Monthly Archives: December 2012

WHAT IS THERE IN THE PRISON SERVICE FOR THE WORKER

prison work

First off, employment.  Nowadays, it does not pay to be unemployed, or even to be underemployed.  If you are married, you have to grab the proverbial steel blade (kapit sa patalim) just to be employed —-in whatever manner, in whatever way.  But working in government is a simple proposition if you have the credentials like the Civil Service eligibility.  (As a matter of fact, under the Senate Bill 3335 otherwise known as Corrections Act of 2012, once it is signed into law, the qualification, the eligibility part would play a major employment norm.  No eligibility, no admission into the government service.  Those who were fortunate to have been employed notwithstanding deficiency in credential like no CSC eligibility will be required to possess it within 5 years or face the prospects of attrition.  That is, one is either separated in the service or allowed to retire. )   It works wonder if you have it.  Passing it is not a breeze but for those who regularly read the dailies, it is almost a song.  Readers have certain advantages over those who are not.  That is one skill which the school ought to impose on its studentry but commercialism dictates that it is not the priority.  Hence, most of the graduates have no interest, much more so, any penchant at all to read.  As a consequence, they almost always fail in admission examinations like CSC (first or second grade) eligibility exams.

But this is not yet the real score on why work in prison when there are other services which are less hazardous, less unwholesome, less intriguing, less frustrating.  Of course, the argument is better settled when one would exclaim that there are no more vacancies in other institutions.  There is also the traditional outlook that there are friends, close ones, possibly relatives who can facilitate one’s employment application in the prison agency.  Despite the belief on the contrary, it pays to have some connections to gain employment; so most of those who were able to get items in the prison service have internal linkages one way or another.

Of course, a college degree, the preparatory learning has a lot to do with the choice.  There are a lot of students who completed the course on Criminology and failing to get the necessary adrenalin to fight for a slot in law enforcement (read police), they end up trying their luck to seek employment in the prison service.  Those who complete the collegiate course on Crim and eventually pass the board exam for Criminologist or either way, pass the CSC eligibility exams, are favored to jumpstart their career in corrections.  The first choice is the police service because it is more adventuresome, more powerful, more visible and the respect for wearing the uniform and bearing firearms, impact on the neighborhood.  The second choice is somewhere in other branches of criminology—fire, jail, traffic, customs, airport security, etc.  The third is prison service.  The alternative choice may be referred to in this regard is from those without direct connection in the prison organization.  If employment is open, then applicants are screened and if qualified, become members of the correctional agency.

Once initiated within the intricate woodwork of the prison community, one realizes that he also has entered a domain strictly exclusive.  He finds that most of the surnames of those he would meet in the course of his regular duties came from a direct relation from senior officers in the organization.

Once upon a time, during War years, most of those students stranded (during wartime schools are closed) found employment in prison, especially those from towns nearby.  They were the ambitious, studious and determined type; and they were easily absorbed in the prison service.  Years later, they would produce children of equal motivation.   The children would become doctors, lawyers, engineers, priests, professionals.  The black sheep, so called in the families, those who never made good in school and those who merely coasted along, were compelled and pushed to take over the items left by their parents due to retirement.  Hence, for a while, the prison service was handled and supervised by a weak crop of officers, and quite unfortunately, this was at a time when corrections was on its developmental stage in the late 70s.

Succeeding generation of officers has since taken over the former fledging batch.   They were the audacious, confident and prudent type.  While they carried the idealism of youth in government, the shallow exposure to poor quality of education had a toll on their performance.  They could not express themselves fully rendering report preparation and communication on the level of commonplace.  They would easily be impressed by talented prisoners.  There was even a time when prisoners were even tapped to prepare their academic requirements like thesis writing and term papers.

That generation of officers was subsequently replaced by the enterprising kind.  This was in the years of 2000.  There were transfers from other agencies.  There were also casualties, like those separated from the service.  And their replacements came from outside applicants.   They were the board passers.  They were the lateral entrants.  New blood so to speak.  They easily took over the reins and began a series of professional make over for the prison system.  From their ranks would easily develop a competent row of future administrators.

Suddenly, the effect of political appointments began to be felt.  Competence of the organization has to be sacrificed if only to accommodate the learning curve of the Presidential appointee.  And it marked on the subconscious of the worker.  They need not perform well at a time when such initiative may be seen as suspect.  Those who expressed consistency in work would be barred and frozen.  Canine devotion was to be preferred to talents and aptitude.  Some would chose to leave the institution and transfer to another agency with a heavy heart.

There is therefore a need for a law that would highlight corrections as a profession.  That day would come.  A few days before 2012 ended, the 15th Congress passed on third reading the Bureau of Corrections Act.  This eventually would situate corrective service in the country towards the 21st century.

Those present and currently in the prison service have high hopes to pin their aspirations and proficiency on.  Once signed by the President and passed as a Law, the prison service will not only serve as a beacon for the remaining batch of prison officers but would also serve as a bright star, a flare of inspiration if you may, in the criminal justice system of the country.  After all, once corrections was the only antiquated part of the system for years on end.

For the worker in the prison service, there is more reason to welcome the coming year.

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A WOMAN NAMED GIRLIE

psyche

Her story is almost lifted from Greek literature.

Let me begin describing Girlie from the standpoint of mythology.

A certain King and Queen had three daughters.  The charms of the two elders were more than common, but the beauty of the youngest was so wonderful that the poverty of language is unable to express its due praise.  The fame of her beauty was so great that strangers from neighboring countries came in droves to enjoy the sight, and looked on her with amazement, paying her that homage which is due only to Venus herself.  In fact Venus found her altars deserted, while men turned their devotion to this young virgin.  As she passed along, the people sang her praises, and strewed her way with chaplets and flowers.

This perversion of homage due only to the immortal powers to the exaltation of a mortal gave great offense to the real Venus.  Shaking her ambrosial locks with indignation she exclaimed, “Am I then to be eclipsed in my honor by a mortal girl?”

Thereupon she calls her winged son Cupid, mischievous enough in his own nature and rouses and provokes him yet more by her complaints.  She points out Psyche to him and says, “My dear son, punish that contumacious beauty; infuse into the bosom of that haughty girl a passion for some low, mean, unworthy being, so that she may reap a mortification as great as her present exultation and triumph!”  (For a pleasurable appreciation of the fable, read Bulfinch Mythology, pages 71-79 on Cupid and Psyche).

That serves as introduction.  Indeed, Psyche’s life, the mythological figure, is resurrected in Girlie’s novel-like biography.  Like the fable, Girlie is the youngest of three daughters and considered also the fairest among them.  She was smart and sociable.  She was not only a pretty face but her poise was elegant, her manners majestic.  She was the toast in every gathering.

Her parents, on the other hand, were so generous and kind that most of their peers and friends would attribute on them the characteristics of royalty.  They were for them a royal couple, a King and Queen in terms of compassion and benevolence.  Their attributes would pass on to her eventually.

Her beauty was almost absolute and it attracted several men absolutely.  Like that in the fable, she became vulnerable and gullible and had fascinated even the low, mean and unworthy men circling around her.  Like her parents, she too had a soft spot for the downtrodden and helpless.  And so, for those who wanted to earn her attention, some must have to act with posturing.  Only those who excel in fraud would be able to act convincingly.  And so Girlie became related to a trickster but was disgusted later, having found the true nature of the man, she became estranged.  She was introduced to another and she was dismayed later.  Another relationship was founded, only to realize that she was again duped.  All along in her entire marital state, she tried to be a perfect partner but she was repaid with ungratefulness and deception.  Her life story could only come from a tragic chapter of a sad and a perfidious episode on love;   unrequited and unreciprocated.

Her anguish exacted a toll on her health.  Like Psyche, she wandered about in search of true and pure happiness, in search of salvation and at times contemplating on ending her travails by plunging headlong into the abyss due to a series of sufferings and misfortunes.

But she is still young, not as young though as she was before, but she has children from failed relationship whom she must devote her entire life.  Here lies her deliverance.  Here lies the conclusion of her passion.  Here lies the almost copious duplicate of her life imitating art, as in a fable unaware of imitating fact, or as if through coincidence, fiction to non-fiction.

True enough Girlie is Psyche, or years before, during the ancient mythological times, Psyche has found Girlie a futuristic existence.

In the Greek fable, although as yet in real life for Girlie, Psyche succeeded in living happily ever after.

A RETIREE LIKE NO OTHER

mike

Mike Noble was my agro personnel several years back and after reaching the compulsory age of retirement at 65 sometime 7 years ago, he was almost a recluse.  But not for long.  After a few months, he was back and as if he merely made an excuse, he was in the same league as those youthful and carefree workers of Davao Penal Colony.  He would once again be riding his bike, spending night life in some unlighted nooks and drink to his heart’s desire.  He had his share of age related ailments but after a few medication, he would return to his normal take in the world of blithe and cheerfulness.

I don’t know what drives the man.  He was already in his mid 70s but he flexes as if he is still in his 40s.

The man walks without a gait, talks with a ready smile, engages a friend with confidence and exudes an air of machismo.  His mind has retained the sharpness of someone from the academe and his knees are still steely and could withstand the pressure of motor biking.  There are just some persons whose adrenalin never expires and Mike is one of them.

He never tires at all.  He seems to be in perpetual motion.  That probably explains his active lifestyle.  Surprisingly, he has no sports.  In the morning, he would merely loaf around, friends in tow and in a shaded area near the barangay hall; they would hold a day-long bantering.  Retirees are keen on what is happening around them and years of immersion in the real world makes their pronouncements colored with wisdom and wit.  Their laughters have basis and weight.  Their assessments almost always border on being authoritative.

Mike literally subsists on his measly pension which according to him keeps his skin and bones together.  Nothing is to be allocated to diversion and whatever savings accrued instantly loop around expenses for medication.  If at all he wants to unwind, to taste the blood of an Englishman so to speak, he would just drop by a corner store, pluck some change and procure a half-a-glassful  of shioktong, for it tastes and looks like wine nonetheless without the eyeglasses on.  There are occasions when beer makes his day but he would rather fold it for his bike’s fuel.

In his twilight years but still moving around, even campaigning for his favorite personalities in an election which would take more years to come.  He is that self-assured, poised even and positive that he would still be the same come that date.  For people like him who is used to living up to the full age of 90—the average age of those whom he would refer to as his seniors— times are still worth spending.

Mike never saved time.  He spent it outrageously.  That probably is the reason why he still that active, even youthful and yes, a vigorous man of the world even when his counterparts in urban areas have surrendered already and have declared the period as a sign to fade away.

“END OF THE WORLD”

end of the world

  1.  While it is true that the prediction of some Doomsday scenario followers did not come true, there is a lesson somewhere which is very basic.
  2. The cult-like prediction merely reminded everyman, the humanity as a whole, that indeed there is an end to everything.  It may come either on a predicted date or through a Mayan inspired superstition, whatever, but the proposition remains the same.  Life ends for everyone, no exemption.
  3. Life ends, time stops, the world is at a standstill.  History is concluded, current events terminated.  That is exactly what it foretells after death, after demise, after fall.  Mortality is written everywhere whether it is etched in stone (like in the ancient Mesoarmerican long-count calendar of the Mayan-Mexican tribe) or that which has been prophesied in the Bible (Daniel: 8:14 “ “Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,”).
  4. For the youth, it signals a beginning, a rebirth, a continuation of life.  For those in their twilight years, it is the coming of a finale, a closure, a definition of a hallmark, of going back to where all souls are,  a grand conference with the Creator.
  5. It has been said that the end of the world has been determined as early as 5,000 years ago by a tribe in Mexico, a community which has achieved quite an advanced procedure in estimating, using astrology, the fulfillment of an event.  Such event foretells cataclysm of a grand proportion.
  6. If at all this signifies an important phase in the life of man, it could also mean that after 5,000 years man would have been very different from how he was before.  And indeed, he was already a changed being.  He has a capacity to cure himself through sciences.  He has a capacity to communicate in seconds in every part of the earth.  He can even travel to other planets.
  7. Short of man translating into reality what could have been considered as mysterious before and probably is charting the means to transform what at present can only be understood as miracle, mankind is still processing and concluding certain stages he refers to as “end of the world.” scenarios.  It could very spell as an end, and end of the world full of ignorance on the sciences, an end of the world full of hatred, an end of the world full of sorrows, an end of the world replete with animosities.  And a new world where mortality is addressed, war declared as obsolete and love reigns.
  8. That is what “end of the world” possibly means.

PASKO SA AMING BAYAN

xmas in prison

Iba’t ibang bansa lalo na sa nasaskupan ng Kristianismo ay may taglay na tradition pag sapit ng kapaskuhan.  Ganun din sa mga pamayanan at sa mga kabahayan.  Miski sa barkadahan ay mayroon ding kaka-ibang sinusunod na panuntunan.  Sa loob ng bilangguan, sa mga ospital at sa malalayong kanayunan, ang pasko ay may sari-saring kahulugan.

Sa mga pilosopo, tatlo daw ang pasko.  Pasko ng kapanganakan, pasko ng pagkabuhay at pasko ng intsik.  Depende daw sa kung kailan may konting naitabi duon sila magse-celebrate.

Pero halos isa lang ang mukha ng pagdiriwang.  Andiyan na paglustay sa naipon o sa bonus na natanggap.  Kaya naman pagsapit ng kapaskuhan halos lahat ng tindahan nagse-sale, ang mga tao magalaw at samo’t saring bagay ang nagkalat at naglipana sa kalye.  Kasabay niyan ang pag-ikot ng katakot-takot na character—pulubi, mandurukot, mandurugas, taong grasa, palaboy, pick-up boys, pick up girls at kaugnay niyan ang salo-salong pamamaraan kung paano kumita ng biglaan.

Sa isang banda naman, andiyan ang mga grupo na nagkakasayahan.  Nag-iinuman.  Nagpapapak ng mga exotic na kutkutin—baboy damo, usa, igat, talaba, bayawak,sawa, sa ilang banda naman, may deep fry na grasshopper (parang Thailand).

Kaya naman hindi pa natatapos ang selebrasyon ng kapaskuhan, halos puno na ang emergency ward ng ospital.  Katakot takot na kapansanan din ang andun—nalason sa pagkain, na-stroke, na-high blood, inatake, pero kalimitan nasaksak, nabaril o naitak.

Sa may mga maykaya naman, andiyan ka minsan sa tumaob (o mabangga dahil sa kalasingan ng manibela) ang kanilang sasakyan na humaharurot sa kalye, yun eh kung hindi sila nagpasyal sa abroad o di kaya nagbakasyon sa isang beach resort sa  namumukod tanging kilalang isla o tabing dagat.   Hindi sa may halong kayabangan kundi sa sobrang ligaya at kasiyahan kung minsan nalilimutan na ang pag-iingat.  Hindi lamang sa sektor na ito kung hindi sa kabuuan, sa halos pangkalahatan.

Ang pasko ay minsan lang sa isang taon mangyari.  Kaya ito ay pinag hahandaan, pinagkaka-abalahan, pinag-iipunan, ina-antay.  Sa mga kabataan, ito ay isang makasaysayang panahon.  Sa mga nakatatanda naman ay isang senyales na ilang panahon na lang natitira sa kanila.

Personally, marami na rin akong pasko na malayo sa aking pamilya—bilang lang ang mga pagkakataon na kung saan nasa tabi ako ng aking magulang at pamilya.  Pero sa mga pagkakataong iyon naman nasa piling ako ng aking nasasakupang pamayanan ng bilangguan.  Sila na itinaboy ng lipunan, sila na ipiniit ng katarungan upang magdusa sa labas ng malayang pamayanan.  Sila ang aking kasama sa isang pagkakataon, sa isang panahon na nag uugnay at nagpapa-alala ng pagkakaisa sa loob ng isang kapalaran na nagbubukas ng pag-asa sa kaisipang pagbabago.

Kasama nila akong uma-asa at nagdarasal at nagsisisi sa nagawang hindi makatarungan.  Yan ang katumbas ng kapaskuhan ng ginagalawan naming lipunan sa bilangguan.

 

“WIN SOME, LOSE SOME”

winsome

Ikaw ba ang taong madaling mabuwiset sa kapaligiran?  Madaling mapundi sa mga nakaka-inis na nangyayari? Well, here is one expression that you can use, “win some, lose some.”  Minsan panalo, minsan talo.  Kapag ang pakiramdam mo ay dapat ng kalusin and isang bagay o pagkakataon at ikaw ay about to explode, then think about the expression, win some, lose some.  You may be a bit agitated for something incongruous, yung bang wala sa hulog, iba ang inaasahan mo, iba naman ang nangyari, contributing to your frustration, then think:  win some, lose some.  Subukan mo lang at magbabago pakiramdam mo.

Hindi naman kasi sa lahat ng pagkakataon ang iyong inaasahan ay nangyayari.  Kalimitan nga ay kabaliktaran pa nga ang nagaganap.  Ang inaasahan pa nga natin minsan ay simpleng bagay pero kalimitan ang nangyayari ay kumplikadong sitwasyon.    It’s a regular feat, an ordinary matter, something that could be determined and understood, yung nga lang ang paniwala natin ang nakahadlang.  Dun tayo napupundi at nawawala minsan ang pasensiya.  Kaya kung may ganyang kalagayan, hindi nakakapagtaka kung merong mag-wild o maghuramentado.  Mahirap talaga naman abutin ang isang bagay lalo na kung ito ay minamadaling gawin.  That alone can cause depression.  For lack of patience, at times one becomes dissatisfied and disturbed.  Diyan na papasok ang gulo sa isipan at gulo din sa samahan.

Lalo na sa loob ng bahay at gayundin sa samahan ng magkakaibigan.  Nakikita ng isat-isa ang kahinaan ng bawat isa.  Dun na papasok ang hindi pagkaka unawaan.  Nawawala na ang neutrality o objectivity.  Lagi na lang may mapupuna.  Lagi na lang may masisisi.  Lagi na lang may pag aawayan.  Nakalimutan na ang bahagi na kung saan may pinag-samahan.  Nakalimutan na rin ang nagdaang magandang pagtutulungan.  Sa pagkakataong iyon, dapat isipin ang win some, lose some.  Maging maunawain, maging malawak ang pagtingin, talagang ganun, minsan panalo, minsan naman talo.  Hindi dapat asahan na sa lahat ng pagkakataon laging panalo.  Ang buhay ay ganun, walang pirmis na bagay.  Changes happen.  Sabi nga, life is constantly changing.  To a certain degree or extent nga life is even evolving.

Kaya dapat huwag alisin sa ating isipan na ang umiikot sa ating kamalayan ay bahaging kontrolado natin at bahaging hindi natin natutuos.  Sa mga pagkakataong kontrolado natin, tiyak ang panalo natin.  Pero sa bandang hindi natin masakop, malamang ang pagkatalo o kaya hindi natin maabot kundi sa larangan lang ng pag-unawa.

Meron ngang kasabihan na tatlong bagay ang ating magagawa sa paglutas ng problema.  Una ay ang tapusin ito kagad.  For example, uhaw ka.  Eh di uminom ka kagad, pawi na uhaw, tapos na ang problema.  Ikalawa, ang tiyagain ang pagtapos ng problema.  Halimbawa, gusto mo maging doctor, eh di seryosohin mo ang iyong pag-aaral nang sa ganoon isang araw ikaw ay maging ganap na doctor.  Matagal na proseso, magastos pero nasa pagtitiyaga ang solusyon ng problema.  Ikatlo naman ay ang pagharap sa isang problemang walang solusyon kundi sa larangan ng pag tanggap.  Sabi nga, you have to live with your problem.  Halimbawa, gusto mong malaro sa NBA, eh sadyang maliit ka, maliit pa katawan mo.  Miski mataas kang tumalon, magaling kang mag-dribble, impossible kang maging basketball player sa NBA.  Mabuti pa mag-chess ka na lang and live with the problem until you realize that you have other matters to preoccupy yourself.

Napakaraming pagkakataon o sitwasyon sa atin na nagbibigay ng kalungkutan.  Isipin mo rin na napakadaming pagkakataon o sitwasyon sa atin na nabibigay ng kaligayahan.  Minsan ang katulong aanga-anga at paulit-ulit mong ituturo ang dapat gawin.  Hanggang sa mabuwiset ka.  Talagang ganun.  Isipin mo kung matalino yan, baka isang araw siya na ang amo mo.  Ganun din ang kaibigan.  Minsan mahina pick-up.  Isipin mo kung matalas isipan niyan baka gawin ka namang uto-uto balang araw.  Meron naman ikaw na kasama na halos matuklap na ang tenga mo sa lakas ng boses pero sa isang banda, wala namang makaporma sa iyo sa takot na mabulyawan ng kasama mo.  Ganun talaga.

Kaya nga win some, lose some.

CORRECTIONS ACT OF 2012: In Summary

bucor

  1.  Finally a law that would push the Bureau of Corrections from its base reference of Prison Law of 1917 to the present times (with SB 3335 re An Act Strengthening the Bureau of Corrections and providing Funds Therefor otherwise known as Corrections Act of 2012) through a bill which has been approved for passage and eventually for review and signature of the President.
  2. The proposed law had three versions at the level of Congressional Committee.  As soon as it was forwarded to the Senate, it has been reformulated under the Committee on Justice and the Senate Committee Report no. 487 (under the sponsorship of Senator Chiz Escudero and Senator Franklin Drilon) and it eventually became SB 3335.
  3. The Bill was discussed and deliberated in August 9, 2011 and eventually was approved on third reading last December 17, 2012.  Once signed by the President, it becomes a law in 15 days as stipulated.
  4. The Bill, which is expected to be signed into a law early next year, has the following features:
    1. The State recognizes the need to professionalize and restructure Bucor through upgrading its entire management system.
    2. The law effectively made the Bureau of Corrections a uniformed bureau.
    3. As a uniformed bureau, the compulsory retirement age is 56 years old.
    4. The head of the bureau is referred to as Director General with three deputy directors—all of them to be appointed by the President as recommended by the Secretary of Justice.  They have a term of office not to exceed 6 years.
    5. The Bureau shall operate with a directorial structure.  (Hence Reception and Diagnostic Center will be renamed as Directorate for Reception and Diagnostics, etc.)
    6. All Bucor lands accordingly shall proceed to work on the administrative process and have a certificate of title registered under its name.
    7. The law likewise contemplates the formation of a Philippine Corrections Academy patterned after PNPA and PMA.
    8. Position title of personnel is changed.  From Prison Guard I, it will henceforth be Corrections Officer I.  The highest position in the career ladder which is Penal Superintendent IV will be called Corrections Chief Superintendent.
    9. All positions in the Bureau of Corrections shall be governed by CSC rule on Qualification Standards.  Those without eligibility therefore will be given 5 years within which to qualify or would be subject to attrition, that is, separated or retired from the service.
    10. The law effectively increases one grade higher than the previous base line grade for officers at the top and those at the rear have an increase of five salary grade (from prison guard 1, salary grade 5 to Corrections Officer 1 at salary grade 10.)

Note:  Congress approved on third reading almost the same version as what the Senate earlier approved.  On the last week of January, 2013, Congress sent to Senate the bill for the Bicameral review.  It has been resolved that the Bill will be submitted to the President, who certified the same on its urgency.  The BuCor Act of 2013 is hopefully a law about to be born this year.  But there is a catch.  The appropriation for said law will take effect five years from the date the law has been passed.

MAN AND WOMAN

man and woman

I don’t understand women.  Not even at an age when sagacity would dictate wisdom and a broader comprehension.  Well, probably because I am not one.  I have lived in a world of manliness and men have their own idiosyncrasies quite different, if not wide apart, from that of women.  Problem arises when man and woman convene and analyze.  This is where their respective moods, disposition and biases would come into play.  This is where they will be separated if not arguably would be poles apart.

The nearest which I can approximate a woman is through the conduct of my mother.  She is the only person whom I looked up to, the manner, the means, the style and even in the mode I must enforce my principles.  A woman’s way is the most effective but only if I am a woman.  That is where the problem arises.  The quickest is to be a woman if one is a man.  The hardest however is to replicate awe and subordination in a manly way.

A woman’s strength lays on man’s perception of her weakness.   She cries and that to a man is a sign of frailty.  But she gets the job done.  If a man cries, he is fired from his job!  A woman spends a lot of time deliberating as if she wanted to test which powder shade looks good for her.  A man on the other hand decides on the spot as if the world is about to end in seconds.  Hence, man is greater than his female counterpart in war but a terrible worker during peace time.

Women delight in thoughtfulness.  They love everything that has emotional undertones—love letters, light fragrance, even token gadgets.  Men on the other side regale in something grand, monumental and at times on something monstrous.  Men easily forget details unless it has basis in trauma.  They never relish what is considered as trivial and a product of happenstance.  For the women, it is the other way around.

I have a lot of friends, men and women.  And they represent a different approach to me.  Men easily are amused.  Women easily get hurt.  Although both are quickly offended, the men merely would pose a challenge and thereafter, their pent up feelings are gone.  For the women, it is complicated.

Greek literature, the myth, specially is replete with a lot of instances on this great divide.  The good book, The Bible, offers numerous and very vivid descriptions  also in this regard.  Well, even medical science is more direct as far as difference is concerned.

We need not go far, those next to us, be they men or women, can already yield the necessary disparity notwithstanding the fad on unisex and gender liberalism is implored.

My point is this.  A woman will always be a woman.  A man is always a man.  No matter how physics and related discipline would define them as a single specie.  They may be related by way of evolutionary cooperation even by way of philosophical harmony but just the same they are to be seen as distinct and separate.

Be that as it may, despite a deluge of explanation, a woman for me is a mystery.  She is the only myth in my consciousness that deserves inscrutability.  She remains an enigma which could never be comprehended.

As for my being a man, I subscribe that he should forever be in the shadow of his woman.  There is no other way; for it is only in darkness when shadows are gone and eventually he loses his way.

 

MAHINA NA SI KA PEDRING

old man

Nag retire sa pribadong serbisyo si Ka Pedring bilang isang supervisor sa isa sa pinaka-malaking pataniman ng saging sa Davao del Norte.  Lumampas na ang panahon na kung saan siya ay nabibilang sa mga sikat at mahigpit na taga-matyag ng mga laborers—- na kanyang kasamahan—- sa farm.  Palibhasa nga at siya’y strikto, hindi siya naging popular sa nakararaming trabahador.  Pero ganun ang kanyang trabaho at kung eestapahin niya ang trabaho, hindi naman siya tatagal at tyak siya ay matatanggal.  Kaya ayun, si Ka Pedring, mistulang litrato ng isang mapanuri at mapagmasid na farm supervisor.

Ilan taon din siyang nanilbihan sa pribadong kumpanya at yun naman ay nabiyayan siya ng isang paghanga.  Nang siya ay magretire, kumpleto ang kanyang benepisyo at pribilehiyo.  Yun nga lang, hanggang sa kasalukuyan, ilap ang kanyang mga dating kasamahan at wala siyang gaanong naging malapit na kaibigan.

Si Ka Pedring ay may gulang na 62 ngunit sa kangyang pag-iisa at bihira na ngang lumabas sa kanilang kabahayan, siya ay mapagkakamalang 92 na!  Matuwid pa rin ang kanyang tindig ngunit pahukot na siya kung lumakad.  Mukhang malusog at walang high blood pa si Ka Pedring, pero malagum ang kanyang paghinga, animoy may hika.  Palibhasa wala na siyang pinagkaka-abalahan, buong araw siyang nakasalampak sa isang sulok na lang at ang kanyang bihis ay bihirang mapalitan.  Araw-araw ang kanyang galaw ay madaling hulaan.  Naka-shorts at sando lang siya.  Matapos buksan ang unahang pintuan nila, magtitimpla na siya ng kape at duon sa likuran ng bahay, na may nakalundong lubid na duyan, ay kanya  itong sasampahan na.  Duon ipagpapatuloy muli ang kanyang pag mumuni-muni hanggang sa mawalan ng malay sa himbing ng tulog.

Ang asawa ni Ka Pedring ay retired na teacher kaya wala na rin ginagalawan bukod sa minsanang pagtanggap ng bisita na kapwa retired na rin sa pagtuturo.  Tatlo ang kanilang anak na pawang may mga pamilya na rin.  Bumukod na ang dalawa at ang pananay na lang ang kasama nila sa bahay.  Ito ay nagta-trabaho kaya sa gabi na lang sila nagkikita buong pamilya.  Sa loob ng isang araw, mayroon silang tigi-tig-iang mundong pinamumugaran.

Tuwing hapon andun si Ka Pedring.  Naalala ko tuloy ang aking Tatay.  Pero nagka-ganun din si Tatay nung siya ay umabot sa 85 years old.  Nung kasing edad niya si Ka Pedring, matikas na professor si Tatay at bukod sa namamasahe papunta iskwelahan, ina-akyat niya classroom niya sa ika-11 palapag ng building!  Ganun siya kalakas at kasigasig.  Pero si Ka Pedring, sa tingin ko, maka-11 hakbang lang, gusto na uling humilatsa at umidlip!

Malakas makapanghina ang retirement lalo na kung wala itong kasamahang ganun din ang sitwasyon na nakaka halubilo ng regular.  Pawang mga lumang tugtugin na lang ang nagbibigay sigla sa kanya.  Palibhasa naka ugalian na ang maging strikto, pati ang kanyang asawa ay andap na rin siyang kibuin.  Hinahayaan na lang siyang umugoy-ugoy sa isang sulok, miski na papakin pa siya ng lamok na mistulang may buto na sa laki.

Si Ka Pedring, aking kapitbahay, minsang kong nakapalagayan, at palibhasa minsa’y humingi ng tulong, ay mailap na kumilos.  Siguro akala niya maniningil ako kaya pinili na lang niyang umiwas at magpanggap na may karamdaman.

Sa ganyang paraan, tyak baka siya mahipan ng hangin at matuluyan na ang kanyang panghihina.

JUAN PONCE ENRILE: A Memoir

A BOOK REVIEW

enrile book

I read the whole 753-page book in 30 days.  That long because I wanted to read it only during a period when I was not in a hurry to complete a task for a day.  And it was a real treat (although it cost me P1,500—but its worth and more).  Procuring the book is almost a story.  I even went to check all book stores (in Davao and Manila) for a copy and for some time, it was very frustrating not to find a copy.  On the second month of its first publication I became lucky to get the last copy, the only one left on the display shelf.

After running away with a newly printed tome, I read through seriously like a copy writer and a fledging student of history.  It was so solemnly serious that I even noticed lapses (there are two in the midpart of the book) on grammatical construction notwithstanding the technical assistance of a professional biographer in the person of Nelson A. Navarro.  But lapses do not make or unmake the true essence of a literary gem, although it saddles a fellow writer once in a while.  Senator Enrile’s life indeed captured the substance of a period which had been covered by several layers of intriguing situations.  And it supplied all the necessary impressions which in effect are reflective of a historical span which my parents undergone and which at a certain stage I have played some minor parts too.  It was like living what my parents have gone through and in a continuous fashion, reminiscing those times when I would follow through the same historical path without gaps.

Senator Enrile’s youth as pictured in the biographical work, was a very difficult act to follow.  It was very, very tough.  I would not even venture to presume that my ancestors would survive such a situation given the same challenges.  I must admit that I have to submit a respectful genuflection on the man, calling him with the title Senator even if in writing it would be enough to call him just Enrile for purposes of literary discussion.  But no.  He must be that respectful to the point of adoration.  Let us give what is due for the man.  He lived through, endured and even outlasted almost all those whom he patronized and even those considered as opponents.

After reading the first few chapters in the volume and hearing erstwhile rebel Joma Sison expressed disgust about the biography, I felt that the rebel Sison was merely being iconoclast to the core.  He never appreciated anything including what is current in history.  He would even find himself still living in a period when he regards dissension as being progressive.  He dissents and tries to live in a world outside of reality.  And he governs homegrown rebels according to same myopic view of political changes.  But that is democracy, one can raise hell and as long as it never transgresses a right, it is even encouraged.

The succeeding chapters were also engaging.  It is a personal confession.  The man reveals his inner thoughts and discipline.  It was a very instructive and inspiring monologue.  I would even mistake the lesson-filled talk as Shakespearean.

The characters in his book were not surreal creatures not even caricatures of their better selves but real protagonists in the unfolding drama of politics during the era.  He was fair in his description, although a bit sounding melancholic when it pertains to his inner concerns.  All throughout he never gave himself to partiality and preconception, ever the top notch lawyer that he is.  His legal mind, cautious and guarded, was his arsenal in dealing with every dispute he would encounter.

He knew his facts well.  And in every stage of his development he reflected and punctuated a season specific for his no non sense character.  He wanted to impress and this made him a favorite and easily a friend to all by being real, by being candid, by being truthful, honest, straightforward.  For him it is like what it really is the law.  He is a lawyer and as such he clings to all its principles and precepts.  He does not only try to live with it, he lives by it.

You may dislike the man, as he admits his engineering feat for constructing brick by brick martial law, but no one can swear that he used it for his own vanity.  He never abused.  Otherwise, then President Marcos during the period when Senator Enrile rebelled and ignited the 1986 Edsa revolt would have a lot of issues thrown at him to discredit him from the adoring mass of people standing on vigil at Camps Aguinaldo.  But Senator Enrile was a serious man, frank and faithful to his cause.  He knew that he was up against a cabal of untrustworthy allies, that he would eventually be whisked, that the good oftentimes get the short end, that evil triumphs because decent people wait for the slow wheel of justice to the detriment of time, that he must, as a matter of faith, more so as an antidote to fate, to raise the bar using violence to achieve the purpose of peace.

He outlived most of his contemporaries and unlike those who lived to repent and resent the additional years as burdensome, he continued to prove himself worthy of a man who tried to exact the truth in every minute of his lifespan.  His book even dared those who peddled lies and challenged them to live according to the true measure of one’s conscience.

The biography of Senator Enrile, as a reader’s treat, is a disclosure of a crusade along political, social and personal veracity.  His sincere dedication to uprightness made him a hero twice over and he continues, in my estimation, to lead the life of a true warrior.

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