IN DEFENSE OF PRISON GUARDS

I rise to submit my view regarding the trouble that plagued the national penitentiary.  There were rounds of accusations blaming the correctional personnel that the defects of prison administration were a reflection of their faults and inadequacies.  There were even implied charges that they were always at the top and bottom of the mess.  Media was recipient of information that behind every breakdown of discipline, like smuggling of contraband was always traceable if not attributed to the lowly prison officer.  It has always been said that the prison personnel are scalawags through and through.

This is however far from what is obtaining.  I have been in the prison service for more than three decades, much of it is spent in managing prison facilities and I know personally how incompetence is introduced into the system.  This may be a little outside of the usual impression but ineptitude is never found on the level of personnel performance.  It is never obtained in the rank and file.  It is never even manifested among the organic members of the organization.

Sadly and generally speaking, it is found on political appointments.  The prison service is a favorite rendezvous area of retired officials mainly from the police and the military.  And these officials, experts in their respective field, are found in the vortex of every correctional concern.  Their qualifications, not to mention their political connections, are beyond reproach.  They are the best one can dream of.  It is imagined that after their dazzling career in their organization, a stint in corrections may as well be their swan song in the public service.  After each term of office however, their names unfortunately would be besmirched, blemished and strained by scandals.  For others, they do not know what hit them.  For the rest, it was a disappointing episode.  In countering such charges, the blame is oftentimes shifted if not hurled directly at the prison worker.

Here however is the real score.

There were impressions that the prison personnel were behind every smuggling of contraband in the prison community.  That is myth.  If at all the prison personnel is forced or persuaded to bring in something inside the prison camp it is mostly food.  Prisoners would goad their guards to buy for them a piece of pizza pie, or fried chicken almost double the prize.  This is trafficking but these are regularly negotiated.  The prisoner would be able to taste something from the free community, the prison personnel gets a refund and a bit of revenue from the margin.  Prisoners never negotiate with his guard the entry of weapons, drugs and other illegal equipments.  Prisoners knew that it is bordering on impossibility and would expose their guards to unnecessary hassle.  Prison guards knew that the layers of personnel on each path towards the prison camp would make it difficult for them to smuggle anything unusual.  More so, a guard will never introduce something which in the long run might be used against him.  Safety dictates that he can only make on something through food and nothing else.

But there are contrabands seized and these may come from somewhere.  Here is how it is done.

Every political appointee who begins to assume prison leadership brings along a coterie of staff, mostly close associates from their former office.  Their sworn loyalty to their leader is manifest; they treat the word of their master as law and they see to it that master’s thoughts on the prison service translated according to the letter.  Their master, the political appointee, the one at the helm exudes principled ideals and every bone in his body is dedicated to good governance and the promotion of competence.

The trouble is that these staffers, these close associates once they are prowling in the prison camp projects the authority of their master.  No prison personnel can even touch them as in frisking, unless the prison guard wanted to invite harassment.  There were several instances when a prison guard posted at the gate would require these close associate for the mandatory frisking and questioning only to find themselves at the short end of authoritative anger.  Prison personnel were easily transferred to far flung penal facilities for performing their job.  Accordingly, they can be strict on everyone except for the chosen few, the close associates.

Now, these close associates having found themselves a cut higher than prison workers would be embolden to move in and out of the prison camp.  Firstly, in the guise of searching information.  Secondly, to project an air of transparency from leader to the constituency.  It is here where negotiation would start.  Prisoners knew that everybody has their own vulnerabilities.  They befriend those whom they know they can tap for some advantages.  They would shower respect and subservience and even allow themselves to be humiliated and enslaved.  Then they would go for the jugular and offer their new found friend something valuable.  If the close associate bites, then they are ripe for any transaction.  It is during this period when an unholy deal would take place.

Gang leaders know that these close associates are never bothered at the gates.  They can enter at will and nobody would inspect and frisk them.  They can bring anything from bladed weapons to firearms, from drugs to explosives.  And these can be procured at a cost favorable to the bearer, no haggling for discounts and no rebates whatsoever.  These close associates know that money is free flowing into the prison camp.
As a matter of fact, millions of pesos are in circulation at a given day.  Commerce is alive and sale of contraband is always a luxurious activity.  The close associates are never bothered at all since they are within the safe distance, near the prison leadership and away from danger if violence would erupt.  Besides, there are always the prison guards to blame when push comes to shove.  It is the lowly guard who are exposed to danger and violence more than the close associates.  And since these people know that there are those who can be censured and impugned, their nefarious activity is bolstered and become more emboldened.  They know that they would not stay long so their mantra is to make hay while the sun shines.  Not long after, the term of the prison leadership is up and scandal has broken.  Their master, a forlorn figure, while in their case, they are all laughing all the way to the bank.

The prison community knows well these personalities.  The prison organization has high regards for the prison leadership, make no mistake about it, but it is the close associates who abuse and make a mockery of their master’s integrity that takes the cake.

So, excuse me while I bend some notes.  It is not the prison guards who are to be blamed at all when trouble ignites.  A deeper probe would yield a different class of personalities who are behind all these.

Prison guards, I say, hold your head up high despite the accusations.  One day, those who are liable will finally be revealed.

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About vjtesoro

A perpetual student of Corrections

Posted on November 22, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Very well said,sir!

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  2. Very good, sir. I got the message very clearly.

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  3. If I may add… I believe that whoever is assigned in BUCOR will suffer the same fate as the previous Directors. The maximum compound is a walking atomic bomb. It will and it can explode anytime… Where else in the world can you find a max camp with more than 13,000 hard core offenders, drug lord, influential ex military men etc etc managed by a few hundred guards? It’s next to impossible if not downright CRAZY…But our guards and security officials are doing their best to handle this hopeless situation… AS for me, the best way to handle this is to decongest the max compound… a few thousand inmates..say 4 or 5 thousand. can be easily managed by a few hundred guards…That for me is the simplest way I to diffuse a walking atomic bomb.

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  4. very well said sir…nothing more nothing less….

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  5. PNoy n sec Delima please read… N please try to appoint a new Director coming from d rank n file of the BuCor n not from any other gov institution… Coz we know how inmates at the BuCor how they think n evn how they breath…

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  6. PG1 JUUNE LAUREL CAJAS

    Salute you Sir for defending us PRISON GUARDS,It’s better to have a Director coming from the higher BUCOR OFFICIALS rather than an appointee from the list of retired police and military officers who don’t have background on correction administration!

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  7. Nicely said, it is the DOJ that should be blame, obvious reason was, what the hell a military armaments are smuggled inside a maximum security camp? obviously a military hardware belong to a military then who the hell smuggle it Prison guard? or the Military official blinded by money ? anyway i already rerouted my IP to US server, we are being track our text messages and calls are being collected, see the old jammers ? it is illegal yes see the white sector antenna near the bldg 14? it is not just an antenna it is used in telcos to provide signal vice versa is to collect signals that is why i advice my friends and relatives to used alternative decoy sim and not to mention any name. Pangilinan is an intelligent man? no he is a morron not everyone here is living in caves, we are anonymous we are legions soon i will destroy he’s entire career by leaking all the call and txt that i gathered in he’s own trap. and guess what this morronic act are being blessed by DOJ ^_^ just wait for wiki leaks full report compilation soon.

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  8. Marivic Maligaya

    Its really better that the highest position in an institution be held by personas from the rank and file,most especially at the BUCOR,. sa hinaba haba ng panahon ng pagsisilbi ng isang beteranong prison guard, di hamak na talagang mas alam nila ang ugali ng mga bilanggo,. Lalong may kaalaman ang mga PRISON GUARD na ito sa kung paano sila pangasiwaan,. kesa sa mga taong walang alam kundi pansariling interest lamang,. I salute you Sir for defending our poor prison guards/rank and file,.

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  9. The system failed and started in the people up and above the people that appoints a leaders. And now the people behind the appointees are using media to cover there failure, and pointing there hands on the innocents PG’s.

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  10. name names

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  11. it has been a stigma and the tenure of leadership has always been the biggest problem in the bureaucracy. i just hope this serves as an eye opener not only to us but the government as a whole.

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  12. Alfredo Alex G. General

    Be brave enough to name names, document the corruption, take pictures and videos discreetly, and expose all who are involved. As long as people like you who represents the prison guards would only write an article like this and then do nothing afterwards, then you are not helping to put a stop on the corrupt activities. Negotiated deals with moneyed prisoners to buy food outside of the prison compound is still a violation of prison rules — that prisoners are fed with food prepared for them and food brought by their relatives during official visits. What “other items” do they negotiate for the prison guards to buy? You call it by whatever name, negotiated deal or whatever, but still, it is one form of corruption.

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    • Writing an essay on what is factual is bravery already. For those who want to know names, the log book of NBP control gate from 1970 to 2012 may be referred to. They can pick a name in the recorded data and I can supply the lurid detail.

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  13. PG 1 mark natividad

    thank you sir.

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  14. Nazario m. Kaabay

    Ang galing nyo SIR. Sana maliwanagan sila at dapat managot ang may sala. PG.1 From SAN RAMON ZAMBOANGA CITY.

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  15. If only bucor employees are bound for aspirations for the betterment of this institution and if we will work hard to attain our objective, we might not fall like this, we are working here not just for money but also we paid for concern and love we should give for this agency..we should have one aim and we must be united to reach it.for me i appreciate all the hardwork and efforts exerted by all the directors who have been part of Bucor even if they are not an organic here..especially who appointed by our president pnoy. Former Dir. Diokno and Gen. Pangilinan served for a change. Dir. Pangilinan started to create a BuCor Roadmap2022 and that is great!

    7 minutes ago · Like

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  16. PG1 Dionglay, Ronwaldo I.

    Maraming Salamat po s pagta2nggol nyo samen! Saludo po kme s inyo SIR!!! Brilliant move!… Godbless po!

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  17. super nakakataas ng moral ng mga guwardya at empleyado ang mga sinabi nyo sana lang po mapakinggan ng nakakataas at nakakintindi ng sitwasyon ng bucor. kung may dapat na manungkulan bilang director dito sa bureau wala kaming isisigaw kundi VENJO………

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  18. outstanding emotions explicitly conveyed thru affectionate descriptive essay. mabuhay. life is a continuous learning and working progress and such reporting herein gave us notable glimpse on the activities of those heroes guarding our safety against convicted men behind bars. mabuhay ang ating BuCor personnel. at dasal namin ang inyong kapakanan sa twina.

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  19. lira pangilinan

    Modernizing the Bureau to equate it to the modern society and equip us. If we think that we are smarter enough for the prisoners, prisoners are also upgrading their intellectual ability, skills, agenda etc. in studying us. Many judge, many criticize…but can they help us make it better!!!!….to where we are rooted, loved, have family…. in here we defend!!!!

    tnx vtesoro

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  20. PG1 David B. Vios/ New Bilibid Prison

    Sir, this an eye opener to those who rely on the sensationalized media broadcast! this would also serve as a wake up call for the national government to hasten the modernization of the national penetentiary!

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  21. PG3 Marlon E. Mangubat

    So i guess whenever a new Director comes in, we include in our order of battle to WATCH also the DC’s associates and not just the inmates.. 🙂

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    • When we say “order of battle” we refer to opponents or enemies. As correctional officers we are never trained, much more so oriented to believe that inmates are to be our enemies. Only inmates by themselves find their own, someone belonging to another gang or belief system who is to be considered an enemy or opponent or foe, among themselves in the prison community. Prison officers are authorities in charge of supervision, security management, rehabilitation and control. They are never at war with anyone in an area which they must be in full control unless they have lost their ground and has capitulated administration in favor of gangs. As to DC associates, they too are also not to be treated as enemies. They came with a pure heart but later would have a change of perception courtesy of our fellow organic personnel or proximity to the inmates themselves. We must watch them in the same manner we watch ourselves and our fellow officers. The problem arises when officers become subservient to them. On the whole, we must all be aware of our role in the entire theater of corrections. I tell you its everything educational and not a bit about warfare. It is a learning experience and never a traumatic immersion.

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  22. As a prison guard sir, I’m very much inspired with what you’ve said. Thank you! Though in a positive outlook, it is good that the government today is able to see the problem that we longed have to face, the truths that have existed ever since… I believe that before our beloved bureau can be transformed, all the problems of ours should be address first by the government.., and through that, maybe everything will be better soon…😊

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  23. In all its entirely, this piece sounds nothing more than a blame game – passing the buck. Perhaps if I may suggest, why don’t you tell us what kind of people are the prison guards in terms of the standard metrics by which government employees in general are hired, recruited, and whose appointments are approved by the Civil Service Commission? This way, we get to know whether prison guards are qualified, competent, and ideal to the job they perform. This is just a comment if you may allow.

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