February 22, 2024

In Religion class since grade school, the parable of the Lost Son by Luke 15:11-21:22 was a constant read for all of us.

A man had two sons. The younger one asked for his share of the estate and the man willingly divided his property between them. The younger son set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, a severe famine hit the country and in need, he worked in the fields to feed pigs.

Coming to his senses, he thought of how many of his father’s hired servants had food to spare while he was starving to death. He decided to go back and say to him: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.”

On approach his father saw him filled with compassion; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him and the son said his line. But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.

Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So, he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. “Your brother has come,” he replied, “and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.”

The older brother was understandably angry as all the years he had slaved for him and never disobeyed his orders, yet never given even a young goat to celebrate with his friends. Here came a son who squandered his advanced inheritance with prostitutes and he gets fattened calf.

The sage of a father says, “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

In this light should we read the problem Justice Secretary “Boying” Remulla facing a family trial. Indeed, one can choose his friends but not his relatives and when his eldest son, Juanito Jose III, brought in nearly a kilo of high-grade cannabis through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, thinking that he, through his father, could get away with it.

The son is 38 years old, with more than sufficient discernment to distinguish what is right from wrong and face the consequences of his acts as stated in Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

No special treatment given or expected except in the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency mug shot where his face was blurred compared to actor Mark Anthony Fernandez’s picture for the same offense, to which netizens reacted to the tale of two mug shots and when a son of the Justice Secretary and an actor/ordinary citizen commits the same violation.

“Yung isa kasi pogi, ‘yung isa dehins kaya tinago na lang”; “Isang malaking patawa sa sistema ng hustisya. Patunay lang ‘to na malaki ang pagkakaiba ng mahirap at ordinaryong tao sa politiko, mayaman at makapangyarihan”: and the clincher, “Difference. Hi-grade imported versus local.”

Come to think it, if he really is guilty of what he is accused now, it was of pure arrogance of him as he had the import delivered in his name at his own address. Probably he did not have the “conventional knowledge” a.k.a. “common sense” of a criminal mind.

Thus, he faces 40 years in jail and when he goes out, expect SOJ Boying, who faces the anguish of a father to be at the end of the road of redemption waiting, with open arms. That’s what fathers are here for. Sad but true.