Inmates split on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla detention in regular prison
MANILA, Philippines—A potentially violent split has emerged among maximum security inmates at New Bilibid Prison over the possible arrival of three senators charged with plunder.
Tension arose among inmates with clashing views over Senator Miriam Santiago’s suggestion that indicted solons Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr. be detained with “regular prisoners,” instead of in an air-conditioned hospital or a military brig.
“Here we go again,” lamented New Bilibid press officer Suzy Candado. “We just brokered a peace deal between the Sigue-Sique Sputnik and the Batang City Jail after a fatal gang fight, and now this,” she said, throwing up her arms.
One faction of inmates strongly supports the detention of the senators in the Muntinlupa prison.
“We welcome them here po with open arms,” said Bert Olina, bosyo of the “pro faction.” He explained that even though society believes maximum security life termers like them are beyond redemption, they admire the senators’ values.
“We look up to them as role models,” said Olina a criminology dropout who is in prison for double murder, kidnapping and fraud. “They can show us the right path. In fact, there is a waiting list for workshops that we hope the three senators will hold when they come here,” he said proudly.
Olina said his colleagues already have a lot of experience in robbery, kidnapping for ransom, homicide and various street crimes.
“We hope the senators will share their talents so we can move on from our dead-end skills to respectable white collar crimes – like public administration,” Olina stated.
“Para po naman merong upward mobility kami,” he added.
A faction of “born-again” inmates, however, vehemently opposes Olina’s position on moral grounds.
“No way, Jose,” said Perpetuo Recluso, bosyo of the opposing “con” faction. “Worried po kami if those senators are mixed in with us. There may be a negative effect on our moral fiber.”
“Many of us here have found Jesus again, Praise the Lord,” explained Recluso, a newly ordained pastor who is in for aggravated mass murder.
“But some of my brothers na uhaw sa pag-ibig might suffer a relapse pag nakapiling sina Senator Pogi at Senator Kap in our very crowded quarters. Good-looking kasi naman talaga sila, eh.”
But Recluso is most worried about Sen. Enrile’s arrival.
“It’s because of what Ma’am Cristina told Mareng Winnie on TV — that he had as many as 38 affairs but it was not his fault. It’s the women who throw themselves at him. Quote, unquote.”
“Paano po yan, if 38 women visit the senator here and start throwing themselves at him? Can you imagine the effect sa mga deprived naming kasamahan dito? Riot.”
Some inmates who make a little money in the black market for banned items, skimming from the cellblock kitty, running micro-jueteng, five-six lending and other rackets on the side also fear the senators’ coming.
“Sir, with big operators like Enrile, Revilla and Estrada here papaano na kaming small-time lang? Unfair competition, di ba?” objected an inmate who didn’t want to be identified.
Prison officials say they are prepared to go on lock down and issue crowd control gear to guards if judicial authorities decide to send the senators to new New Bilibid instead of putting them under resthouse arrest.
Meanwhile, prisoners in the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center appear to have no objections to the senators being sent to join them.
During a break in their mass dance rehearsal, choreographer Mac Irena, who is serving time for a crime of passion, told Outtakes they have only a modest requirement.
“No problem for us po, sir, as long as they can bust a move,” he chirped.
“Okey boys, break is over! One more time—twerk it, ah-slide, uh-huh, ah-twerk, uh-huh!”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.