Prison Situation in the Philippines

Prison Situation in the Philippines

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

THE GOVERNMENT NEED NOT LOOK FAR TO KNOW WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS THAT BESET ALL PRISONS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, INCUDING THE RAPID INCREASE IN NUMBER OF INMATES, ESPECIALLY WITH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ANTI-DRUG “OPERATION TOKHANG” WHICH WOEFULLY RESULTED TO “JAMPACKING” OF INMATES.

 

SINCE “TIME IMMEMORIAL”, THE SLOW HANDLING OF CASES IS ONE REASON, DUE TO SIMPLY INDOLENT JUDGES AND THE SLOW SYSTEM OF THE PNP’S OWN INVESTIGATION. SCHEDULED HEARINGS ARE ALWAYS “RESET”. ANOTHER REASON IS THE LACK OF JUDGES AND GOVERNMENT LAWYERS. AND STILL, ANOTHER REASON FOR  THE CONGESTION IS THE LACK OF LAND ON WHICH PRISON FACILITIES COULD BE BUILT DESPITE THE AVAILABILITY OF FUND KUNO, IF THAT IS TRUE….OR COULD IT BE THAT PROJECTS ARE NOT EXTENSIVELY JUSTIFIED?

 

WHAT IS THE DOJ DOING ABOUT THE “LACK OF JUDGES”?….WHAT IS THE DILG DOING ABOUT THE “LACK OF LAND”?…WHAT IS THE PNP CHIEF DE LA ROSA DOING ABOUT THE SLOWFOOTEDNESS OF THE PNP INVESTIGATORS?…WHY CAN’T THE POPULATION OF ALL PRISONS BE “STRAINED” AND CASES PROPERLY REVIEWED SO THAT PARDON CAN BE GRANTED TO THE DESERVING RATHER THAN WAIT FOR REQUESTS FROM THE INFLUENTIAL AND APPEAL FROM THE LAWYERS OF FAMILIES OF THOSE UNJUSTLY DETAINED?

 

ANG NAKAKATAWA PA, NAGKAUGAT NA ANG PUWET NG MGA NAKAUPONG MGA OPISYAL SA KANILANG PUWESTO LALO NA ANG MGA IMBESTIGADOR NG PNP, PERO DENY TO DEATH PA RIN SILA SA PAGKAKAROON NG “SECRET DETENTION CELLS” SA MGA ISTASYON NA ITINUTURING NA “STAGING POINT” NG MGA MAY KASO LALO NA SA DROGA UPANG MAKOTONGAN PARA HINDI MAI-BLOTTER “OFFICIALY” KAY PWEDENG ILABAS KAPAG NAKAPAGBIGAY NG “RANSOM” ANG PAMIYA.

 

ANG MGA SECRET DETENTION FACILITIES AY HINDI LANG SA MGA ISTASYON NG MGA PULIS MAKIKITA, KUNDI PATI SA MGA PRIVIATE FACILITIES O BAHAY O “SAFE HOUSES”….AT ALAM YAN NG MGA PNP OFFICIALS….KAYA HUWAG NILANG GAGUHIN ANG MGA PILIPINO.

 

THAT IS THE REAL SITUATION OF THE COUNTRY DUE TO THE SHITTY AND ABUSED PHILIPPINE-STYLE DEMOCRACY!

 

TODAY, THE CONCERNED AUTHORITIES ARE BLAMING EACH OTHER…AS EXPECTED!

 

IF DE LA ROSA WON’T BE CAREFUL IN HIS STATEMENTS….THE PNP PROBLEMS NA OPEN SECRET NAMAN SHALL DEFINITELY CAUSE HIS DOWNFALL!

 

Kabungsuan Yadao Makilala…fallen but not forgotten

KABUNGSUAN YADAO MAKILALA

…fallen but not forgotten

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

After leaving Tacurong without even attending our college graduation due to the urgent call of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from Philippine Airlines, I also left behind my friends and family without entertaining the idea of when I would be with them again.

 

Many years later, every time I went home, I developed the habit of just staying for several hours in our town crammed with unannounced quick visits to relatives and friends. In the list, Bong and his elder sister, Talama (Kingan) who was my classmate and barkada were always included. I was happy to learn about his settling down and small business. And, I thought, that was it….that he would just be some sort of a businessman, but I was wrong.

 

We met again after more than ten years, but that time, it was at Ayala Avenue during a rush hour as it was a little past five in the afternoon. He excitedly told me about our friends and his forthcoming job. Much as I would like us to have a better place for our conversation, he insisted that we visit Ephraim Collado, his barkada, who was temporarily staying at a nearby place in Makati. After that visit, we exchanged contact numbers. And, when I called him up months later, I found the number to be that of DILG’s but surprised when told that he was in Bilibid. I got panicky because I thought he was detained, until the lady who answered the phone told me that he was “on duty”. The next time I called, I finally talked to him but he was in a hurry so he gave me his address in Muntinlupa. Our quickie phone conversation made me realize that he was with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) of the DILG. I failed to visit him due to my hectic schedule.

 

It was Talama who told me more about his job as a warden at Bilibid when I visited her at her office in the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Tacurong. The next time I learned about the job of Bong was when I read about the news on his exposition of a certain scandal in Bilibid. It was a one-of-a-kind revelation because Bilibid was never thought to be immersed in any scandal as it is a correctional institution, hence, “clean” and free from corruption.

 

I had an opportunity to talk to him through his cellphone while he was already staying in undisclosed places for security reason. What I could not forget was when he told me, “sayang, Pol (the Makilalas call me Pol)….damo pa tani ako sang isiling pero tagilid na ako….bahala na sila sa statements ko…” (…I am disappointed, Pol…I could have revealed more…but I am now in an awkward position….it is up to them on what to do with my statements…) I advised him to pack his things and leave his thankless job, and help his wife back home to develop their business. I also told him to call me anytime, as I was just around and ready to help, but he did not. I contented myself in monitoring the progress of the investigation until the heat of excitement cooled off.

 

One day I got a surprise call from him during which he told me that he was under a protective custody and was about to change his number, so I told him to call me soonest as he got a new one. I told him not to text me as I wanted to hear his voice, to be sure that he was still be alive…I was serious when I told him that. Several years later, I was told that he was back to our place, but I failed to check if he had with him any security escort.

 

When I visited again our hometown, I dropped by his home in New Isabela and glad that I did because I found out that their bedridden mother with whom I was close, was under his care. He had no “security”, so I asked what happened to the “protective custody”, to which he just gave me assurance that he was safe. We had a lengthy talk in their small gazebo over cups of coffee and before I left he showed me his collection of decorative and medicinal plants, so I kidded him to go into herbal medicine business instead of going back to BuCor. He and his wife urged me to always drop by every time I was in town, and they gave me as a foremost reason, their mother who was with them. That was several years ago before Duterte was elected as president.

 

Late afternoon of February 4 2017, Bogz Jamorabon texted me about Bong’s assassination as he got wind of it from a TV news broadcast. I was shocked…first, because I did not expect him to go back to BuCor, and second, because even if he did, I assumed he was safe, with president Duterte as the new president. That evening, I realized that those who wanted to finish him off must have known that he still got plenty of anomalous information about the Bilibid that could eventually pin down de Lima who was then, the Secretary of Justice. I could not sleep that evening as our last phone conversation before he went into protective custody kept creeping into my mind.

 

With the passing of Bong, I am resolved not to be overcome with hate, but rather, pity to those who want to silence him forever. I pity them because for a pittance, they allowed themselves to be used in hindering what could have been the flow of good intention from a guy who just wanted to help his fellowmen.

 

But, for Bong…he may have fallen, but his ideals will never be forgotten. I am proud of him and so are his friends and family, our school, Notre Dame, for having been part of his growing up with great values oozing out of his person. Unfortunately, his unwavering trust in the new administration pushed him off the cliff…

makilala-1

 

 

 

Walang Patawad and Curruption sa Pilipinas…pati sa kulungan ay talamak

Walang Patawad ang Corruption sa Pilipinas
…pati sa kulungan ay talamak!
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Sa Pilipinas lang nangyayari na ang corruption ay talamak din mismong sa loob ng bilangguan at sa pambansang piitan pa! Talagang masama magkaroon ng halimbawa, na parang wala lang kung ipamayagpag. Dahil mismong mga nakakataas na hantarang bistado na ay nakikipaglaban pa sa kanilang pagka-inosente, naisipan na rin ng mga nasa mababang hanay na gumaya!

Ang mismong Presidente ng Pilipinas ay may bahid na ng corruption batay na rin sa mga sinasabi ng Supreme Court, at damay din ang ilan niyang kalihim. Sinundan ng mga senador na bawa’t isa ay may dapat ipaliwanag na kwestiyonableng transaksyon gamit ang kani-kanilang pork barrel fund. Sumunod ay ang mga nasa Kongreso na nilahat na rin dahil pa rin sa pork barrel. Sa ilalim nila, ay may mga lokal na opisyal na hindi nagpatalo sa pangurakot, pati na ang maliliit na mga kagawaran.

Kaya pati ang hindi inaasahang pambansang piitan ay binubulok na rin ng corruption! Ang institusyong ito ang dapat magpapatino sa mga nagkasala sa lipunan subalit mismong sa loob nito ay may nangyayari palang katiwalian! Nang magsalita ang mga dating opisyal ng Bureau of Corrections ay nalamang matagal na raw palang nangyayari ang corruption sa piitan kaya gumawa sila noon ng mga hakbang at nagbigay ng mga suhestiyon, subalit kahit kapiranggot na suporta ay wala silang nakuha sa mga nakatataas sa kanila. Nagkatanggalan na lang ng mga namumuno dito ay wala pa ring nangyari na umabot pa sa puntong pati drug laboratory daw ay meron na rin ang pambansang piitan. Lumakas kasi ang loob ng mga sangkot na bilanggo, kaya tuloy lang ang ligaya para sa kanila!

Kung may raid mang ginawa kaya nabisto ang mga hi-tech at maluluhong tirahan ng mga bigtime drug lords sa maximum security compound, hanggang kaylan mapapanatili ang ganitong pagmamanman upang tuluyang maayos ang mga kalakaran? Baka ningas-kugon na naman!

The Philippine Justice System, Lawyers, and General State of Rehabilitationn Facilities

The Philippine Justice System, Lawyers

and General State of Rehabilitation Facilities

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

A crucial change in the life of a man may be caused by being at the right place at the right time or by having guts to face odds rejected by others. For the lawyer in particular, these are what he needs to prosper with his profession. Too much risk is involved with the thought, “now or never”, that serves as the force that pushes the desirous lawyer towards his ambition to be recognized.

“Sensation” is the keyword for the success of a lawyer. This is the reason why, a lawyer always aspires to handle a case that hugs the limelight, never mind if it seems a losing one due to glaring evidences against the client. The more controversial the case is, the better for the lawyer, because he will benefit from the attention that his client will get.

As dictated by the law books, no person is guilty unless proven beyond doubt. This is the reason why the eyes of the Lady Justice are covered because before the court, both victim and the aggressor are equal, and each side should present convincing evidences to win the case. Woe then, to the innocent client who can only afford an inexperienced lawyer with limited references. On the other hand, the obviously guilty party easily avoids conviction with the help of well-paid “expert” and “seasoned” lawyers.

Philippine prisons are filled to the rafters with erroneously convicted victims of injustice due to their inability to get the right lawyer to defend them, and worse, inability to get one due to their poverty. Despite this glaring defect in the justice system of the Philippines that contributes to the bursting of rehabilitation facilities, the national government remained inept…reacting only when scandals erupt, such as the affluent lifestyle of convicts at the maximum security section of the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa which has become an embarrassing national issue.

The rest of rehabilitation facilities, except for penal farms, are in the same situation. Practically all of them suffer from want of decent sanitation facilities. Inmates take turns in sleeping on the floor, while the rest remain on their feet for the rest of the night. Diseases add to the miseries of the inmates, with some, not yet convicted. And the food rations are far from decent.

Rich inmates buy their comfort by bribing corrupt jail guards and officers. Drug trafficking is still operated by drug lords from the maximum security section of the national penitentiary, and prostitution proliferates with the blessing of the paid jail guards. It is only in the Philippines where one can find detention cells inside maximum security section yet, of the national penitentiary, furnished akin to a richy home, complete with spa, jacuzzi, home theater, and aircon units.

When Kabungsuan Makilala, a jail guard of the Bureau of Correction, exposed the anomalies inside the national penitentiary, nothing came out of information extracted from him. A minor change in guards was implemented to show that something is being done. Afterwards there was a deafening lull within the Department of Justice.

It was only when a committee of Congress charged with the programs for the country’s rehabilitation facilities exposed their shock on the state of the national penitentiary, did the Department of Justice (DOJ) again made noise, most especially, because the modernization budget of the facilities is at stake. When the Senate stepped into the picture, the DOJ showed its most convincing move by launching “surprise” inspections, but without de Lima having made threats against the NBP officials on TV, thereby, broadcasting their moves!

Finally, despite the scandalous discoveries made lately, the DOJ statements as regards its plans to rid the country’s rehabilitation facilities of corrupt officials and lower ranking employees are still wanting of sting. With the budget for the modernization of the country’s rehabilitation facilities already in the bag, one can’t help but expect many pockets to bulge.

NAKAKAHIYA!…Dahil sa Kapalpakann ng Bureau of Corrections, pinagtatawanan ng Buong Mundo ang Pilipinas

NAKAKAHIYA!…

Dahil sa Kapalpakan ng Bureau of Corrections

Pinagtatawanan ng Buong Mundo ang Pilipinas!

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Pinapalala lamang ng kasalukuyang Director ng Bureau of Corrections na si Franklin Bucayo ang palpak na katayuan ng nasabing kagawaran habang nagbibigay siya ng pahayag sa mga interview. Sa unang interview pa lamang sa kanya noon bilang reaksyon niya sa nadiskubre ng nag-inspeksiyon na mga senador ay puro pambobola na ang kanyang mga sinabi dahil siguro inaakala niyang bobo ang mga sumusubayby sa issue.

Sa pinakahuli niyang interview pagkatapos ng operation ng DOJ at PDEA sa National Bilibid Prison (15 December), ay “inaako” niya ang pangunguna sa nasabing operation, ganoong ito ay sa initiative ng DOJ. Kaya nga pumasok sa eksena ang DOJ at humingi na ng tulong sa PDEA ay dahil walang nagawa si Bucayo sa kabila ng kung ilang buwang palugit na ibinigay sa kanya. Wala nang ginawa si Bucayo ay nang-agaw pa ng credit!

Sa bibig ni Bucayo mismo ay lumabas ang impormasyon na nag-iinspeksiyon lamang siya kung may mga kaguluhang nangyayari. Ang isa pang dahilan kaya hindi niya regular na nai-inspection ang maximum security compound ay dahil sa lawak ng kulungan, at maraming pasikut-sikot kaya nakaliligaw. Wala siyang dahilan na hindi pag-ukulan ang pag-iinspeksyun dahil sa loob din naman siya ng compound nag-oopisina. Dahil sa mga sinabi niya, parang siyang isda na nahuli o nabingwit dahil sa bibig niya. Dahil sa pagmamagaling niya, hindi niya naisip na ipinagkanulo niya ang kapalpakan ng kanyang pamumuno!

Nakakatawa pa ang pagrerekomenda niya ng mga patakaran, ganoong ang mga ito ay siya niyang mga dapat ginawa o ginagawa bilang hepe ng kagawaran! Gusto niyang palabasin na may laman din pala ang isip niya subalit mali naman ang diskarte niya. Baka kaya siya nagrerekomenda ay gusto niyang si de Lima ang magpatupad ng mga ito!

Marami na siyang dapat ginawa mula pa noong unang araw pa lamang ng kanyang pagkatalaga na ang dahilan ay mismanagement din ng pinalitan niya. Dapat noon pa man ay gumawa na siya ng mga hakbang batay sa mga problemang pinaputok noon ni Kabungsuwan Makilala, subalit nagsayang siya ng panahon mula noong unang araw na pag-upo niya hanggang ngayon. Kung talagang may laman ang mga sinasabi niya sa mga interview, dapat nagpakita siya ng mga plano niya o mga rekomendasyon na nakasulat – in black and white, sa mga reporter! Hindi yong salita siya ng salita ng harap pa mismo ng kamera kaya nagmumukha siyang katawa-tawa. Kung naka-black and white ang mga sinasabi, hindi masasabi ng mga tao na wala siyang ginawa, sa halip ay susuportahan pa siya dahil hindi pinansin ang kanyang mga isinumite kung kanino man…subalit talagang hanggang salita lang siya. At, lalo sanang hindi siya masisisi ngayon.

Maaalala na noong pumutok naman ang isyu tungkol sa paglabas-labas ni Leviste sa kanyang kulungan ay pumunta pa si Miriam Santiago sa NBP at ang unang hinanap ay ang “operating manual” subalit wala silang nailabas na updated. Ibig sabihin hanggang ngayon ang mga security measures nila ay outdated! At sila ay nag-ooperate lamang sa mga paisa-isang memo na iniisyu kung kinakailangan. Dapat ang puntong yon ang pinagtuunan ng pansin ng bagong Director dahil ang mga patakaran ang siyang gagabay sa kanya sa pagpapatakbo ng national penitentiary.

Ang planong modernisasyon ng NBP ay noon pa pinag-uusapan, maraming taon na ang nakalilipas at may napirmahan na ngang batas para dito at anumang oras ay maglalabas na ng budget, kaya hindi dapat akuin na naman ni Bucayo. Kasama sa modenisasyon ang pagtataas ng sweldo ng mga kawani at pagpatayo ng mas malaking national penitentiary. Ang mga ito ang binabanggit ni Bucayo na “sana” daw ay mangyari. Ang hirap sa kanya, papasok sa isyung ito na tapos na, at wala pa siyang kinalaman. Kaya ang mga inaasta niya ay malinaw na nagpapakita ng kawalan niya ng kaalaman sa pagpapatakbo ng isang kagawaran. At dapat lang na LAHAT mga kasalukuyang kawani lalo na ang mga namumuno ay hindi makinabang sa mga benepisyo na ibibigay ng bagong batas para sa modenisasyon ng NBP.

Ang dapat kay Bucayo ay patawan ng kasong administratibo dahil sa kapabayaan, batay sa prinsipyo ng “command responsibility”. Isa si Bucayo sa mga patunay na hindi lahat ng mga retired general ay maaasahan sa pagpapatakbo ng mga ahensiya na nangangailangan ng bruskong namumuno….dapat ay may talino rin. Ang lahat ng mga nakatalaga sa NBP ay dapat tanggalin at suspindihen habang may imbistigasyong ginagawa. Maaari silang palitan pansamantala ng mga military police upang mawala ang “familiarity” sa mga nakakulong.

Dahil sa mga nakakahiyang anomalya na kinasasangkutan ng Bureau of Corrections, napatunayan na hindi epektibo ang mga retiradong opisyal ng military o police sa pagpapatakbo nito. Ang mga detinado sa NBP ay mga taong napariwara ang buhay, nagkasala sa lipunan, hindi nakipag-away sa giyera. Kaya sila ipinasok sa kulungan ay upang mabigyan ng isa pang pagkakataon upang magbago at sa paglabas nila ay maging kapaki-pakinabang na mamamayan ng bansa.

 

Ang kailangang mamumuno sa Bureau of Corrections ay may alam sa “office management” upang makagawa ng mga alituntuning maayos at pang-sibilyan, at lalong dapat ay may alam din sa sikolohiya o psychology. Ang mga kulungan ay hindi military camps kaya dapat itigil na ng mga presidente ng Pilipinas ang pagtalaga ng mga retired generals ng military o police para sa pamunuan nito. Dapat ang mga italagang mamumuno ay mga taong nakakaunawa sa mga taong ang takbo ng isip ay dapat maibalik sa katinuan upang maging kapaki-pakinabang na mamamayan.

 

Dapat ituring na leksiyon ang anomalya sa national penitentiary at ang parusa sa mga nagkamali ay dapat mabigat upang maging babala sa ibang mga empleyado ng gobyerno na korap at pabaya sa pagpapatupad ng kanilang tungkulin!

Ang Bureau of Corrections at Department of Justice

Ang Bureau of Corrections (BuCor)

At Department of Justice (DOJ)

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Alam na pala ng Department of Justice (DOJ) na may laboratory ng droga sa national penitentiary o “Munti”, bakit ngayon lang sila nagdadakdak?… at todo warning pa si Dilema na kilala na daw niya ang mga drug lords! Dapat pala siyang kasuhan ng administratibo dahil sa hindi niya pagpapatupad ng kanyang mga responsibilidad, kaya dapat noon pa ay may ginawa na siya! Marami siyang nasasabi kung sa harap ng kamera at kung iniinterbyu pero walang nagagawa kung wala na ang mga ito. Pinaghahanda lang niya ang mga drug lords upang gumawa ng counter moves, tuwing siya ay magbrodkast. Marami tuloy ang nagtatanong kung kapanalig ba siya ng batas o ng mga drug lords!

Mula noong may pinaputok na ang whistle blower na si Kabungsuwan Makilala, wala nang narinig mula sa DOJ. Kung hindi pa nag-inspeksiyon ang Senado tungkol sa tunay na kalagayan ng Bureau of Corrections, hindi pa nataranta uli ang DOJ sa pagkilos kuno, sabay ng kaliwa’t kanang pa-interview, para lang masabing may ginagawa sila. Hihingi pa raw ng tulong sa iba pang ahensiya ng gobyerno dahil hindi nila kayang matunton ang laboratory sa loob ng “Munti”. Kung hindi ba naman hung….ang! Ilang linggo na ang sinayang ni de Lima mula nang magpaistaring siya sa mga interview. Siguradong ni isang kapiranggot na gamit ay wala nang mahahagilap dahil pinagtatago na o inalabas na sa compound. Hindi magiging drug lords ang mga walang konsiyensang nakadetene sa “Munti” kung bobo sila, kaya nakokontrol nila ang mga gwardiya at opisyal!

May sinabi ang dating Director ng Bureau of Correction na si Santiago, na ang pinatapon daw niya noong drug lord sa isang malayong “kolonya” o penal colony ay nakabalik! Ang tanong ay kung saan nanggagaling ang authority sa mga ganitong desisyon? Hindi ba DOJ? Malamang sa malamang, malawak ang saklaw ng “intelliegence network” ng mga drug lords sa loob ng “Munti” na may koneksiyon pa rin sa mga kaalyado nila sa labas. Kasama sa network na ito ang mga tauhan ng Bureau of Corrections at DOJ dahil kaya nilang magbayad ng malaki, kaya lahat ng kilos ng mga matitinong tauhan ng mga ahensiyang ito ay nalalaman at naititimbri agad. Saan naman napunta ang intelligence fund ng DOJ? Ang bagong Director ng BuCor na si Bucayo ay walang nagawa kahit alam pala niya ang mga nangyayari, kaya dapat magresayn na siya.

Ngayon, hindi nakakapagtataka kung bakit tuwing may ma-raid na drug laboratories saan man sa Pilipinas ay walang nahuhuling may-ari. Kung hindi kasi natimbrihan agad ng mga kakutsaba sa loob ng mga ahensiya ng gobyerno kaya nakatakas, ang iba pala ay nasa loob na ng “Munti”!