MANILA, Philippines (Updated 10:07 a.m.) — Re-elected Rep. Crispin “Boying” Remulla (Cavite 7th District), who linked supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo to the communist armed rebellion, is presumptive president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s pick to head the Department of Justice.
Remulla confirmed his appointment with reporters in a Zoom interview on Monday morning. He will be taking over the spot of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
Speaking to reporters, he said it is a huge opportunity for lawyers like him to serve the country.
He said he did not apply for the post, but Marcos had been hinting it already. “Even though the votes weren’t in yet, he wanted me there,” he said partly in Filipino.
Remulla ran unopposed as representative of the 7th District of Cavite.
Cavite was the site of massive rallies for the UniTeam tandem of Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, including one at the General Trial Sports Complex, where tens of thousands of Caviteños greeted Marcos.
Gov. Jonvic Remulla, brother of the future justice secretary, said he invited the UniTeam to come back to the province, because "Cavite has something to prove."
‘War on drugs’ review and AO 35
One of the ambitious projects of the Guevarra-led DOJ is the “war on drugs” review panel, that has so far, only released two reports for the president.
Under Remulla, the continuity of the review panel, a commitment the Philippine government made before the United Nations Human Rights Commission, is still up in the air.
“Pag inabot ko ya, pag dumating sa lap ko, we will decide. Tingnan ko muna initial results kung kinakailangan.”
(If I inherit it, if it falls onto my lap, we will decide. We will first look at initial results to see if it [continuity] is needed.)
Remulla also admitted that he is still unfamiliar with Administrative Order 35, which authorizes review of politically-motivated killings including that of activists. But he stressed he will operate on a “justice for all” mandate.
Red-tagging and ABS-CBN franchise
During the tense campaign period, Rep. Remulla claimed that attendees of a mammoth rally for Robredo, Marcos' closest rival, in Cavite were paid as he also described them as "like activists" as he jumped to the baseless conclusion that they seemed to be "from the Left."
Despite repeated and constant reminders against this dangerous practice, Remulla red-tagged or linked the attendees to the communist armed struggle.
As justice secretary, Remulla would sit at the Anti-Terrorism Council, under the feared anti-terrorism law.
Agencies under DOJ also include the government’s prosecution arm and the National Bureau of Investigation that conducts criminal probes. The justice secretary also sits as chair of the Administrative Order 35 Committee that investigates politically-motivated killings, including that of activists and dissenters.
During the months-long hearing for the grant of a legislative franchise for ABS-CBN, Remulla decried “cyber bullying” and requested sobriety from parties. He asked the help of the National Bureau of Investigation in looking into what he claims are “troll farms” created to “cyber bully” him and other lawmakers who had been holding the hearings.
Remulla was caught on video jotting down notes while the Lupang Hinirang, the Philippine national anthem, was being played, a violation of Section 38 of the Flag and Herald Code that states that when the National Anthem is played, “the attending public shall sing the national anthem.”
Remulla apologized for the incident, but not before dragging “ABS-CBN people” whom he accused of “playing up” the issue on social media.