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TRICKS IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ADMINISTRATION

 

just tiis

When an agency is tasked to run after a crook, it better brace itself for good.  There are a lot of legal “landmines”, or technical maneuvers,  which could jolt anyone treading through into an explosive situation, blowing up into smithereens anybody caught into it.

 

In a simple case of search down in prison, a prison administrator once directed an officer to conduct an instant raid on a suspected drug lair in the prison camp.  True enough, contrabands were seized and suspects investigated.  What came out of the investigation however proved fatal to the raider.  The suspect claimed that it was the raider who was supplying the contraband all along and that failure to remit the sales rendered the suspect vulnerable to searchers and eventually to filing of charges.  The statement of the suspect was submitted and as a result, counter charges were filed and the prison leader has to reckon and unfortunately order for the dismissal from the service of his subordinate.

 

NBI was similarly situated.  It was tasked to run after big time syndicates.  It was directed to go after crooks.  Of course, there also bad players in the team, it is always given anyway.  It is how the team works that matter no matter how some bad players would spoil some plays.  Even if NBI tries to project a la FBI stance (although FBI gets its manpower from the top 10 of law schools in USA), there will always be some shades of pitfalls along the way.  It is given but the mission is always fulfilled at the end of the day.

 

In the Napoles case, NBI was lead agency.  It deployed twelve tracking team to bag their celebrity prey.  The world is watching.  Presidential attention was even compelled to be agitate, resulting in the issuance of a 10 Million peso bounty.  A few minutes later, Napoles with her lawyer surfaced.  They went to the Palace to surrender to the President bearing the note that they are up against their NBI tormentors.

 

Some really are gifted or better, smarter than the others.  The NBI prey proves to be smarter than their previous targets.  At the end of the “catch me if you can” episode, it was NBI which is about to fold up.  While suspect Napoles is getting every concession she seeks,—a good detention facility, an air conditioning unit and recently, a possibility for a maid as errand, the NBI on the other hand is disintegrating.

 

The world indeed is full of trickery as the poem Desiderata would point out.

 

Suddenly, PNP rose up to the occasion.  In an instant, it became the protective agency sought for.  PNP became the sanctuary of Napoles, the threatened fugitive from justice turned victim and viewed at times as state witness.  PNP will blanket the accused with its mantle of fortification.  Sometime ago, some PNP elements were found to have bungled on their prey.  On two occasions, suspects were summarily exterminated along with innocent bystanders.  PNP for a time was never called to be consulted but rather to be conducted in an assault.

 

The make over was fast.  PNP has become the lead agency for safety, as what really it should be in the first place.  Meanwhile, NBI was trailing, its integrity and reputation depreciating slowly.  Worst, NBI was (and still is) at the forefront of sensitive situations like the alleged Ampatuan massacre case among others.  If it continually reduce its effective representation, time will come when offenders become the bearer of revenge and the State, merely an audience of judicial tragedy.

 

Finally, the poem Desiderata concludes in the face of all these unfortunate incidents, “Let it not distract you (from trickery) from a virtue therein, for the world is also full of heroism.  Be gentle.  Strive to be happy.”

 

 

“POVERTY IS NOT AN ACCIDENT…”

poverty

 

Iconic Nelson Mandela said “Poverty is not an accident like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.”  Of course, human beings here denote government or that force which compels society to move towards a direction of its preference.  If government will be true to its principles of governance, then poverty can be addressed effectively.  Government has so many resources at its disposal that a fraction of which can be dedicated to eradicate poverty.  But politicians never wanted this to happen.  Once a population has progressed, the field becomes leveled, society becomes flat and eventually, there is no more need for leaders.  When that happens, politicians will be out of work, will have no more commissioned largesse and they will all be extinct in no time.  Hence, poverty is even wished for if not intentionally programmed by a significant sector of government itself.

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It took a Lincoln to eradicate slavery in American.  It took a Mandela to push out apartheid in South Africa.  It takes however government to eliminate poverty in its midst.  There are countries whose government succeeded.  There is New Zealand, where poverty incidence is almost zero.  There is Switzerland, Nordic States (Sweden, Norway, Denmark), all welfare states—-where government has guaranteed welfare for its citizens.

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It has been concluded in studies where empirical evidence suggests that taxes and transfers considerably reduce poverty in most countries, whose welfare states commonly constitute at least a fifth of the GDP.  This means that most welfare states have considerably lower poverty rates than they had before the implementation of welfare programs. (In economics, GDP or gross domestic product means how much a place produces in some amount of time.)

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Poverty to a certain extent is a personal choice though.  One can live in complete opulence yet would remain simple and poor.  Pope Francis removed the luxurious habiliments and bejeweled throne of the papacy in favor of a plain cassock and unadorned lumber as his chair.    It is a form of sacrifice that is highly philosophical and profound.  It is the basis of humanity and its advancement.  But another form of poverty, a societal driven ill and an imposed social condition, is something that is never a choice.  As a matter of fact, it is one form of poverty, which can be seen as a curse.  It is this kind of poverty that sends an innocent person in prison, one that consigns a whole community immediately, if not instantly, from birth to the cemetery.  It reduces man and defaces his integrity.  It makes him inhuman and delivers him to desperation.  This is one cause, which makes man rebel and revolt against the establishment.  And it is this kind of poverty, which can be eradicated.

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HOW THE STARS FARED

filmstar

Let us check who among our theater stars earned the nod of the electorate.  In Quezon City, we have Mayor Herbert Bautista.  In Manila, Joseph Estrada and Isko Moreno.  Manny Pacquiao in Gensan (legislative) and wife, Jinkee Pacquaio in Gensan (Gobernatorial).  ER Ejercito in Laguna.  Jolo Revilla in Cavite.  Vilma Santos in Batangas.  Lucy Torres in Leyte.  Loren Legarda for the Senate.  Previous election also featured the success of Lito Lapid , Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla in the Senate.

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There are those who were however repudiated.  We have Annabelle Rama in Cebu, Aga Muhlach in Camarines Norte, Richard Gomez in Leyte, Christopher de Leon in Batangas, Joey Marquez in Paranaque, and Imelda Papin in Bulacan.  The previous election were also a debacle for some celebrities like Ceasar Montano, Edu Manzano and Rico J Puno.

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There was also character actor Rex Cortez who campaigned as representative of Camarines Sur.  Imelda Papin in Bulacan.  Lani Mercado for Cavite and Dan Fernandez in Laguna.  Their votes as yet to be finally counted although they are leading already.

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At the way the people voted, there seems to be no formula for winning, even if in the process, the tried and tested means is applied—that is, celebrity status and popularity.  Traditionally, politicians tap the drawing power of celebrity personalities, popular thespians and big names in the celluloid world.  Until such time that celebrities were cajoled and courted to run on their own believing that star power alone can make a great difference.  For some, it is a proven recipe but for others it is a fluke.

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Sometime ago, in the early 60’s, moviedom heartthrob Rogelio de la Rosa threw his hat in the Presidential race only to back out later.  Two decades later, another movie matinee Joseph Estrada would be elected to the highest post in the land, garnering the largest margin in the election history of the country.  Had the votes properly counted, another movie idol Fernando Poe Jr. would have ascended the throne of Philippine politics too.  Had another media personality Noli de Castro who was already Vice President mulled running for a higher post, he could have given his opponent a run of their money.

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This early and as the smoke of the 2013 has as yet faded, there are those who wanted to preposition themselves already in the next electoral exercise.  Presidential sister and herself a celebrity Kris Aquino is contemplating on running for a government post.  There are also those who are into public service like those in media who also wanted to take a crack at the political arena.  Media reporter Mon Ilagan is into his third term as Mayor of Cainta.  Also ABS CBN TV Patrol Sol Aragones for Congress and GMA TV correspondent Charie Pineda for a local government position.

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I overheard a mother and son arguing on what course to take in college.  The son insisted he wanted to enter the field of entertainment.  The mother was objecting.  Eventually, the mother relented when his son whispered the main reason that he wanted eventually to be elected Mayor of their town.

 

ACT OF VALOR

warfare

Tom Clancy, a bestselling author of military exploits, wrote a novel, which easily became a hit film “Act of Valor.”  It began with a catchy quote “You stop to live if you cease to become dangerous.”  For a movie to catch goers without any known actors and actresses and be watched and gained a following, much like a classic is something.  Aside from the fact that the protagonists’ were not only featured as vicious soldiers, the film likewise projected the serious and sensitive part of their basic role in their families.  They comprise the cream of the military establishment.  They are dispatched to dispose the enemy and in the process, are exposed to be disposed too in an instant.  The only difference for their survival is knowledge and training.  They are the elite forces of the USA, the so-called Delta Force.

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In the present leadership of USA, under the Obama administration, this special unit has been given the weight of fulfilling what for decades has been a role assigned to the common military conscript, the ordinary soldiers, the cogs, numerous of them to impress and sow fear.  This unit is not assigned to invade or take over, not to occupy and reign high over a defeated territory as tradition had it.  The unit is there mainly to destroy the will of the enemy, daunting the challenge and however impossible it may be.  While an entire army can fight for years to prove their point (and lose like what happened to USA in Vietnam),  a handful of trained soldiers are brought into the scene and expectedly, in a matter of days conclude their mission with success—taking down the brains of the enemy.

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It took years to neutralize an enemy whose face is buried among the masses.  At times, it takes a generation to discover the real identity of sworn enemies.  There was even an embarrassing situation, like the Jack the Ripper case in London, where the sinister murderer is still unknown at present notwithstanding the advances of forensic science.  Now, the process of dealing with nemeses could be dealt with in a jiffy.  Osama Bin Laden for all his exploits and sophisticated manner of hiding was instantly extracted and taken down by the US Special Forces.  The same is true with Iraq’s erratic Saddam Hussein and a number of trouble spots.

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The world of warfare has been drastically changed and almost went through a circle.  And western military thinkers have tapped the vast reservoir of ideas from their eastern or oriental counterparts.  In ancient Japan, landlords retain the services of highly skilled martial artists, the ninja, to fulfill delicate and hazardous tasks.  Although these were mainly limited to revenge, the approach had been pushed to include almost any endeavor from espionage to occupation.  In India there was a brotherhood of assassins pitted against a known enemy and in Portugal they were even maintained by a shadowy group called Templars.  In recent contemporary times, Israel has the Mossad, the Russians have the KGB and in the Middle East, the Taliban.  Not necessarily in this formal order.

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At the rate we are confronted with conflicts in the Asian region, it pays to review what we got.  In the Philippine setting, there was a group before that specializes on dealing with warfare.  For in the insurgents, there was the Sparrow Unit.  For the establishment, there was the MISG.  Now, they are merely a part of history at times just a footnote, although they were game changers.  To date, there are no more shades of this group.  What we have at present are the phenomenal mercenary called “riding-in-tamdem.”  However, there are no known approaches on how to drop this unit behind enemy lines.

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It will not take long when our security forces will also be able to use sophisticated drones to watch over enemy lines, but in the meantime, we must have to perfect our way of flying “boka-boka!”

A PORTENT OF THINGS TO COME

fortune teller

Whether we like it or not, we are a matriarchal society.  We are like Lebanon.  Sweden, Norway and Denmark, the birthplace of warriors, Vikings, reckon their women as their leaders too.  The woman under a matriarchal system is not only holding the purse, she is also the gatekeeper, watcher, supervisor, administrator of her family.  In other words, she is In-charge.  The discipline of running a family is akin to running a business establishment, overseeing a neighborhood or even managing government.  She maintains everything.

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Sometime past, Filipinos had deep social link with Muslim culture.  As a matter of fact, their forefathers were high on Islamic belief.  Even the concept of neighborhood dynamics such as barangay, is patriarchal through and through like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.  But somewhere along the line, in between reckoning invading cultures, the country slowly veered away from the highly patriarchal influence into the matriarchal approach.  In the Philippines, the woman is the most revered symbol of social salvation.  This change is partly, if not largely, a consequence of its Christian orientation.  At best, the Marian spiritual component grabbed much of Filipino faith.  Hence, their predisposition for women leadership.

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The Filipino’s love affair with his woman transcends earthly politics.  They venerate the wife of their leader—the First Lady.  She is reckoned more than her partner.  Respect for her presence is enduring more than the authority of her husband.  Her intuition guides her spouse’s vision.  Disregarding her counsel at times would prove fatal.  In the Philippine setting therefore, a woman leader is more preferred in practice.

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Cory Aquino, a reluctant leader, when she was shoved into national consciousness and became President, became not only an icon of hope but also a symbol of democratic governance.  She restored a fledging country on the brink of collapse into a model from whence all countries besieged with autocratic mismanagement followed their deliverance.  The Philippines was no longer the same after her ascension.  Then came another woman leader, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  She had flaws as a consequence of her controversial husband but she steered successfully the country to accomplish certain economic merits.

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The leadership, accidental as it were, of President Noynoy Aquino could have been made possible because of the untimely death of his iconic mother, the almost saintly Cory.  He won because of the collective respect for his mother.  Forward looking, the country would be in a bind if there is no woman leader or woman inspired leader would be in sight.  Such confusion can already be felt in the forthcoming 2016 election when once again, the people will have to choose who their next leader would be.  It is either VP Binay or DOTC Secretary Roxas, assuming that the political configuration will not change.  This early however, such arrangement would change.  The election of Grace Poe as she ascends the top post would have a chilling effect on the known protagonists.  And knowing how Filipinos choose their leader, it is almost a fait accompli.

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Her Excellency, Grace Poe.  Hmmmm.  Sounds good.

ANATOMY OF “KAMALASAN”

fate

WHENEVER we encounter something, which does not squarely meet our expectations, we immediately infer that it is “malas” or bad luck.    For others, and they are numerous, “kamalasan” is absence of luck.  Filipinos subscribe to a belief where there is no luck; it is already some kind of “kamalasan” already.  Hence, failure to win in a game of chance is considered a misfortune.  The same can be ascribed in a contest or even in a competition.  In the recent electoral exercise, those who did not make it would direct the same expression.

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But is there really bad luck or “kamalasan?”  Can it be avoided?  Can it be prevented?  Is fate a part of it?  Can preparation avoid its coming?  Can it be reduced to something understandable or worth understanding?  Can it be explained by reason?

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I have a security personnel who was charged for negligence.  The prisoner under his custody escaped and this at a time when he was about to retire already.  “Malas” according to him.  He could have avoided it had he played the right cards.  Had he stayed and did not commit himself in an activity where risks are high, and he had the option actually not to get into such hazards, he could have prevented its occurrence.  In this situation, “kamalasan” can be managed according to one’s ability to determine at a distance what is unfortunate or fortunate for him.  The phrase “bear the consequence” has something to do with the unfolding of events.

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What is near the term “kamalasan” is accident.  Accidents may be positive or negative, depending on the perspective.  Accidents are positive if its effect contributes to general welfare as in accidentally founding a treatment to a difficult to treat ailment.  It is negative if it promotes a painful end like a vehicular accident.  To be cautious therefore should be carried to the extent of paranoia if only to avoid accident but while it may safely protect the person from accident in its negative form, it also deprives the person of its positive outcome too.  As the saying goes, “no pain, no glory; no thorn, no crown.”

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In every struggle, one must have to face the inevitable verdict and effect of one’s action.  There is a natural law on cause and effect.  Do this and it will yield some kind of a reaction.  Whatever it is that is produced may be seen as positive or negative.  Depending on where a person is, he may be projecting something positive or negative—for him or for those around him.  This is also defined under the principle of karmic justice.

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There is therefore the term good or bad karma but this is more comprehended when viewed in a timeline.  A good karma of course has something to do with a good name, a wholesome reputation.  What has been sent is sure to come back a hundred fold so to speak.  A good name therefore repays those behind with a favorable situation whatever it is.  On the other hand, a bad karma is Biblically described as “the sins of the father always visit the son.”

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I personally do not see “kamalasan” in the just concluded election.  For those who won or failed to win, there is nothing to measure yet.  It is after the election where the people will finally ascertain whether their votes brought them “kamalasan” or not.

MID TERM ELECTION IS OVER: WHAT NOW?

post election

Generally speaking, Filipinos vote not necessarily to be bailed out from their common economic and political predicament but as it is shown, more to be entertained and to express sympathy.  Filipinos love the underdog, the straggler.  They wanted to be entertained more than to be governed.  They relish in promises and they hungered and thirsted for amusement.  That explains why people in the field of arts or theaters are elected to public office more than their serious counterparts.

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Of course, Filipinos rely more on brand names.  They buy clothes and other items because of the brand.  They would even re-invent brands to be competitive—like Parejo for Pajero, Avenidas for Adidas, Brod Pete for Brad Pitt, etc.  In politics, brand appellation comes in the form of familiar names.  It never fails.  Look at the result of every election outcomes—-surnames are similar to those who had previously been elected except for the first name.

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Filipinos have resigned their fate.  They are wont on complaining and would rather pout than shout.  Sometime they are on top and at times down below.  Everything is relied on chance never on design.  Hence, they gamble.  Collective life is a game of chance.  Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win.  Luck is preferred than to struggle.  Those who persisted are goners, relegated to plazas as monuments.  Those who remained are the stragglers, the survivors, the fence sitters.  They predominate the landscape of society.  They would rather be entertained than distracted.

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After the prisoners have voted, they were asked what their hopes are for those they elected.  Their response almost in unison is “we have done our job, it’s their turn naman (sic).”  Are they happy that they have exercised their right of suffrage?  For them, it’s “nothing’s changed.”  Asked what their message to those who were elected, and they quipped, “they better do their job properly or spend their time here in prison as our errands!”

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Finally, the people has spoken.  It is a jubilant affair for the winners and a reflective period to those who never made it.  The point is for everyone to forget the pains or for those who were catapulted, not to bask in the limelight but to go back for work.  Leadership or conferment thereof is a serious business.

 

WHY DO WE VOTE

election day

In a democratic society, the people pick those who will lead them.  Leaders or representatives are chosen from a list of those who applied and were qualified to be elected.  Leaders therefore as a rule must, well, lead and pursue programs that would benefit the greater number of their constituencies.  Leadership means that it should be wise in representing the requirements of collective needs.  It should be fair in spreading the natural and notable resources of the community in the interest of the majority.  It should lay down the principal benefits of leadership like public safety, active economic endeavors, fair dispensation of justice, just and equitable public services—like medical, cultural and academic amenities; improved civil and infrastructure outlay and a progressive employment scheme.

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If a community is pitiable, deprived and poor, it merely points out the absence of leadership.  It indicates further that the community is exploited more than it is governed.  It harbors the view that there is a vacuum of leadership and that it invites the fulfillment of rebellion to fill up the void.

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It is a pity that leadership in this country is more concerned on how to govern more than what to fulfill.  Its mindset is more on control rather than on how to make everyone prosperous.  The end of leadership should be the leadership of the people.  It has been said that a good leader does not make a good number of followers, but train more leaders.  In our peculiar situation, leadership is producing leaders not from the ranks of the people but through their bloodlines!

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There are calls to shoot down political dynasts running for public office.  The approach is to vote for their opponents.  That is easier said than done and even more precarious.  Those at the forefront of politics in a regular town are usually the top honcho of industry if not the captain of industry himself.  If he is a benevolent employer, he wins hands down and it goes without saying for those whom he would anoint after his term is completed.  And like his business, he would never gamble it to anyone save for the ingenuity and initiative of his known personal ally, usually a member of his family.  In China, that was how wealth is preserved.  We got the same tact with Chinese merchants also not only in preserving commercial gains but also in conserving political advantages.

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Voting on election day is very critical not only to the one campaigning but also to the voter himself.  It is a holiday alright and for anyone, holiday means to rest.  Going out into the hustling is never a concept for a breather.  It is even more tiresome than working.  Just imagine, the voter goes into the polling place, amidst a thick crowd mostly partisan, he looks for his name, and once he finds it, will proceed to line up.  If lucky, the cue is arms length although this is more of an exception than the rule.  His legs would cram for standing by waiting for his turn, his stomach grinds slowly intimidating, the big intestines frightening the small intestine and the humid atmosphere is a test for his steadfastness.   Before he gets to the booth, he must control the wriggling of his malnutritioned pulse because exceeding the shade on the encircled item would render the whole exercise as kaput.

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Finally, the voter is through exercising his political right.  He goes back home, almost weakened by the jostling.  Sometime ago, Election Day was a celebration of a right, a festivity, a reunion of friends, a communal fellowship.  A day notable for social expression.  It is the most anticipated occasion, like a birthday party.  The people were hyped to see their community leap forward to progress and attain more growth.  Now, the reputation of those to be elected scattered everywhere, blood is on the street and the air is different.  As we go out to express our preference, be careful na lang!

 

 

 

CORRECTIONAL EDUCATION

prison educ

Prison education is an advocacy. It is an inherent program that demands patience not only to inmate students but for the teaching profession as well.  For how can a student learn effectively in a totalitarian regime like prisons when he is distressed with his environment and apprehensive on his future?  Learning comes easily when there is a climate of encouragement and hope. In a detention house there is no such thing.  For those pushing chalks on the blackboard, the effort is almost twice as challenging.  The teacher does not know whether he contributes to sharing ideas or adding more to a confused mind.

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Yet education in correctional institution is a must since the mandate of corrections is rehabilitation.  Education essentially serves at its backbone.  But is there learning in this setting?  If at all there is, is it effective?  Prison is , unlike a slaughterhouse where the carcasses of an animals are stamped with “inspected” before it is allowed to be sent to the marketplace.  There are no such stamping procedures for prisoners, that there is no mark of “rehabilitated” once he is released.  What makes a person rehabilitated or reformed for that matter is how he would carry himself once he becomes a part of the mainstream in the free community.  Will he be absorbed in the labor force?  Will he be given a chance to express his enterprise?  Will he be a law abiding and constructive citizen of his community?

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Let us review the tapes.  Once a prisoner is released, he is immediately labeled as “ex convict.”  Any disorder or violation in the community is an invitation for his presence.  He is part of the usual suspects.  Hence, he must prove that he was never into criminal activities anymore.  Since, he has already a criminal record, his chance to gain employment becomes nil.  He virtually becomes a liability to his family.  Former Congressman Romeo Jalosjos, despite the fact that he has served time for an offense has never been given the fair calling.  Media would still crow that the man is a child rapist and therefore to be deprived of trust and just consideration.  Public perception on those who passed through the rigors of incarceration has never been reasonable.

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And I don’t quite get it.  While society shun someone who was imprisoned, it would gloss over the exploits and hold sacred persons, even construct a pantheon and almost implore supernatural, even heavenly, attributes on, of all people, persons who likewise passed through  imprisonment!  We knew so well that Dr. Jose Rizal was imprisoned, banished and later executed. (But during Rizal Day, the nation celebrates Rizal’s greatness.) We are also aware of the fact that former Senator Ninoy Aquino was kept in detention for seven years and was almost executed through firing squad (only to die treacherously though).    Earlier on, we realized that almost all great men in history were also ex-convicts! (Socrates, Galileo, Thomas More, Miguel de Cervantes, Napoleon, Karl Marx, the list seems endless).

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It has been said repeatedly by Napoleon while he was exiled and detained at Elba, that “Judgment is never learned in any college or university….but in prison, I learned much about it.”  (Something to that effect).  In other words, there is something in prison that captures the essence of learning, the quintessential of schooling and the vortex of training.  In prison, learning means rest vs. rust, make or break, hope against dope, strife to life, discord then accord.

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While education, the center of prison rehab, does not contain so much institutional support compared with the disciplinary importance of security and safekeeping ever since penal science has been introduced to humanity, it promotes the seed of greatness which great men before us had ingrained.  Without it, the world today would still be bleak philosophically.  Correctional education may not be that significant at a glance but it is the only component that humanize the whole criminal justice administration.

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ELECTORAL ANGUISH

election anguish

The prevailing schools of thought about election strategy boil down to organization.  It has been an common place racket before to organize any kind of grouping just so it could present itself to a candidate for purposes using it as block vote—a solid, one-punch vote on election day.  Hence, there were local association of senior citizens, basketball clubs, neighborhood alliance, artists and student guilds, movements of professionals and lately what would materialize as a party list.  All these are meant to carry a singular and exclusive vote in favor of a candidate or a group of candidates—either with a charm for leadership, with the goods to distribute, or with enough courage to sustain an advocacy acceptable to the groups he is courting.

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There is the so-called “Iglesia vote”, “Purple vote”, “youth vote”, “farmers vote”, labor vote” and all kinds of vote.  Hundred party list groups have emerged from their cocoon as shadow supporters of major political party and now, has been conferred by the High Court as a legitimate political party which can formally be registered and enter into the fray on the day of election.  While it may to a certain extent blur the distinction of formal and informal representation because some names of party list organization would, at first glance, indicate even a title or potential title of a movie and therefore comical.  Their entry in effect reduces the seriousness of the task of national building, lowering the standard and translating national development into a mockery, from advocacy to hilarity; from earning a niche in history to earning so much all the way to the bank.  Only a handful of candidates deserve the recognition of history but they are gobbled up by a deluge of expensive competition.

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And this is nasty, while it can be said that the people are hyped and excited to contribute their voice, there is the threat that the exercise was merely meant as a social cosmetic only.  In some hot spots, winners are known already.  Worst, votes are already prepared waiting for the formality of counting, never mind the real ballots cast by the voters on Election Day.  This is one problem which government must check.  This is one gray area which Comelec must truly determine.  Such flagrant corruption of votes is an insult to the people.  It forms a basis for insurgency not to fold up and sustain their advocacy for a genuine government.  If government cannot safeguard and protect a single vote, then there must be a force willing to defend it.  Power abhors vacuum.  So when government cannot exercise its power, it invites and encourages another to fulfill its obligation on the ground.

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Political analysts try to ascertain which approach is most effective in cornering the votes of the people.  Is it through vote-buying?  Is it through voter’s conscience?  Is it through coercion?  Is it through ballot switching?  Is it through voter education?  Ward politics is it?  Good old fashioned marketing then?  We take a leaf from the principle of product sale and exposure therefore.  Is it the rebate condition?  Is it the brand design?  Product or name recall?   Come election time, it is always, different folks, different strokes.  But of course, we have to lump the entire profile of votes into a specific persuasion.  Promises no longer bind votes.  Pledges for a while may be hold one’s attention but it is frail and pathetic.  Endorsement may be helpful but it corresponds to vote procurement knowing that the endorser is paid handsomely in most instances.

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This coming election not only are voters in a tailspin in selecting, thousands of candidates are undergoing the anguish also of wishing to get a crack at their aspired posts—to die even or probably in exchange of the devil’s blessings.  Whatever, at the rate of the country’s continued struggle for the elusive prosperity, election time is still pure grief for all.

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AT A GLANCE.  The dangers of saving data on software is that if it is folded, that is, decommissioned, like what ever happened to “multiply.com”, everything you have in your site—-blogs, pictures, quotes, everything have been melted along with your account.  Don’t rely on software and attractive web accounts.  Build your own personal data base instead with back up tools.

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