I can honestly say that I don’t know Rolito Go’s story. Yes, I’ve heard the news before about him but I didn’t pay much attention. For me, it’s like he was just another criminal in the metro. And just recently, he is again in the headlines. Out of curiosity, I did some research about him.
From Inquirer News: It was 1991 when Rolito Go got directly involved in the most sensational road rage. Where he just got off from a fight with her girlfriend and while driving in an opposite direction in a one way street somewhere in San Juan area, he incidentally bumped to a teenager’s car who was on his way to buy pizza. Go got out of his car and shot the teenager in the head. He went missing and finally got himself surrendered on the 6th day. The next day, the teenager died.
I was surprised when I read this. The memories which I saw from the news came back to me. Oh yes! I remember now. After sentenced for 40 years in prison, he is, again, on top of the news now. Just recently, it was said that Go was kidnapped from the minimum security compound of the Bilibid Prison then abandoned in Batangas. Oh gosh! How could that be? Really? That’s the questions I got in my mind. It is also said that Go tried to escape and that he was not kidnapped. Another question is, why would Go do that? When he is about to be freed next year? And if he really escaped, why would he return to the authorities?? Hmm…
Then, I remember my experience when I visited the Bilibid Prison a few months ago. It is indeed the most if not one of the most controversial agencies in the country. However, being there for several times, I was able to witnessed the hardworks of the bureau to execute the much-needed reforms.
Managing the Bureau of Corrections is not easy. But Director Gaudencio Pangilinan was able to do it. The phrase is not an expression of exasperation; it is rather a discovery of a fact. It is not a wailing cry of desperation; but rather a confirmation of something never before accepted as a reality.
And why is it not easy to manage an agency despite all the rules, powers and authorities in its command arsenal? It is in the overall picture of its environment. Unlike plants, unlike animals, unlike any other governmental concern, managing the most dangerous sector of society – the so-called insular prisoners projects so much stress to the point that nothing is correct in the scale of administering fairly their community. It is neither hot nor cold; neither here nor there; neither good nor bad; neither proper nor improper. Either an officer is exceptionally a genius person or abnormally intelligent to justify the right way in managing the affairs of prison administration.
The Bureau of Corrections is one such agency one finds at the cross roads of a scandal.
If there is no news that could grab public attention, one can find something in prison worth jolting the hell out of stability. For sure there are numerous instances in the prison community that is worth a moment’s notice. If the mood is something that would require empathy for the down trodden, there are alleged cases to be slapped on prison officials. If the prevailing sentiment is against the offenders, there are incidents that could be divulged against prison denizens. In both instances, the prison administrator’s neck is usually on the line. This is where sensationalism comes, that is where the news item becomes a regular highlighted feature, something that sells the newsprint, something that is projected on television, something one follows up on radio. And the Bureau of Corrections, whether it is in its star to be exposed or not, is always there are as an exciting filling material.
Any administrator worth his salt would find this stark reality as soon as he gets into ground work. NO amount of work ethics can drive the prison community— officers included, into the tailspin of real committed work. Resistance is etched in every corner of the prison camp. Tradition is almost embossed in the granite walls of the community. To reform is like calling to arms as in war. Yet changes must be done. Several prison administrations have dedicated itself in the past only to be waylaid by indifference later. Result: the prison service remained static, recluse and worst, a benchmark for incompetence. And there lies the challenge. Change must occur, innovation must start somewhere. Corrections must regain its real meaning.
The process is not a walk in the park. It is, to borrow today’s lingo, complicated. Change demands sacrifice. While not all improvements result in change, all changes result in improvement. And the prison service is still undecided to fulfill change notwithstanding the enforcement of leadership. Attitude remains the biggest challenge and it must turn into a crusading spirit. It must be guided tour for real change, a clear direction to be reached.
And the first step is having a good grasp of where to go. That explains the significance of the BuCor roadmap. It has to be adopted, embraced, and totally appreciated from the heart.
As an ordinary citizen:
I completely agree with Director Gaudencio Pangilinan. His vision and his mission for BuCor is extra-ordinary. However with this fiasco, he opted to go on voluntary indefinite leave while the investigation for Rolito Go’s case is ongoing. I am not losing hope. Let’s face it, we cannot please everybody. Soon, after all the ongoing investigations, the truth will come out.