Preface to Celebrity Prisoners Book
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION
Sometime in 2006, I sat down to review my notes and diaries about my work in prison. I had a great time jotting down my interaction with inmates whose previous calling made them household names. I was fascinated on how they took incarceration as a second leaf of their lives. How they parried insults and every humiliating period and yet still clang on dear sanity to express wantonly every normal request and consideration.
This is an analytical view of an exclusive social culture and intended as a dissertation on celebrity prisoners. The subjects are aplenty. Eddie Fernandez, Berting Labra, brothers Rommel and Robin Padilla, Ceasar Guy, Orlando Dulay, the Aquino-Galman convicts, Osmena scion, Roger Arienda, Roberto Manalili, Claudio Teehangkee III, Romeo Jalosjos, Reynaldo Berroya, Mayor Sanchez, Rolito Go, Junior de Guzman, Rodolfo Quizon Jr., Ambet Antonio, Luis Villarosa, Hubert Webb, Bingbong Crisologo, Nilo Tayag, Norberto Manero, and before them, we have Amado V. Hernandez, Luis Taruc, Leonardo Manecio aka Nardong Putik and the entire politburo of HMB or Huk. Furtherdown, we have Jose P. Laurel, Ramon Mitra, Raul Manglapuz, Ferdinand Marcos, Jose W. Diokno, Ninoy Aquino (well, to name a few). The names evoke a veritable whos’ who of memories. During war years and political upheaval, it has been said, that imprisonment is a credential worthy of reckoning in the course of evaluating a person’s stature and his role in history.
This dissertation however ambitious will tackle a select universe. I have taken up only those who figured in celebrated cases, heinous ones, which grabbed prominent attention through blaring headlines and whose names became by-word in the public consciousness. The work was almost finished. It was nearly completed, the draft was ready and aimed at publication until a couple of threats from those covered and they manifested their objections. If I would pursue until its completion and eventually its publication, I will be saddled with and pulverized by countless litigations and like those authors who chose as subject those with connection and power, they are most likely to be erased. The case of Primitivo Mijarez came to mind.
Hence, out of caution and of course the regular weariness, I folded up my manuscripts and tucked it inside a wooden box hoping that one day it could be resurrected. The box became antiquated because of my transfer from one major penal establishment to another. I have to pack it and literally shoulder it wherever I am. Until, one day, I thought of re-writing it for posterity and precision. I have to include those who would come in later. The first edition was very tame. It was almost a clean version of prison life. Nothing dramatic, nothing emotional, nothing scandalous. I have edited it to the point transforming the work into another mythical fairly tale. I was very careful not to include the dirt and filth of prison life especially how it deflected on the lives of the so-called celebrity inmates. Describing a clean prison however is like defining a hospital, and that would be unfair. Describing a dirty prison is likewise unfair also because I would just be repeating a description of a municipal cemetery. In my later version I thought, the prison would be presented as it were—dirt, virtues, warts and all.
Eventually, I resurrected the draft, this time with a determined company, my sister, Theodora, convinced that a sanitized version is almost offering lies to our readers. We resurrected the draft, and it is in this edition, a newly crafted material introducing every detail on what is there in prison, in the collective minds of inmates, their visitors and loved ones including impressions from researchers done by audacious students of criminology and social sciences. A complete and virtual expression of what is really imprisonment to the chosen humanity, if you may, who were tasked and compelled to serve it—whether they are the lumpen, in the pejorative sense or the celebrated kind. A truthful package for those who wanted to trek the labyrith of prison life—a virtual challenge to every mortal whose life is constantly pushed every second of the day at the edge of extinction.
This work is everything about imprisonment and how it dealt with its clientele. It is about pain and accomplishment as institutionally experienced. It is about a dying nay, dynamic episode to contracting more life in the subjective sense; it is about life as inspired by and as conceptualized under a dizzying regime of envy and wish fulfillment on death. It is no longer viewing humanity from a cell window; it is humanity as it is lived artificially under humanity’s own invention of delimiting freedom under a restrictive condition only known before as a cage for wild and irrational beasts.
Welcome to a life of detention.