Remulla was in Geneva, Switzerland last week to discuss the country’s human rights issues with the United Nations.

He told the UN Rights Council that the Department of Justice (DoJ) was aiming to “change the culture” of the local justice system, which he said was prone to delays.

The Justice department has brought five of the 52 cases involving 150 erring cops involved in the government’s deadly drug war.

The UN Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights last month said the government’s probe of human rights violations in connection with its deadly drug war lacked transparency.

Data from the Philippine government released in June 2021 showed at least 6,117 suspected drug dealers had been killed in police operations. Human rights groups estimate that as many as 30,000 suspects died. — John Victor D. Ordoñez