Remulla says won't resign; hands off on resolution on son's drug rap

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Remulla says won't resign; hands off on resolution on son's drug rap
This screengrab from PTV 4 stream shows Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla who faced the members of the Justice beat press corps for the first time on October 18 since his son's arrest last week.
PTV4 screengrab

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla stressed Tuesday that he will not step down as he promised he would not intervene in the resolution of drug-related complaints filed against his son, Juanito Jose Diaz Remulla III.

If the prosecution’s resolution is adverse to his son, Remulla said, this will be brought directly to court. As justice secretary, Remulla would have the power to receive Petitions for Review of prosecutors' resolutions.

Facing justice beat reporters for the first time since his son’s arrest, Remulla said he will not resign over potential conflict of interest in the case.

"That is not my call. I am a very honorable person when it comes to this. It’s the president’s call and if I feel later on that I am not any more effective in this position then I will talk to the president whatever has to be done in the future," he told reporters.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos already threw his support behind Remulla who is in hot water following the arrest of his son due to drugs, as the chief executive said demands for Remulla’s resignation have “no basis.” 

Remulla has also received the support of members of the House and Senate as well as from the legal cooperation cluster of the government's anti-communist task force, which framed quit calls as a smear campaign by communists. 

Questions on conflict of interest 

The case has raised questions on how the Department of Justice and the National Prosecution Service would handle the case against the justice secretary's son.

Juanito III was charged before a Las Piñas court last week for possession of illegal drugs. The case is non-bailable.

He will also undergo preliminary investigation — where he will be given the opportunity to file a counter-affidavit — for a complaint of importation of illegal drugs.

But Remulla said he has stood firm that the resolution on his son's case will not reach the Office of the Justice Secretary.

"That was the only question that was asked of me by the lawyers who I talked to. I said if there is a resolution, do not let it reach the DOJ. Let it be discussed in court whatever the case may be," he said in the news briefing.

On July 13, Remulla issued Department Circular 27 that states that the Office of the Justice Secretary shall review appeals from resolutions of the Prosecutor General in cases subject to preliminary investigation.

The circular also holds that "the Secretary of Justice reserves the right to evaluate, in the interest of justice, to afford fair play and prevent the miscarriage of justice, motu proprio or upon written and signed complaint, any resolution of the Prosecutor General, Regional State Prosecutors and Provincial/City Prosecutors."

Remulla said Tuesday that "if it's [an] adverse case against my son, it will not be appealed here. It will go straight to the courts for trial."

The justice secretary last week promised not to interfere in the case, saying his 38-year-old son "will have to face his predicament as a fully emancipated child."

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