President Aquino calls for the dismantling of syndicates in the national penitentiary after one of prison’s celebrity prisoners, Rolito Go, went missing for a day. (The day after, Go materialized claiming he was abducted though.)   It has been  common knowledge among denizens in the prison reservation that inmate Go is not only operating a financing plan through his lending business but is also allegedly breaching security by surreptitiously moving in and out of the area from where he is supposed to be confined.  Impressions from other prominent inmates in the past almost always rub on him since he was after all a part of the batch.


Before him, there was Romy Jalosjos who had been suspected of diverting his route from a DOJ permitted hospital check up to some other place.  It would be discovered that it was Jalosjos’ brother who was actually seen somewhere else.  The same had been bruited about against Dingdong Teehangkee, Robin Padilla, Norberto Manero, Governor Jose Villarosa and recently, former Governor Jose Antonio Leviste.  But is there an organized group, a shadowy cluster of persons, a syndicate that facilitates this kind of prison violation in the face of outright restrictions imposed by prison rules and prison administration?


Or was the alleged planned diversion of trips of high profile prisoners merely were successfully transacted arrangements between the captive prisoner and his destitute custodian escort concluded through negotiations and  bribery.  A case to case situation?  A wag once said, cash-to-cash basis.


Both intances, a so-called syndicated activity and individual discretion yield a considerable statement that reflect the true state of organizational morale.  The same can be said of a soldier who would rather sell his issued firearm and ordnance to his enemy in exchange of an additional allowance.  The same can be said of a law enforcer who would act as protector of some criminal elements if not leading a criminal group to sustain a higher quality of life.  These are reflective of low morale, poor training and outright ignorance of whatever ideals they must pursue.  There is just too much temptations, enticement and appeal (or, at the other side, fear, threats and menace)   that lures a person to compromise his career.


High profile prisoners have an arsenal of resources they can use against anyone they fancy to disagree with.  They have a battery of lawyers they can use to harrass anyone.  They can impose a threat or even grease a difficult situation.  Those around him, his custodian, his institutional superiors know what is better for them.  They would rather acquiesce and get something than stick to the rule and get booted out unceremoniously.


In other words, if there is a pattern, a situation that appears headed towards an impression that incompetence in handling high profile prisoners has achieved a syndicated proportion then it calls for some reflective moments for policy makers.   Getting one’s act together is oftentimes expressed almost customarily.   But first, there must be a complete understanding of the problem.  Taking apart or dismantling something is difficult to execute unless one knows where to begin.  Ask a mechanic.  There should be an initial diagnosis aside from the usual tact of investigation.  (A former prison director suggested even that the penitentiary should be thrown in the farthest island and all the prison officers replaced.  It was short of saying that to roast a pig, we must burn a house.)   A practical understanding of the whole prison service, its idiosyncracies and peculiarities, the foibles and habits, the practices and abnormalities must be defined before any action is to be properly applied.


Less than this, any effort to resolve the problem would merely be shallow and worst, once the problem reappears later after hybernating, it would have grown into a graver form.


About vjtesoro

A perpetual student of Corrections

Posted on August 21, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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