Remulla son is lone suspect in drug bust, says PDEA

Remulla son is lone suspect in drug bust, says PDEA
This handout photo from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency shows bags of marijuana seized during a counternarcotics operation where Juanito Jose Remulla III was arrested in October 2022.
PDEA / Released

MANILA, Philippines — Juanito Jose Diaz Remulla III, arrested as the lone suspect in a drug bust earlier and now detained in a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency facility, is facing life imprisonment, the penalty for the importation of illegal drugs, the PDEA said Friday.

Remulla, the son of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, was arrested Tuesday night by counternarcotics agents and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group in Las Piñas City for drug possession. 

Speaking in an interview aired over CNN Philippines’ The Source, PDEA Director Derrick Carreon said a package from California containing 893.9 grams of high-grade marijuana with an estimated street value of P1.25 million was addressed to the younger Remulla.

“Based on the report, he was the lone suspect during that particular operation,” Carreon said of Remulla. “We stand by the regularity of the operation... since it was an interagency operation, all procedures and protocols were followed.”

Carreon also said the PDEA had not seen any moves or overtures by Justice Secretary Remulla, who has administrative supervision over the National Prosecution Service, to influence the outcome of the arrest. 

The justice chief has vowed not to interfere in the case, saying his 38-year-old son "will have to face his predicament as a fully emancipated child."

"A person should always face the consequences of their actions and I will let justice take its own course," he also said in a handwritten letter released to media, stressing he takes his roles as father and as justice secretary seriously.

Carreon has yet to hear from arresting officers about how the suspect reacted during the operation.

A control delivery operation involves the identification of suspected contraband sent through a parcel service. Authorities then allow the deal to proceed as planned to serve as basis for the eventual arrest. 

"Bail may or may not be granted, we have to wait for the recommendation of the prosecutor once we file a case in court... We have faith in the justice system that it will work based on the rule of law," Carreon also said. 

Carreon said the Marcos administration's take on the war on drugs continues, with 26,000 of 46,000 barangays in the country now being declared "drug-cleared."

"There is no more competition, only collaboration among all participating agencies...we have a 60 to 70 percent conviction rate of drug cases," he said. 

Following the arrest, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. stood by his appointee, dismissing calls for Justice Secretary Remulla to resign as having "no basis." — Franco Luna

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