‘You call for somebody to resign if he’s not doing his job or that they have misbehaved in that job…. He has done quite the contrary,’ says President Marcos
MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. shielded Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla from resignation calls on Friday, October 14, saying there is “no basis” for the latter to step down after the Cabinet official’s son was arrested for alleged drug possession.
“I think the calls for him to resign have no basis. You call for somebody to resign if he’s not doing his job or that they have misbehaved in that job…. He has done quite the contrary,” Marcos said on the sidelines of Department of Science and Technology event in Pasay City.
On October 10, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) led an operation to arrest Remulla’s eldest son, Juanito Jose Diaz Remulla III, for alleged possession of marijuana. PDEA made public the incident in a statement on Thursday, October 13, which was followed by a statement from the justice secretary.
In a hand-written statement, Remulla had vowed that he “will not intervene” in his son’s case. “A person should always face the consequence of their actions and I will let justice take its own course,” said Remulla, who as justice secretary oversees the country’s prosecutors.
Marcos cited Remulla’s statement in defending the Cabinet official.
“He has taken the very proper position that he is recusing himself from any involvement in the case of his son. And I think that being the secretary of [the] Department of Justice, he’s very aware that he must allow the processes of the judiciary to work properly and that no one in the executive should interfere,” said Marcos.
The National Unity Party (NUP) expressed continued support for its vice chairman.
“We have known Secretary Remulla for years. His professionalism and love of country is unparalleled. We also commend Secretary Remulla for promptly assuring authorities that he will not, in any way, interfere in or influence the case of his son,” said the party in a statement signed by NUP chairman Ronaldo Puno and its president, Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte.
The NUP endorsed Marcos in 2022 and is part of the ruling coalition.
The Remullas – a powerful political clan in Cavite – are key allies of the Marcos administration. Secretary Remulla, who ran and won to represent the 7th District of Cavite in the House, campaigned with and endorsed Marcos and his running mate, Vice President Sara Duterte in the 2022 elections.
Ahead of his assumption as justice secretary, Remulla had said that the Department of Justice under the Marcos administration would look into “red flags” and “pattern” of the previous administration’s anti-drug campaign.
Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called “war on drugs” targeted mostly the poor yet was supported at the time by many Filipinos and key political allies of Duterte, including Remulla.
Remulla, as justice secretary, has promised to be “serious” about human rights in the Philippines. Rights groups – both local and international – have repeatedly sounded the alarm over human rights violations, especially in the name of the so-called “drug war.” Duterte and his allies have either rejected or downplayed these criticisms.
Marcos himself has acknowledged – albeit subtly – the failure of Duterte’s drug war. He has vowed to pursue the campaign against illegal drugs but in a “slightly different” way, citing the need to focus more on prevention and helping heal those who are already addicted to illegal substances.