COMMENT: Boying Remulla as justice chief? So help us, God.

Jose Crispin
Jose Crispin "Boying" Remulla talks to members of the media during a news conference outside the gates of the Export Processing Zone Authority Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 in General Trias, Cavite province south of Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, Rep. Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, the Cavite representative and House deputy speaker who questioned the intention of community pantry as having a hidden agenda and red-tagged the Robredo-Pangilinan campaign, said that he had accepted President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s invitation to be his Justice Secretary.

I am not expecting much from this administration. I’ll probably always be uncomfortable addressing Marcos Jr. as president and Sara Duterte as vice president. But it’s even more appalling to think that Remulla will be at the helm of a department whose chief also sits in the Anti-Terror Council, whose powers include designating people and organization as terrorists, authorize detention without the nod of the judiciary, among many others.

And what about the investigations pending before the Department of Justice (DOJ)? The reason why the International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor suspended its probe on the drug war is because the Philippines had filed a deferral request through the ambassador in the Netherlands, saying that the DOJ is reviewing 52 of more than 6,000 administrative cases against the police forces who carried out the drug war.

                      

If Remulla, a staunch ally of the president, becomes the DOJ Secretary, what would become of this investigation, which is already a sham to begin with, as the Justice secretary serves at the pleasure of the president?

Although he said that he will tone down once he takes office, he also wasted no time criticizing the media for its supposed brainwashing activities, and justified his red-tagging, saying that it is just a “political term” to unmask “them.” As to who he was pertaining to when he used “them,” we can’t be so sure, as he seems to red-tag anyone whose opinion and worldview is different from him and his likes.

Human Rights group Karapatan, in a statement, said that we “can only expect more injustice and even more impunity under the presumptive Marcos-Duterte administration with Remulla at the helm of the DOJ.” Meanwhile, community pantry organizer Ana Patricia Non said in a Facebook post that she’s uncomfortable with Remulla as the DOJ chief. I also share their frustrations.

But since a Justice Secretary Remulla is already inevitable at this point, we also have no choice but to be in a constant lookout. Criticize him for his missteps, and hope to God that he will do more good than otherwise.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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