They have a name besmirched by law. Their reputation in the free community damaged beyond recognition. They have been featured as villain, projected as felon, an anti hero and a scoundrel. As such, they are considered a menace in their environment much more so a prowling, dangerous character, hence they are imprisoned.
Having violated the laws, they lost the right to remain in the free society anymore. They ought to be segregated for a period to lament and repent for what they have done. They are expected to expiate for whatever transgressions they have committed.
In the prison community however such expectations may be realized to a certain degree. But most likely, the feeling could be fleeting and cumbersome. The environment is too gross, too fearsome, too threatening that a day of incarceration means a period of hopelessness, a moment of desperation.
And why not? One rubs elbow with eccentrics decreed by norms as the basest, vilest, and foulest. It is a community of superlatives in the negative sense. Either one becomes absorb and would eventually act as one, or would regret and start life anew from the time of admission up to the time of release.
Imprisonment is a medium for repair; a silent occasion for atonement. It is full of remorse and shame. It is intended to break the shell of the person to squeeze the better quality in him. For someone who literally was immersed in privileges, living a high-end life full of perks, prison is hell that must be tamed.
To an ordinary mortal who is clamped may merely stop by and acclimatize to the bare condition of a restricted area but to a person used to extras and perquisites, prison is a place that must be re-formed. For the celebrity prisoner, reformation pertains his environment and not his persona. He would rather reorder his surroundings than change himself.
In prison one must waste a stretch. Prisoners are there to serve time, to ignore days, to disregard the passing of a spell. Time is of no consequence at all. What a matter is the daily monotonous grind, which everyone must capture and overlook.
One may even sleep his time away, or do some crafts, perform something stressful or pray in a manner how monks execute their routine. Life is drab and repetitive. The climate is dull and boring. One must create an atmosphere for adventure. And the celebrity prisoners have the resources, mental and economic to pull such feat.
Aside from engaging prison authorities, haggling actually for some benefits like a trip to a first class Hospital, and if lucky, to be allowed to have confinement also, or be consented to build a bachelor’s pad, or permitted to install an air conditioning unit in his cell, the negotiation in itself is a form of excitement already.
Bargaining, brokering for advantage is a process, which makes their day. They find delight by using prison authorities, be they prison guards, their supervisors or superiors, as pawns they can easily move into position to get favor. They knew all along that it could be done at the right price or persuasion.
Everything for them can be bought or exchanged. They failed to get it however in some judicial respects but they knew they can achieve it in the course of their incarceration. And so, the fourth pillar of the criminal justice system, corrections, would bore the brunt of pressure and temptation.
The celebrity prisoners represent one sector in the prison community that defies convention. They are there to control. They are there to influence. They are there to fulfill a destiny which no other categories or organized system can dissuade. They make prison a challenge and for the greater number of officers, a career-ending confrontation.
Retired prison officer Lito Pragides dreamt that he was bragging to an angel about his exceptional pet monkey in Iwahig. Indeed, almost every month, the small ape had a number of skills to boast. First, it learned to eat using spoon and fork. Then, it would retire early, lay on bed and sleep using its own customized blanket and pillows. Thereafter, it would fix its own mosquito net and dutifully would rise at the sound of the alarm clock.
Truly, Lito was very happy at the hype generated by the intelligent simian. The excitement doubled when it learned to read and write!
Then, the pet owner paused and became incosolable to report to the angel that he eventually shot his pet.
Surprised, the angel almost shouted, “Teka!! Bakit naman??!!”
“Isipin po ninyo,” said Lito, “sa kanyang lamesa nakita ko ang kanyang sinusulat?!
“Dapat nga matuwa ka! “ The angel summoned.
Lito stood up and said, “siya pala ang nagpapadala ng mga anonymous letter sa director!”
A number of high profile prisoners eventually arrived in heaven and were instantly the toast among the denizens. They came also in tangerine uniform as if they agreed on the type of clothing to wear.
St. Peter strove slowly, smiling as he saw the group. He raised both his hands in a generous wave and said, “Aba, hehehe, mabuti naman at andito na kayo. Binabantayan namin kayo nuong nasa loob pa kayo ng bilanguan.”
The group chorused, “Maraming salamat naman po.”
“Totoo ba yung naririnig namin dito na kayo daw ay VIP?” inquired the Saint.
The group protested, “ Hindi po. BPI ho yun, yung ATM po!”
PG Romy Chavez was bored in heaven and requested to visit Hell to check on some friends. He was promptly escorted in, and as soon as he was ushered in, he was immediately engulfed with flames up to his neck. All his colleagues were also in a similar situation hence he never made any complaint at all until he met another officer he considered very corrupt breezing through.
“Teka!” Romy sensed something unfair and directed his concern to supervising demons in the area, “bakit yung inspector na yun hanggang bewang lang ang apoy samantalang napaka-walang hiya niyan sa serbisyo?!”
“Huwag ka nang pumalag,” the demon said, “nakatungtong naman yan sa balikat ni Assistant Director!”
Purgatory is a place where souls are evaluated whether they will go to Heaven or slide down to Hell. Here we find a number of prison directors. Several generals are seriously seated waiting for the interview. They have been there, one after another. They were asked if they are worthy to be escorted to the Pearly Gates for admission to Heaven.
Several of them have big boxes, others thick brown envelopes except for one with a piece of paper.
The Purgatory manager without inspecting what the prison directors were carrying, motioned to the one with a piece of paper to proceed to meet St. Peter.
“Boss!” the senior general whispered, “puro pera dala namin pang PR sa tropa ninyo, eh bakit yung may dalang isang pirasong papel ang nabigyan ng pabor?”
The manager whispered back, “Kontrata naman yun!”
Heaven was a very peaceful place until the silence was broken by two contending visitors who were merely invited to have a tour of Paradise. Jun Geronimo and Marlon Morales were quarelling when a winged religious worker stepped in to negotiate a truce between the two gentlemen.
“Ano ba ang pinag-aawayan ninyong dalawa?” the angelic fellow inquired in a mellow way.
The two perspiring fellows almost spoke in unison, “Bucorea po.”
The saintly fellow does not want to look ignorant if he would ask what Bucorea is and so he motioned another serene looking former prison officer, his assistant, to whisper to him what it is.
The prison officer said, “Ang pinag-aawayan po nila ay pera.”
The religious guy left hurriedly and instead instructed his assistant,”Sabihin mo na lang sa akin kung sino nanalo sa kanila para makahingi tayo ng balato!”
Sosing Berroya retired recently from the prison service and while awaiting for his retirement pension, which unfortunately takes several months to process by GSIS, would rather frequent the church. He would trek to the chapel everyday and would seek heavenly intercession.
One day, he went to Church early, knelt down in his favorite pew, across the altar and profusely prayed for luck. He intoned, a bit loudly, in desperation, “Panginoon ko, sana manalo ako sa jueteng kahit isang beses lang po.” It was a prayer he would oftentimes plead but did not expect any instant response. Yet on that day, something happened. He heard a booming voice.
“Kaibigan, ikaw ay mananalo ngayon!”
Sosing asked for the combination and it was given! He noticed however to his surprise an old man at his back who immediately said, in the same commanding voice “Sir, tayaan nyo na yun, mamya bolahan na namin!”
A prison guard assigned at the Director’s Quarters (DQ) before he retired wrote a description of DQ and some Directors he has served. But he merely made a code, an alphabetical code, for each prison leader. Accordingly, Director A would claim that DQ is a haunted house and exposed it to the elements. Director B however would defy such impression and would transform DQ into a barangay, where all his relatives stayed. Director C would make it a vacation house for his staffers and prisoners. One day, the DQ’s pool is a fish pond, another occasion it is an exlusive resort. Sometimes DQ was a mini-zoo, at times it is a barracks for illegal transactions. Another Director would use its wood panel to construct his private residence. But the most enterprising of all is Director E, who, after his term, would take out all the kitchen utensils, plates and even the door screen of DQ!
Prison history therefore is written in an amusing way by its administrators through their acts, it almost renders the prison service into a joke.