For good behavior and for not escaping during Yolanda’s onslaught
ABUYOG, Leyte- Aware of the strong anti-drug war campaign being waged by the administration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, Victor Lagman promised to “never touch shabu,” a methamphetamine commonly used by illegal drug users in the country.
After all, the 58- year old from Manila has just been released from the penal colony, based in Barangay Cagbolo, this town, along with 233 other inmates.
Lagman was incarcerated for nine years at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa until he was transferred at the Abuyog Penal Colony six years ago for illegal drug pushing.
“I’m done with it. I was given another chance to live like a normal human being. All I want now is to be with my family and my grandchildren and perhaps, try a small business,” he said.
“I don’t want to return here. I feel alone here. But now, I feel happy that I am to be released from prison,” Lagman, who was to serve his sentence until 2020, said.
No member of his family was present during a simple ceremony held at the compound of the penal colony-home to 1,993 inmates- but said he would immediately take the first transit bus available on that day to return to Manila.
He was given P1,500 for him to use on his return to home.
The 234 prisoners, or called as persons deprived with their liberty by the United Nations, were given their release paper on Friday by no less than Bureau of Corrections Director General Benjamin de los Santos.
They were released on grounds of good behavior or good time credit and for not attempting to escape when the facility was damaged when super typhoon “Yolanda” pummeled Leyte on November 8, 2013.
Penal chief, Supt. Gerardo Aro, said that the release of the prisoners could help decongest the facility.
“This will address decongestion. The ideal capacity of the facility is just 800 but as of today, we have close to 2,000 inmates,” Aro said.
De los Santos, in his message to the inmates, including those who were released, issued an appeal to them not to engage in the illegal drugs trade being waged by the current administration.
“So behave boys so you will not return here,” he said.
The BuCor chief said that despite of the intensified campaign by the government, illegal drug still finds their way in jail facilities across the country.
And this activity, de los Santos said, has to stop.
The controversial, if not brutal, drug war being waged by the Duterte administration is being heavily criticized by human rights groups, both local and abroad, as well as by foreign nations and organizations like the United Nations. (JOEY A. GABIETA)