TALES OF RETIREES IN THE PRISON SERVICE
Mgsr Ernesto Espiridion wanted to work in the prison service until the heavens fall. He never made it though. He was only 58 years old then. He retired early because his retirement benefits would have to be used to defray the cost of her sister’s treatment for cancer. The sister died eventually and Msgr Espiridion was left with an empty pocket. A wish fulfillment indeed because priests are known to have embraced a lifetime vow of poverty. He is now a living proof of the principle.
Dra Avelina Alcantara was the epitome of a great public servant. Reaching the age of 65, her superior would not allow her to leave the prison service yet. She was cajoled to submit herself for an extension after retirement. She served another year and another year until her superior was replaced. She moved out from the service almost at the age of 70, the mandatory retirement age of those in the judiciary, academe and the Church. At 99, she is still active in her medical profession in USA where she took residency after an extended stint in her country.
Eduardo Barbosa was one of the efficient prison superintendents who never became one. He reached the mandatory age for compulsory retirement without even being considered for promotion. He was there at a time when prison leadership opted to introduce lateral entries into the field of prison superintendent position to the detriment of qualified officers who are next in rank. He moved out discontented from a career he carefully fashioned out through competency and integrity.
Armando Miranda was the typical prison officer who rose from the ranks. At a time he was about to retire, like other Superintendents before and immediately after him, he was saddled into contentious cases which bordered on controversy. He retired reaching the age of 65 but was never cleared because of pending cases. It took a full year to finally clear his involvement and retire safely but with a sad note. He retired with a case besmirching his reputation as a prison officer who was dismissed from the service.
Renato Justo was a classic case of consistency. He entered the prison service as prison guard 1 and retired bearing the same position in a consistent manner. He was a regular prison officer who would rather proceed from one assignment to another, at times acting as man Friday and in another time as errand in a prison activity. No matter how assiduous he would perform a given task, his supervisors never got conscious to reward him with a recommendation. He was merely there to perform and nothing else. He retired however with a bang. Before receiving his retirement benefits, he must have to clear himself in a pending case along with prison superintendents who caused the administrative violations in the first place.
Ramon Reyes retired as a policeman, opted to work once again and fortunately was appointed prison superintendent. He would have to retire the second time had it not for a case involving a high profile prisoner.
Zosimo Berroya bowed out at 65, achieving the full period onwards compulsory retirement. After a brief paper chase, he was promised that his full retirement benefits would be given. To date, Sosing moves around, still hale and healthy, looking for possibilities on how to stretch the meager funds he has received, planning on activities to further stretch it so sustain the years he would have to undergo as a matter of struggling. He still has a special child to take care of, one who is a perpetual toddler, one whom he must have to succor for the rest of his active life.
And there are other officers who led colorful career lives in the service and at present enjoying the full fruition of serenity in their twilight years here and above. I could only mention a few like spouses Jesus and Dra Zoraida Villanueva, former Assistant Director and Chief of NBP Hospital; Dra. Aida Ocampo, former Bucor medical coordinator; Bong de Leon, formerly OIC of CIW; Homobono and Hermita Lachica, former chief of RDC and chief, Management Division respectively; Superintendents Geronimo, Nunez and Totaan, Martin all demised already; Zenaida Celestino, former Chief of Personnel Section; Atty Amparo Joaquin, former Chief of Legal Section; Engr Andres Morales and Engr. Bong Raymundo former chief of General Services Division; Juanito Leopando and Angelito Pragides, former prison superintendents; Teresita Morales, former Chief of Records Section; and more.