by Heidi M. Pascual
Caught between hard choices: Imprisonment or freedom under probation

Editor’s Note: This story revolves around a drug addict in my hometown who has been released from prison middle of last year, how he’s behaving while waiting for
approval of his application for probation, how our community is dealing with him, and what our local Parole and Probation Authority is doing to fulfill its functions.

Peter’s Story
Peter is a good-looking man, medium built, armed with an engaging smile and eyes that “speak” to anyone he wants to be with. At 35, he has had several women --
decent and pretty professionals, hardworking employees, as well as flirty, ill-repute girls (for fun). Peter boasts of having five children with five different women, all
of whom are being taken care of by their respective relatives, all mother-side. He doesn’t have any of his children with him because Peter has not been employed
for years, and he could not, or would not, take a job he considers “unfit” for his good looks.

Neighbors have known Peter, not only as a womanizer and gold-digger, but a foul-mouthed addict who has absolutely no respect for anybody, including his mother
and younger brother, both of whom have experienced mental, emotional, and physical abuse from Peter. A neighbor and relative mustered enough courage to report
Peter’s drug use to authorities which put Peter to prison, but only for two months. His mother, despite her sufferings, did all she can to plea for Peter’s release as an
OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker). The truth, however, was that her son hated work and wasn’t planning to go back to the Middle East where he worked for only two

After only two months in prison, Peter was released, with no known charges ever filed against him. We can only guess that a mother’s love can move mountains,
even considering Duterte’s war on drugs. It was 2018.

Out from jail and free again, Peter got himself a new girlfriend -- his eighth -- wealthy enough to buy him a motorcycle and provide for his basic needs and more.
Peter met most of his girlfriends from local dating sites, and to his credit, Peter can easily get a girlfriend with lots of means. He repeatedly refused serious work, or
if he ever did, the longest time spent in one job was one week.Why work when there were women willing to support him financially? Because he had the money,
Peter slowly went back to his true love and passion -- drugs, and the cycle began again. The fun stopped when the woman finally realized Peter never loved her in
the first place but what she was giving him to support his vice. As expected, Peter sold his motorcycle, continued with drugs, pawned many of his mother’s
personal property, and got himself part-time girlfriends or prostitutes to keep his nights cozy and warm.

Peter’s mother, uncle (his mother’s 70-year old brother [a widower] with no child) and 15-year old brother David lived in the family’s ancestral home, while Peter
(and whoever he was with at the moment) lived in a bungalow beside the ancestral home, which was constructed years before his dad died. His late grandparents --
mother’s side -- left her mother some rental properties from which his mother and brother got their needs. Peter’s uncle, Ramon, subsisted from his Social Security
pension as well as some inherited riceland located nearby. The old man kept to himself and avoided any confrontation with Peter. He said he wanted peace in his
old age and was unwilling to face anyone that’s high on drugs as his physical condition wouldn’t permit doing so, Besides, Peter wasn’t part of his household;
therefore, Ramon felt it wasn’t his concern to to be involved in Peter’s life unless extremely necessary.

A year passed without any productive change in Peter’s life. Peter was unable to keep a decent job and became more addicted to drugs. His mother suffered more
for her son’s abusive behavior whenever Peter came into the ancestral home. He even forced her to give him her cellphone, as well as some small appliances to
be pawned or sold. Peter’s excuse was, he got nothing to eat.

Ramon, the uncle would only clench his fist and grit his teeth as he walked away often to avoid any untoward incident between him and Peter. Ramon suffered in
silence each time he saw his sister crying because of her drug-addicted son.
A Story on Probation in the Philippines: Part 2
But as the saying goes, “There’s a limit to everything.” One day, Peter
came into the ancestral home, obviously high on drugs, and dragged his
mother shouting obscenities as if bereft of recognition of anyone in his
sight. Peter was forcing his mother to give him money, and when the old
woman was unable to give him any, Peter grabbed her hair and was
about to kick her as she fell on the floor. At this moment, Ramon could
no longer continue to close his eyes and tolerate Peter’s demonic
presence. Ramon had to rescue his sister from evil, regardless of what
would happen to him. An old, fragile man of 70 versus a 35-year old well-
built, drug addict in combat seemed senseless! Ramon was not young
anymore, too old to fight with his hands, and he was facing someone
with no sense of physical hurt because of drugs. But he knew he had to
do something to save his sister from physical harm. He grabbed himself
a narrow piece of wood 2 feett long and shouted at Peter to stop what he
was doing to his mother or else … The drug addict grinned and laughed
out loud then cursed at his uncle. Before Ramon could even swing his
wood, Peter hit Ramon’s face with his clenched fist that bled Ramon’s
right eyebrow. The old man grimaced in pain and tried to hit back with
his wood, but Peter was quick as he managed to wrestle with Ramon
and pinned the old man down to the floor. Peter tried to strangle his
uncle while his knees were on Ramon’s stomach, and as he did so,
Ramon thought he was dying. Peter’s mother had to save his brother so
she used the wood to hit Peter’s head repeatedly, freeing Ramon and
enabling the old man to crawl out of the room while Peter was struggling
to keep his balance.

Ramon and his sister ran to a neighbor’s house for safety and called the
police. When the policemen arrived, Peter was holding two kitchen
knives and shouting in front of the family’s ancestral home, “Ramon, get
out, I’ll kill you!”

Peter was jailed the second time. Unfortunately, there were no charges
filed against him. Ramon and his sister thought the police will handle the
situation for them. They learned later that Peter’s case was tagged as
another “drug-related” case, with Peter as a simple “user” and
therefore, victim of circumstances brought by drugs in his system.

Next issue: Peter’s release and thereafter.