Prison survival tips for GloriaBy Rene Ciria-Cruz
“Christmas in Jail for Arroyos Seen”—INQUIRER.net headline
SAN FRANCISCO—Oh, boy. While they must be deemed innocent until yadda, yadda, it doesn’t look good for former President Gloria Arroyo and her husband Mike. Both may be in the slammer by Christmas for allegedly committing massive election fraud in 2004 and 2007.
But Gloria is strong; she’ll do okay, perhaps even thrive in prison. Nonetheless, here are useful survival tips for her (and Mike as well) in case she does end up in the can. These are tested techniques that have long worked for convicted murderers and felons:
Assume that you are being listened to at all times. Most holding cells are bugged, and prison phones could be too. So, if Garci calls, just say a simple “Hi.” Remember, they had you at “Hello.”
Whatever you do, don’t get tattooed. You may not be able to get a job later in life. Also, you may be tempted to join a gang for security. Try not to be openly identified with any–like HGL (Happy Go Lucky Gang), BnG (Bahala Na) or BSL (Batang Samar Leyte). Ask if they accept secret members, or secret funding.
Be respectful and polite to guards and other prisoners. Do not say “Oy! Oy!” or order them around. Never give them a glacial stare. They’re not as diplomatic as U.S. embassy officials who ask about election cheating. And giving somebody the finger isn’t considered polite even in prison, so don’t if you can help it.
A shiv will be indispensable. It’s an improvised stabbing implement. Every convict has one, in case of riots, gang warfare, or just any prison fight. Your bodyguards won’t be imprisoned with you, so always take your shiv with you to the shower. To make a shiv: Before entering prison, hide a long nail flat in the heel of your shoe. After sharpening it on your cell pavement, hide it in a bar of soap, or under your slipper, or in your underwear’s waistband.
Do not talk about your case–or in your case, cases–with anyone. Your cellmate or anybody could later testify against you to get time off–like that turncoat Zaldy Ampatuan. Pretend everything’s cool with him. When you take out a contract, be really discreet. The people on Death Row may be able to help with finding pros for the job.
Workout regularly so you can bulk up. Big biceps and ripped torsos can scare away cons that may want to intimidate or enslave you or make you their “bitch.” This applies to Mike also. Do not gamble, even for cigarettes. You can make enemies if you win, or fall into debt if you lose. In which case, you could end up as somebody’s bitch. If you can’t avoid gambling, learn how to cheat. But that’s nothing new. So no sweat.
You can also be somebody’s bitch if you seek protection from someone stronger. This is risky. You can be lost in a bet or be used as payment for a debt, cigarettes, porn magazines, etc. and get passed around as everybody’s bitch. (Warning to Mike: They like plump inside.)
If you want to become a bosyo or trustee, be more sophisticated in rigging the vote. Don’t tape anything or keep any written records. A misstep could be fatal. A safer alternative is to see if the warden was your political appointee. That will help a lot. If you can’t set up a Gloria Support Committee outside, have the manicurist you appointed to the Pag-IBIG Housing Fund start a letter-writing drive to the warden supporting your appointment. Actually, your favorite bishops would be better campaigners—they have more moral authority. Once a bosyo, you can boss around offending prisoners by spitting out lines like, “What we have heah is th’ failyuh ta communicate!”
Learn how to write really teeny-tiny letters to loved ones in teeny-tiny pieces of paper or cigarette palara, which you will fold to one-inch size and smuggle outside to communicate with your bagmen. Learn how to write on the wall with your fingernail in the dark. You’ll need that to pass the time and keep your sanity in solitary, should you be unlucky enough to end up in the tank for giving the guard a glacial stare.
Again to maintain sanity, enrich your cultural life while inside. Join the dancing prisoners team. You could be a hit on YouTube. To fight boredom, train a mouse or a cockroach to do tricks. Or you could start taking care of bird nestlings and gain new fame as the Birdwoman of Bilibid.
Ask a relative to bake you a cake with a file or a length of hacksaw blade inside, in case you want to break out later. You’ll need to arrange for a helicopter to spirit you out of the prison yard. A used chopper will do. It doesn’t have to be brand-new. Also, see if the gardener you appointed as deputy to the Luneta Park administration can dig you a tunnel from the outside. You can also ask Jose Pidal’s E.C. de Luna Construction to do that if necessary.
Being in prison is like being in a jungle full of predators. It’s always better not to commit a crime so you can avoid imprisonment. In your case, however, it may already be too late. So here’s an original poem I wrote to cheer you up in advance of the holidays:
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the House
Not a solon was stirring, not even a louse.
Ate Glo was handcuffed by the bailiff with care,
In hopes that the warden soon would be there.
The First Couple waited all snug and well fed,
While visions of escape routes danced in their heads.
Then she smirked glacially with Mike on her lap,
Adding up the years in that long sheet of rap.
Five for election rigging, ten years for graft,
Ten and twenty more for who knows what.
But weep not, dear couple, time goes like a flash,
When you get out, you’ll still have plenty of cash.
Ho. Ho. Ho.
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