• Prison tales and contractualization


    It seems every time I go to the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa, I would need to deal with a different procedure.

    Two Saturdays ago, I was there to check on an inmate whose motion for reconsideration of his conviction was granted a month earlier by the Marikina Regional Trial Court. My Junior, handling lawyer, told me about it; since I had a human-rights class in San Beda Law Alabang, I said to myself, why not visit the client? Held on another charge?
    Which I did and the prisoner assured me he had no other case.

    To remain in Munti more than a month longer than legally justified is torment beyond compare. Friday of last week, my son texted that the client had finally been released the night before. There should have been better coordination.

    The other day I was with a Munti “alumnus” to visit another detainee held for the last 16 years and has two kids in Beijing with their Pinay mother.

    Family desperate to reconnect. But, I am told, PNoy has not granted any pardon (?). His father, Benigno, Jr. and Lolo, Benigno, Sr., had benefited from the benign responses of the authorities.

    A tricycle I had to take, the other day, which I had not done for decades. If a trike must do it, I can just walk, I think (but I do take the dyipni, very occasionally, and cabs, very, very often – at least thrice a week).

    Where the prisoner was, was a huge place, with the high ceiling badly deteriorated. Good there was wind in this long hot summer.

    I could not help but notice an old man sitting down on his bed and had to be helped just to lie down.

    More than one wheelchair I saw. Such prisoners should be sent home.

    I credit GMA for her enlightened Memo Circular 155 of 2004 for a review of the records of septuagenarians in the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong. (The City has more than one interesting institution; sanity tests for candidates? – I think insanity is required of one wanting to run for Prez here; like insanity, it is said, is required for marriage, ha, ha). Many women benefited from GMA’s compassionate MC 155, aimed at granting executive clemency.
    Jail overcrowding is plain.

    I was a QC Batang City Jail candidate-member in early 1983, when I was jailed for calling Macoy a “super-subversive.” When I first visited Hubert Webb in the old Parañaque City Jail in Aug. 1995, his cell stank. No ventilation. He had to share a narrow bench with another inmate, to sleep. Moved to Munti after conviction, he had a larger cage in which to roam. On Dec. 10, 2010, the firm of Mario Ongkiko (gone) and Demy Custodio finally was vindicated by the Supreme Court. But, there is no restoring Hubert’s lost 15 years-plus.
    No candidate seems to talk about prison reform, not a hot-button issue.

    Anyway, the Muntinlupa penitentiary is huuuuge.

    We may have the only bicam legislature where one chamber is in Manila while the other is in Quezon City. If the penitentiary is moved finally to Nueva Ecija (my candidate is Tanay, nearer) maybe we can have the House and Senate moved to Munti (my
    other candidate is the Bataan nuke plant; think meltdown). Saves time, after conviction. As they say, a term in Congress, another in jail.

    Munti conditions remain obscene. (Better conditions in kubols rich prisoners construct should not be destroyed but should be used by the septuagenarians and those about to be released with good conduct records.) Like Digong Duterte’s obscene language, which the young may emulate. A PDI reader lamented the other morning in a letter to the editor that Digong says he is not a coño (conyo) kid. “Di naman ako anak ng coño,” to announce his proletarian origins. Does Digong know what coño means?

    I was a decade ahead of him in San Beda when Spanish was widely used. Coño is associated with the female genitalia and should be used sparingly and only privately.

    Digong shot a classmate (Octavio Goco) in San Beda, with evident premeditation, but was allowed to graduate anyway in 1972, when I, as Prefect, was virtually running the law school (Dean Ledesma was busy in the ConCon). My vote, I was reminded by a lawyer close to Digong, was for something severe, but I was outvoted.

    Erap got into a fistfight and Ateneo expelled him.

    Proportionality is a factor in imposing penalty. Shooting is far from mano-a-mano. Skinner said we get more of the misconduct we don’t punish.

    Digong is now alleged to have hundreds of millions in a bank. Ideally, the response should have been, “not true and here’s a waiver.”

    More below.

    Obscenity we claim to not like. What it is, is not easy to define, so much so that Justice Potter Stewart said in despair, “I may not be able to define it but I know it when I see it.”

    Children listen and should be spared from statements not in accord with Good Manners and Right Conduct, which I had in Makati Elementary School.

    The last presidential debate suggested that “contractualization” is obscene. The dilemma cannot be resolved in a vacuum. The market principle and the law of supply and demand cannot be ignored nor the widening gap between the employed and the countless desperate unemployed.

    Digong has just been “exposed” by Sonny Trillanes as purportedly having hundreds of millions in a bank not reported in his SALN, which omission rendered Chief Justice Corona jobless. Obscene sum?

    Birthday gifts? Illegal under P.D. 46 and R.A. No. 6713?

    I would have preferred Digong saying “not true and here’s a waiver of bank secrecy; if true, surprise, why, we can split it.”

    The reaction – general denial, assailing motives – has been unsatisfying, from where I sit. Even disingenuous.

    Might his kin(?), Ombudsman Chit Carpio-Morales, be interested? As in the obscene post-midnight elevation to CJ of Rene, which the People nullified, thru impeachment? Or might she have to recuse herself?

    Sonny was a courageous and principled coup plotter who won while in jail where he planned his Senate bid in 2007. We would meet in the Oakwood trial (where lawyers Abby Binay and Rebo, Jr. assisted me; RC Constantino was often in the audience) and he asked for advice.

    If Sonny had done his homework, Prez Digong may be impeached within the year and Veep Leni Robredo takes over. Also, should he really step down if he is not able to solve in a few months certain permanent problems of the human race?

    There is Providence in the fall of a Sparrow? Or morir antes de dimitir? (Die before resigning.) Pilipins nga pala, ‘di Japan.


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    1. Setting the predicate in impeaching Digong for Leni to succeed! Sounds familiar huh! The hypocrites are alive and back! NEVER NEVER AGAIN!!!

    2. “Might his kin(?), Ombudsman Chit Carpio-Morales, be interested? As in the obscene post-midnight elevation to CJ of Rene, which the People nullified, thru impeachment? Or might she have to recuse herself?”

      Is Digong related to the Ombudsman?

    3. A computerized senator trying to write like JV Cruz – but with literary chutzpah the “masa” can not understand?

    4. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      28 April 2016

      Now that former Senator and still “abogado de campanilla” Rene Saguisag has visited the National Penitentiary and described conditions there, perhaps he is in a good position to tell the Filipino people when probably GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, JUAN PONCE ENRILE, JINGGOY ESTRADA, BONG REVILLA, ET AL [those who have been charged with the non-bailable crime of Plunder, which entails a sentence of RECLUSION PERPETUA,] will finally see the insides of it.

      Their cases have obviously not moved a bit in a judiciary which is not world-famous for dispensing speedy and equal justice.

      It is galling that Juan Ponce Enrile has been allowed to post bail for–for heaven’s sake!–for “humanitarian reasons” by a Supreme Court that clearly has committed a grave act of abuse of discretion because that is not a valid constitutional ground [in my humble opinion] for granting his bail. Is this not “legislating from the bench?”

      As if to mock the Supreme Court, right after he got freed on bail, Juan Ponce Enrile declared proudly to the whole world that he would go back to work. As what? As the Minority Leader of the Senate–and that’s where this supposedly weak, sickly, non-ambulatory 92-year-old man is right now.

      Call that “justice?” Are there no “holy cows” in Rene Saguisag’s country where he is one prominent champion of the Law and of Justice?