Monthly Archives: September 2014

RELEASE FROM IMPRISONMENT: HOW IT IS OBTAINED

release

Note:  A day in prison is a shattering experience.  It is not only a commencement of a humiliating immersion where one’s integrity lay in tatters starting from the day of arrest but admission in the penitentiary is the penultimate test humanity must endure.  It is the beginning of self destruction and initiation to lamentation.  It is the culmination of real pain, resolve and penance.  And the only sacred thought that maintains sanity and restores faith is the day when an inmate is shown the way to freedom.

There is nothing mysterious and there is even nothing that betrays irregularity when it comes to releasing a prisoner.  There are several angles one must observe.  The following are considerations based on law.

  1. Completion of sentence.
  2. Executive Clemency
  3. Court Order
  4. Prescription of penalty

Completion of Sentence.  By completion of sentence is meant, reaching that period when penalty is served.  Hence, when a person is sentenced to 5 years and has served the time, then prison administration must, by operation of law, prepare the discharge paper and provide the prisoner the gratuities necessary, like fare, for his eventual reintegration into the mainstream of the free society.

Normally, a judicial conviction seldom issues a definite sentence.  The penalty matrix in the Revised Penal Code requires the court to hand down a penalty that carries a minimum and a maximum period.  Example, penalty for Homicide is placed at 6 years minimum up to 12 years maximum.  This should be understood that upon completion of six years, the person is eligible for parole consideration.  Those released on parole are required to report to their respective parole officers in their area until such time that they fulfil the requirements of parole supervision up to the period of their maximum sentence or upon satisfaction of supervision may be released earlier, depending on the recommendation of the parole officer.

Those sentenced to Life Imprisonment or Reclusion Perpetua need not curse the heavens or feel disheartened.  They would be able to see the light freedom, longer however relatively speaking, but would eventually be freed.  There are stipulated period to file a Petition for Executive Clemency.  This will be discussed later.  With the application of a recent law on the new Good Conduct Time Allowance (RA  10592), the period is reduced considerably for those seeking pardon through executive clemency.  Under this recent correctional legislation, entitlement is not disturbed even for prisoners under appeal.

Executive Clemency.  A petition for executive clemency can be filed by a prisoner even at the start of his penalty.  No lawyer is required to fulfil this but it is one inherent right of a prisoner to pursue personally.  The Petition may be prepared through a simple letter addressed either to the President or to the Secretary of Justice or to the Chairman of the Board of Pardons and Parole.  Once received, the letter is reviewed and assessed accordingly. There are several effects once Executive Clemency is granted.  Anyone of the following may be granted:

  1. Absolute Pardon. Under this consideration, an offender may immediately be released from confinement upon issuance of this Presidential act regardless of how short or long his penalty is.  The case of former President Joseph Estrada may be referred to.  Accordingly, right after Estrada’s conviction was handed down by Sandiganbayan for the offense of Plunder (after 6 years of judicial determination), then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo granted absolute pardon with stipulated conditions to Estrada.  On the day the grant was issued, without even being admitted to the National penitentiary for record purposes, Estrada gained his freedom.
  2. Conditional Pardon. Conditional Pardon is usually granted as a diplomatic act for foreigners serving time for violating a crime in the country.  The specific condition given is as soon as the release papers issued, the grantee must leave the country on the first plane out.  There are also grants of conditional pardon issued by the Chief Executive, on its own or through the recommendation of the Department of Justice/ Board of Pardons and Parole.  Pardon is granted provided that the grantee must sign his willingness to be guided to observe several conditions.  One such condition includes that the grantee should not go to places of ill repute.  Pardon is an act of grace which exempts individual on whom it is bestowed from punishment which the law inflicts for a crime he has committed.
  3. Amnesty. It is an act of grace concurred in by the Legislature, usually extended to classes of persons who committed political offences which puts into oblivion the offense itself before trial. Senator Gregorio Honasan during then President Fidel Ramos obtained amnesty after Honasan was charged for mutiny.  The same is true with then Lieutenant and now Senator Antonio Trillanes.
  4. Parole and Probation. Parole is the conditional release of a person convicted of a crime prior to the expiration of that person’s term of imprisonment subject to both the supervision of Probation and Parole Administration during the remainder of the term and a resumption of the imprisonment upon violation of the conditions imposed.

In probation, a convict is released from confinement but is still under court supervision; a testing or a trial period.  Probation can be given in lieu  of a prison term or can suspend a prison sentence if the convict has consistently demonstrated good behaviour.

Court Order.  The Court (whether the Supreme Court, Appellate Courts, Trial courts) may issue an order directing prisons to release a person in their custody provided that the person is no legal impediment like another conviction for which the person is also required to judicially serve time for.  The usual route to obtain release through court order is through proper and timely appeal on meritorious cases or through the application of the requesting party for the issuance of a write of habeas corpus (where prison administration is required to show proof/ cause that the person in their custody have legal basis to stay and is serving time pursuant to a judicial decree, or have basis from a competent authority to detain said person.)  Failing to satisfy the court’s requirements, the applicant is granted relief or in the case of a detained person, his liberty.

Prescription of Penalty.  This is obtained where an escapee has spent period of time at large, and has not been charged of any violation during said period and after a specific time would reappear  before his custodian to seek his formal release or has been recaptured after a specific time.  Inability however of prison administration to file a timely case of Evasion of Service of Sentence to an escaped inmate would render such prescriptive period moot and academic against the inmate himself.

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THE PENITENTIARY DURING MARTIAL LAW

martial law

The country had experienced the effects of martial law twice in its storied historical perspective.  Although during the Spanish times, the country was virtually under martial governance through the infamous guardia civil, it was the clergy however that ruled.  The first formal declaration of martial law was during the short lived Japanese regime.  The country was governed by a puppet regime, composed mostly of Filipino politicians as administrative front of the Japanese Imperial Army.  The second was during the reign of Ferdinand Marcos.

In all these instances of martial imposition and experience, the penitentiary literally served as reservoir of people with heroic background.  During the Spanish regime, the propagandists were systematically arrested and the most famous prisoner then was Jose Rizal.  Later, when the country was under the American regime, Rizal would be declared as national hero.  During the Japanese regime, nationalists were conscripted into government and under pain of extreme penalty were compelled to administer the bureaucracy.  For a while, the penitentiary was a restricted zone for those accused of rebellion but for those unfortunate few who never reached the calaboose were executed out rightly like what happened to Jose Abad Santos and other prominent leaders of equal standing.  Martial law during the Japanese regime was cut short of World War II however.  It only lasted 3 years corresponding to the period of Japanese occupation.  Thereupon, in 1945, after the formal declaration of Philippine Indenpendence, a continuity of constitutional republicanism came into light.

27 years later, in 1972, the country would revert back to Martial law, that time, not instigated by a foreign power but pursued locally.  Then President Ferdinand Marcos believed that he could save the country from the clutches of violence and foreign based ideology by placing the entire archipelago under military rule with him at the helm.  Other countries in Asia would have a similar undertaking, applying strong man rule to extricate their respective countries from the clutches of poverty.  There was no need for economic reforms then for the country since at that time, the Philippines was already second to Japan in terms of prosperity.

There were oppositionists when Martial law was declared and they were swiftly thrown into the pit of the penitentiary.  These prisoners, also called and referred to by international observers as “prisoners of conscience” became a new class in the penitentiary and were known as political prisoners.  Yearly, the military governed bureaucracy would churn out several suspects and were immediately discarded by military courts.  Convicted accordingly, the penitentiary became a community where the principled and unprincipled would co-exist.  Among its famous denizens were Benigno Aquino, Jose Diokno, Alejandro Roces, Joma Sison, Nilo Tayag among others, they comprise a virtual list of who’s who in the firmament of nationalist reformation.  But military rule does not reckon anyone bearing resistance; hence any state apparatus designated penitentiary is the better place for them.

For a time, to be imprisoned was a badge of honor.  To be given a prison number likewise was to be conferred with a status of hero.  The penitentiary, for a specific period of history, became an enclave of statesmen and reformers.  It was also the dumping ground of rebels, activists and non conformists.  Martial law during the Marcos regime lasted for 9 years, from 1972 to 1981.

The penitentiary changes its complexion depending on government state of affairs.

FLOODS

flooded street

Floods evoke emotions and yes, a lot of implications too for those who were affected.  Let’s take note:

  1. Students:  no classes
  2. Laborer: no wage
  3. Farmers: Curse
  4. Religious: Sacred reminder
  5. Government Officials: Flood control project
  6. Government functionary: calamity loan
  7. Informal settler: evacuation center
  8. Doctors: Emergency room
  9. Lawyers: watching news
  10. Children: home alone
  11. Writer: material inspiration
  12. Entertainer: Social work
  13. Politician: Symphathy vote
  14. Businessman: Looting
  15. Driver: rage
  16. Tourist: crime
  17. Traveller: Annoyance
  18. Military: Disaster work
  19. Police: Precinct paper work
  20. Athlete: rest day
  21. Journalist: negative incident

Whenever there is flood, I am reminded of how people, whatever stations they have in life, respond.  I oftentimes would look from the vantage point of faith in one’s capacity to deal with challenges.  At times, it is a matter whether one is an amateur or a professional.  Or probably there is a measure of luck somewhere.  You may wonder how a farmer like Noah could build a boat that withstood and went afloat for 40 days until the deluge subsided and Noah with family survived.  Contrast with that of Titanic, built with premium materials by the best marine engineers, as it floated and eventually sank after five days of its maiden voyage.

BROTHER TAX: PRISON VOLUNTEER

DSC_0041

For the life of me, I do not know Tax personally.   He is John Nelson Tan and goes by his nickname “Tax” to those within his prison charity circle.    I have known Tax merely as the perennial alter ego; buddy and companion of erstwhile prison volunteer Rodolfo Diamante, Executive Director of the Episcopal Commission on Prisoner Welfare, a major division of the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines.  But the man must be that crazy to spend so much time in prison working along with zealous prison volunteers knowing his background is not in social work but in commerce.

I have friends in the business community who swear that Tax is one great marketing guy, a savvy entrepreneur who can close corporate deals with ease and simplicity.  And to think that one of his commercial ventures is selling Fergusson Tractors and John Deere Farm Tractors spare parts, a hard to negotiate mechanical items unless one is dealing with farmers from US and Europe.

Tax does not fit any of the stereotype prison volunteer I know of.  When he was introduced to me in my capacity as prison administrator, I thought that he was just bidding his time, prison visitation a mere break from the hassle of stressful marketing days.

Tax was a very lively person and facilitative as a friend in the network of prison volunteers.  He can make a person confident, calm and composed notwithstanding the anxiety incumbent in a prison facility.  His demeanour could only mean a spur and not intended for the long haul.  He never changed though and he was very consistent as a character.  He retained his smile all through out the years in the prison volunteer service along with his friends in CBCP.  He came in with a black crop of hair and now has only gray ones to show.  That long in his chosen exposure.

What made Tax, or Brother Tax to prisoners if you may, a priceless friend of the incarcerated humanity is not the goods or the goodies he would contribute to be brought in by fellow volunteers, like toothpaste and slippers, but the sincere smile on his face.  I am a poor speculator in making out the real or genuine character of a person based on his projection and Tax’s smiling may just be one of the guiles but there is something in Tax’s posture that elicits affection.  Remember, Tax is a salesman and all salesmen are trained in the art of deception.  He may have that salesman’s charm to start with.   Let us call a spade, a spade.

But wait.  Tax has chinky eyes and chubby built.  At a glance, he is a picture of a generous Chinese trader.  On the other hand, he stands as if a Japanese grocery owner.  Sometimes he talks fast like a Korean or laughs aloud like a Vietminh.  Let us however give credit to the man for his due.  He has stayed in the prison volunteer program longer than any crusading prison volunteer I know of, especially those whose profession and business concern is outside prison visitation.  He visits prisons as if he has no other concerns except to sympathize.  And he succeeds while others merely coast along.

Earlier, I thought that Tax was just an escort, a fly by night companion, a go-getter for some groups.  In the prison camp, I would catch a glimpse of him and perhaps check on his behaviour whether he was there to check on inmates he suspected of snatching his wrist watch somewhere near his residence; or probably, watching over the shoulders of inmates, monitoring their movements if they might have knowledge on the loss of his motorcycle to unknown syndicates.  He was actually in prison to participate in prayer workshops and testimonial sharing.  He looks smart than he really is.

I am about to bow out from the prison service, a bit belated than my elder colleagues who got off earlier, but I have never seen nor felt from Tax any act that would point at waning or shying away.

If there is a perfect figure that could be divined out from a man enjoying stressful prison work, I have no other person in mind than Tax. And he has seen and visited almost all jails and prisons in the countryside, an immersion which no prison administrator may have undergone. What a prison worker this smiling fellow has become.  To simply call him a martyr is an understatement.

“SEASONS IN THE SUN”

friendship all

This song became a hit single in 1974, several decades ago (four to be exact).  It is very melancholic and I could not but hum it whenever someone close departs from life.  Take note of the lyrics:

Goodbye to you, my trusted friend.
We’ve known each other since we were nine or ten.
Together we’ve climbed hills and trees.
Learned of love and ABC’s,
skinned our hearts and skinned our knees.

Goodbye my friend, it’s hard to die,
when all the birds are singing in the sky,
Now that the spring is in the air.
Pretty girls are everywhere.
Think of me and I’ll be there.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
But the hills that we climbed
were just seasons out of time.

Goodbye, Papa, please pray for me,
I was the black sheep of the family.
You tried to teach me right from wrong.
Too much wine and too much song,
wonder how I got along.

Goodbye, Papa, it’s hard to die
when all the birds are singing in the sky,
Now that the spring is in the air.
Little children everywhere.
When you see them I’ll be there.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
But the wine and the song,
like the seasons, have all gone.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
But the wine and the song,
like the seasons, have all gone.

Goodbye, Michelle, my little one.
You gave me love and helped me find the sun.
And every time that I was down
you would always come around
and get my feet back on the ground.

Goodbye, Michelle, it’s hard to die
when all the bird are singing in the sky,
Now that the spring is in the air.
With the flowers ev’rywhere.
I wish that we could both be there.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
But the stars we could reach
were just starfish on the beach

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
But the stars we could reach
were just starfish on the beach

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun,
But the wine and the song,
like the seasons, have all gone.

All our lives we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
But the hills that we climbed
Were just seasons out of time….

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/onehitwonders/seasonsinthesunlyrics.html

 The song “Seasons in the Sun” was not the original title.  It was “Le Moribond” and sang by a Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel.  Even the lyrics were a bit different from the version which Canadian singer Terry Jacks performed for Westlife.  The song, the recent rephrased version, was sold for 10 Million copies worldwide.

The popular version is a dying protagonist’s farewell to friends and relatives.

If the present generation has not heard of the music, they would surely appreciate it once it is played.  The listener, no matter how young would be transfixed.   The melody will definitely stick.  And if the person should take time to listen to the lyrics, it could even evoke a certain degree of emotion.

For it is a truism that a person no matter how strong, how powerful, how great would someday reach a stage when he has no more choice but bid the world good bye.  This music will definitely serve as his backdrop.

I never heard this musical score sung on radio then but it was an anthem repeatedly played when a friend sometime ago was to be buried.  Accordingly, he requested beforehand his elder brother to sing the piece for him.  He sang it also during his younger brother’s internment.  I was then a restless juvenile in search for adventures, the dangerous and threatening kind.  But on that occasion I was mesmerized by the melody and the lyrics.   It struck me for a while.  It pushed my maturity ahead of my age.   I realized that death, although a common occurrence was something to be reckoned.  Death claims anyone on its path regardless of station, age, vision, principle and belief.  It may be unwelcome, but it is a certainty one cannot evade.

My mother passed away in 1989.  Myfather in 2008.  My only sister in 2013.  I am the only one left in the family.  My mother had an only brother who is already in mid 70s, a wife on the same age and 4 children (3 girls and a boy:  all grown ups).  My father had two living sibling, two half sisters and a half brother, all of them with several kids, all grown ups too.  My sister had four kids, all grown ups and the eldest has two children already.

I have a lot of friends but only a handful of close associates.  I literally grew up along with my friends but somewhere along life’s changing paths and priorities, we were thrown in different directions.  Where I was I would get within a sphere where close associates would take over where formerly my friends would meander.  From a distance I would receive information on the demise of a friend and where I was, I would likewise bear witness to the departure of some of my associates.  While passing away of loved ones is a signal on what should have been accomplished along with them, it impresses the thought that one day a reunion somewhere will be in order.

Good or bad, saintly or dreadful, hero or traitor, everyone goes into a single direction.  Everyone departs the place they once trod, happily or sadly. Whether there is a place for all, no one has returned back to life to explain.

But one thing is clear, everyone, wherever they may be, belongs to the memory of those they have sincerely related and touched.

Indeed, death cleanses everything.  And they who departed have become a season in the sun.

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

in charge

If the police are at war with scalawags in uniform, then who is in charge of peace and order in the streets?  Are people paying taxes so that the police could wage daily battle against their erring colleagues?

Are the police paid to monitor their ranks which of late have been, some to be fair but relatively representative of the whole however, conscripted by criminal syndicates if not leading lights of criminal syndicates?

There was a joke before by a former chair of National Police Commission.  He declared that New York Police respond in five minutes after a call has been made; Japanese law enforcers in three minutes.  But Filipino patrol in a matter of seconds!  What happened in that infamous EDSA hulidap says it all.  The police, the whole police station as a matter of fact, was there at the crime scene, well, sadly, as criminals.

As it were, no one is in charge anymore about order in the community except for a few guided souls and the discipline of a handful of educated elite.  Worst, where there was order and stability, it is even disturbed by people paid to maintain it.  Reports on kidnapping, mulcting, extortion, rape, murder and a litany of criminal activity have been perpetrated by the police.  It does not inspire strength, it breeds frustration.

Of course, on a positive note, it is also the police that would crack open the nefarious works of their fellow but is this exactly how it should be?  If there were no victims and if at all the intended crime has been nipped in the bud, then that should have been a fair accomplishment.  But it has become a serial criminal motion conducted by a neophyte police officer and as if on cue, would persist up those who retired from the service.  Crimes seemed to have been ingrained deeply into the system and have metastasized to what it is today.

It is a sad commentary on a group supposedly trained to fulfil the mandate of peace.  It is even sadder for a population to be held captive for its goods.  There is an impression that the low lifes have taken over the reign of administration and that the people are rendered hopeless and weakened.

In time, there will be pockets of communities that would subscribe to a “dog-eats-dog” means to survive.  No longer is the truism “survival of the best” that would push quality of life upwards but rather “survival of the worst” which would push society down the drain of insignificance and obliteration.

Society is therefore vulnerable to vigilantism. But society has matured to the level of objectivity and patience.  They would rather look up to the heavens for succour and seldom to the mountains for salvation.   Senator Miriam Santiago’s braggadocio is therefore never seen as brash posturing.  Her bearing directly challenges her pet peeves—the jerks, the corrupt, the inefficient, the incompetents, the low lifes.  The same scoundrels which society have marked but could not do anything.  Davao Mayor Rody Duturte’s projection against these villains could not contain his anger too.

There is therefore a move to declare a Miriam-Rody tandem as the best duo to be called “In –Charge.”

TRAVELING THROUGH SOUTH ROAD

ferry boat

To be considered a highly skilled driver, one must undergo some kind of initiation.  One of them is driving from kilometer zero, Luneta, up to the farthest one can get, preferably Mindanao.  In my case, I have made the trip almost three times already (six years apart), from Luzon to Mindanao, specifically from Manila to Davao and vice versa, a good 1, 500 kilometer trek for one way.  It was an exhilarating experience that for me it has achieved the status of a ritual already.  Passing through almost all major provinces in the country, the route of South Road, was for me like a pathway to adventure, a passageway from juvenile wiles to maturity.  It was very educational and if one intends to be a rebel someday, the immersion is the principal step!  One becomes frustrated how local governments manage the provinces one would pass through.

When I first tried using motorbike (Canadian model Yamaha Verago, 1100cc)  as medium, it was a man versus machine proposition.  The distance can be covered in 48 hours without rest.  I spent 4 days however. Of course when one is using a two-wheel vehicle, one must take into consideration the weather, the time and the road condition.  Well, not much about road condition since a biker can just whizz through a paved portion of a damaged road without sacrificing speed.  The disadvantage however is when the sun is up or when there is rain or just  a drizzle.  One must hurry to seek the comforts of a waiting shed or something that looks like one along the road.  The gas station was, for my purpose, the perfect place since one can have a hot coffee while waiting for the right timing.  The trip was very wholesome since I have to make a stop over in every major marketplace to savour the specialty of the province.  Just for the journey alone, I gained five pounds already.

The second time, I set aside my big bike and drove a van.  Getting older does not augur well for driving on two wheels unless one is in a group.  I packed my spacious vehicle with enough provisions for a two to three day tour.  I thought of dozing off in the van whenever I would catch a relaxing sleep but the dangers of street violence and all those roaming predators were enough to convince me to stay in a hostel or inn along the way.  Worst, on the entire stretch I have as yet to see a patrol car or the confident building presence of law enforcement except in check or choke points which were merely sheds of waving officers.

The roads, while admittedly a national one, were all class B.  There were stretches of good and properly maintained roads but on the whole, the highway was just as fledging.  I was even surprised to squeeze through what I thought was an alley, too narrow to be called a street, but it was indeed part of the national highway somewhere in Samar, probably forgotten by the contractors of the fabled Maharlika Highway of strongman Marcos.  And then I trod on a series of zigzagging  roads leading to pock mocked ones. And they were aplenty.  To a certain extent, the crudely paved roads make a driver alert always.  He might get ditched if unaware.

My third outing had a common denominator with my first two travels.  It was the thrilling, suspenseful and well, horrifying exposure of boarding a ferry, once in Sorsogon en route to Samar and another at Leyte onwards to Mindanao.  One must instantly believe in a Supreme Being to have the confidence of reaching one’s destination standing and well.  The ferry boat was indeed dilapidated.  I agreed wholeheartedly when someone joked that it was a steel coffin.  There was no government at all in its supervision and maintenance.  If at all there was government, then it is worthy of being overthrown.  Everything depended on luck whenever one must have to use it.  And one does not have any choice either.  Boarding a rusted, decrepit and ramshackled boat was never audacious at all.  It was more desperate.

Well, I have been through a lot of dangers, a lot of sacrifices, a lot of challenges on the road and specially while being ferried by boat, and everything was considerably fair.  Until, one day, a good quarter of the year after, I heard that the ferry boat I was fearful of boarding but which I always boarded nonetheless, and quite accomplished exiting from its rotten planks, not only jolted and floated aimlessly in the open sea, but sunk!

I was right all along.  I had near misses but I never realized that for quite sometime while traversing south road I was not only reckless but suicidal too!

ENSNARED BY LOVE

lover fool

Once upon a time, there was this interesting couple who fell in love during their teens and continued with their zealous devotion to each other until they eventually tied the knot, founded a family, bred offspring and ironically, got estranged despite overwhelming love.

They were merely grown up children when they marched to receive the sacrament of matrimony.  The girl was still studying and as yet to graduate from a course.  The boy, unable to continue his studies because of penury, explored work in a nearby hostel.

They were classmates in the elementary and knew each other as primary grade students.  They were just acquaintances but their exposure on the campus made them familiar to one another.   The girl rose up in ranks as a scholar while the boy slid down because of poor scholastic performance.  As the girl became secluded from social life literally enclosing herself with studies, the boy eventually got employed in a relative’s business firm as itinerant and runner.

The Juvenile Years

During a school reunion, they would meet and from there, they would enjoy each other’s company.  The boy had a job already and practically the means to buy neat clothing.  He would perennially visit the girl and continue to woo and express thoughtfulness on his inamorata.  Persuaded by the audacity of the boy, the girl accepted an invitation to be treated where the boy was working.  Their first date would be followed by several more.

In the agency where the boy was regular personnel, the girl was always impressed.  She was convincingly enamored  Everyone in the workplace would gamely bow down at the boy, everyone nearly genuflecting at their presence, indicating that indeed the boy was the manager or occupying a significant designation in the headquarters.  They boy never hid the pretence.  As a matter of fact, he played into the role and that made the girl terribly amazed.  The girl eventually accepted the affectionate proposal from the remarkable boy.

From the way, he carried himself, he projected as if he was the owner of the establishment and the girl was mighty proud about her consummate boyfriend.  Scholars are never street-wise.

The Courting Stage

The boy persisted in his mission to fully capture his lady love.  He would always take time to fetch his girlfriend, escort and accost her in every school activity.  There were even times when he would stay out late and would be prodded to stay and spend the night in the house of the girl to the dismay of the girl’s mother.  The mother could sense that her daughter might be hoodwinked by a pretentious boy.  Mother’s intuition could have foretold that if indeed the boy was that accomplished and well off, the boy would not have stayed longer for decency sake.  What was even perplexing was the instance when the mother asked where the boy resided.  She got a round-around response as if evading the query.

Until the girl confessed to her family that she was already on the way.  For a conservative family where the girl belonged, wedding rites must have to be fulfilled.  The boy was overjoyed except that he had no savings yet.  The girl’s family nonetheless made the arrangements and footed the bill.  The marriage was a toss between a grand one and a memorable occasion.  The youngest in the brood was, after all, the unica hija, hence the fete.

The Real Score

And true to the suspicion of the mother, the boy had no house to speak off.  He was merely staying in a dilapidated shed at the back portion of a relative’s house. Worst, the boy was nowhere between the owner and supervisor of his workplace.  He was merely a liaison, a common helper and a kitchen reliever, a notch lower than the eatery’s dishwasher.

The boy had little means to support himself, much more so, sustain a family.  The family could not allow their only girl to live in a shack.  And so the girl and her husband must have to stay in their house instead.  And that was actually what the boy aimed for in the first place.  He merely inserted himself into the girl’s household as a person married to a member.  That was his passport and the girl’s family felt sad in the process.  They could not allow the girl to live with her struggling man because the man had nothing to offer in the first place.  The man merely used the girl so that he could enter a middle class lifestyle and ensure a considerable shelter on his head.  Because he abused his time and would seldom report for work, a few months after the splendid ceremony, as if on cue, the man was dismissed from work and would join the army of unemployed.

A Criminal Act

Worse still, the new household member, at regular intervals, would even pawn every valuable his wife would leave around, mostly heirloom jewelries borrowed from her mother.  The mother could sense there were inside job in her lost valuables until such insinuation would reach the daughter’s attention.  That would start a cold relationship between daughter and mother until one day; both would be surprised to receive a continuous flow of mailed receipts from a pawnshop indicating that the lost jewelries were actually pawned after all by the man.

Sensing that he was being trailed by suspicious members of the household, he sought for an employment overseas.  He was jobless for a number of years anyway.  The time spent abroad was not productive though. He would merely send pictures that he was having a grand time in several ports and these were proudly shown by the girl to her family.   He would however seldom remit his salaries and would oftentimes wire his wife to send support.  His wife would instantly send succour notwithstanding the fact that at that time she was singularly maintaining their own family and supporting a brood.  She was already gainfully employed as a middle manager in an established firm and could flex some considerations.  She would even be playing a generous host to a number of her husband’s kin and relatives who haled from the province to seek support and assistance too from her on a regular basis.

Unable to fulfil any remarkable job abroad, the husband returned to play second fiddle to his wife as driver and liaison.  This would continue until the man asked his wife to get into a business project.  The parents of the wife were also convinced to be willing partners of the venture until one day; they would discover that their capital was being wasted on an activity without any commercial value.  The business or what it was flunked.   And naturally, the parents were disillusioned.  Those who helped felt they were also goofed except for the wife.

A Case of Recidivism

The wife on the other hand wanted to give another chance to her husband and decided to move in a place far from the parents.  After all, the wife was already receiving a princely sum as a top school official.  To make her husband the central figure in their own family, the wife allowed her man to enter into several contracts with several commercial ventures.  She was mighty proud to see her husband on top of his game.   She would even consent to signing all cheques to be issued by her husband.

Her trust in her man however would prove to be her undoing.

Since there was little business entered into, there were no revenues or profits earned and deposited in the bank.  All the checques signed by the wife bounced and a series of criminal complaints filed against the wife.  Her integrity in the community where she worked and resided was in tatters.  The man merely evaded those he short-changed and hid in different provinces on the guise of conducting business exploration.

Furthermore, the wife was grossly humiliated by a number of people the husband transacted with.  All of them exacted from her instant repayment or face criminal indictment.  The wife, out of desperation and shame, paid everything, emptying all her savings and went into a binge of filing loans left and right.  Her parents would also come in to rescue her from destitution, withdrawing sums from deposited retirement savings if only to liberate their daughter from a degrading situation.

She had to endure the disgrace brought about by scandal until she was forced to resign.  Considering the high marks on her education credentials, it did not take long for her to get another post in a school of good standing.  She had to double her efforts since all her children were still growing up and all were virtually dependent on her means and resources.

But her fortune would be short lived.   A few months after, her mother was slain and the source of her fiduciary assistance dwindled.

The Second Coming

The husband reappeared after the financial problems had been resolved.  This time, he would be accosted by his younger brother.  By then, the wife was planning to return to her ancestral house to be with her widowed father. Accordingly, it was economical that way than to rent.  The brothers would then induce the wife to engage in another business, an activity which would send them off to another country to earn dollars.    She pleaded her superiors in the academe to advance her salary for the important project of her husband.

That would be the last attempt that the wife would hear from them.  She would never get information on what happened next.  She merely shrugged her shoulders thinking that her husband was really working hard to surprise her in the end.  Her love for her husband transcended any suspicion.  She was always there for him.

Years later, the younger brother would be heard having an employment in a nearby province.  The husband was nowhere however, possibly left abroad, feeling embarrassed not having anything to remit or possibly having found another life in another country with another gullible partner he could always sway.  The younger brother was mum about it.

The End of an Ideal

Years and years later, the thought of having been conned by love could not get through the lips of a dedicated woman.  She had never even for once tricked herself nor anyone else.  She has been true and faithful to her loved one, except that in the end, she realized that she was ensnared helplessly by love.

THE POLICE OFFICER TODAY

police

A police officer is also called a law enforcer.  He must know therefore the law since it is his prime duty, his foremost job actually, to enforce its majestic rumination including its nuances and social implications.  Hence, he must be trained not only on the way how a lawyer should, but also as an officer of the court and at the same time as a community leader.  He is the epitome of social justice, a symbol for peace and order, a catalyst and saviour.

But that is not the way he was oriented or what it was done to him in his school.  He was taught to fight.  He must endure hardship through endless drills and survive some kind of fraternity initiation.  He must familiarize himself and understand brutality the way he would experience it.  And he must pass token academics only through the encouragement on the use of wiles and through the realities of scholastic bargaining.

The cadet believes that overcoming life in college or in the academy would be a rewarding field full of romance, cinematic thrills and gross physical actions.  His perception of his course would convince him that he could not go wrong since he is almost at par with of law, that which he is crusading.  He has the egocentric notion of having the upper hand always.  He is armed and trained to subdue anyone.  He was educated to presume that ordinary citizens depend on them.  In their basic learning, they would consider the people are gullible and vulnerable and they are supposed to be their champion.   Hence, those with business to protect wanted to have a kin or a family member employed in the police department to protect and further their interests.  Those who are fledging and economically challenged wanted also their children to be members of the police force to move up to the ladder of fiscal success.

There was a time in the past when the short cut to prosperity was through crime.  It was the constable, the local police who would frustrate the growing social menace.  The police was there to nip the criminal bud at the onset.  The police then was a neighbourhood fixture promoting peace and order.

Then, the police force was absorbed into the mainstream of martial law machinations.  Those trained in War College, those who graduated in PMA, all soldiers trained in combat, suddenly found another area to be integrated in:  the police force.  Subsequently, the police department became an enclave of warriors and naturally, the civilian community became their battleground.

Not to be outdone, regular police officers who were eased out of management came up with the idea of having their own police academy to compete with PMA.  PNPA was born but it was a clone and its orientation almost a leaf torn from its PMA template.  The result is the same.  Those who would graduate would likewise believe that they are warriors too and that their principal mandate was warfare.  One may notice the fact that even in the use of uniforms; one is confused on its ordinate use except for the badge and shoulder plates.

The police would rather apply the terms of their ranks according to military usage.  They would rather be called as Colonel than Superintendents, or Captains, Majors, Sergeants than anything else.  Police delight to be seen and perceived as military officers.  They would even design their insignias according to combat flair.  And they have this myopic understanding that those outside their realm are either enemies or victims, not as clients or patrons.

With this as perspective, the police go about town wishing for an enemy to materialize.  They wanted action, like that which can be seen in war movies.  They must empty their magazines, bullet blazing and as soon as the smoke clears, whadaheck if there are civilians slain in the process, it is just part of the job, military style, very war like and even jurisprudence would held that such engagement is part of legal territory.  And so the police are emboldened to presume that they are at war in the midst of the civilian neighbourhood.

On top of their community work, the police would be trained like special forces and given assignments as body guards of influential people.  They would get a close look at how people in high places would conduct their nefarious business.  This is one crime which they would rather participate since the take is great.  As a consequence, they become a party in the making of shenanigans.  That would likewise introduce them to a criminal lifestyle.  Something they could pass on to their peers and their subordinates.

Henceforth, nobody believes the truism that crime does not pay anymore. Criminality was no longer a street corner preoccupation.  It has grown into an institution that even at the top echelon of affluence, crime is at the core and at the very foundation.  It is supported by a specially trained armed force.  And the police could no longer deal with it in a manner they were sworn to prevent.  Either they join or their career would take an uneasy turn.

If at all there is a need to reconfigure the entire apparatus of police mentality as it is shown in the conduct of today’s uniformed scallywags, then the institution needs a paradigm shift.  Its leaders must recognize that the very institution they represent has been badly damaged and that no matter how pure their mindsets are, their integrity has been sullen already.  They must, pardon my suggestion, resign and opt for the abolition of the force.

Instead, send the Marines to the law school and let them be the seed of a new law enforcement agency.  Then we can start anew.  After all, it is only the Marines which have shown that they have the conscience and the guts, the fortitude and objectivity, the respect and adulation of every community where they are assigned.

A LETTER TO MY PARENTS

PRISON WATCH

parents

 My ever dearest Tatay and Nanay,

By now, my dear sister must have been there with you already.  I could only reflect on the time you have spent here, the responsibilities left behind for me to fend and those matters which you intend to realize but never made it on time.  Mother, you left us when you were barely 59 years old in 1989, still strong although you must have weakened considerably after suffering from three successive strokes.  You were gone in an instant not because of ailment but because of the treachery of criminals.  I vowed to hunt these perpetrators down even up to the end of the earth.  I am not contented cornering a handful of your attackers.  I have prepared myself for the worst.  I will bring the evil of revenge in Hell, pluck the rest of your assailants  and introduce brutality until Satan pukes as…

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