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Meeting the justice secretary up-close

02 June 2016

By Mario de los Reyes
(Second of two parts)

Just a lame excuse by our government to justify its blatant application of selective justice.
Looking back, the then Vice Consul Val Roque who was very sympathetic to our plight had exerted his utmost effort for the transfer to be implemented. However, his efforts were apparently ignored, spurned, and met with indifference by the powers that be.
His parting words before he left his post here were, “Hypothetically, the transfer should take place very soon.” He was basing his hypothesis on the presumption that the authorities in charge were committed to the task at hand. It is no wonder that the secretary was perplexed why no transfer had taken place, given the length of time the agreement had been in force.
We briefed the honorable secretary that we were well aware of the prevailing conditions in the jails back home, but that this did not deter us from asking to be transferred and be near our loved ones in a familiar environment, devoid of cultural and language barriers. We want to avail of the remission scheme provided in the agreement for a possible early release, which has many precedence.
We got the secretary nodding in acquiescence after hearing our position.
Now that a prominent member of the central authority has heard our grievances and concerns we hope for a speedy resolution of this issue.
But in order for this goal to be achieved we wish the honorable Emmanuel Caparas to be retained in the cabinet of the incoming administration, otherwise there will be no end to this long-running saga.

One of our most erudite contributors has sent us this article, which was again painstakingly handwritten in his beautiful cursive style. Mario de los Reyes, who has been in Stanley Prison for more than 20 years, writes here of his impressions from the recent visit to inmates by the Philippines’ acting justice secretary, Emmanuel Caparas. Though wary of the visit, Mario is still hoping it could finally pave the way for the much-delayed implementation of the Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners Agreement between the Philippines and Hong Kong, something he has been fighting for in the last couple of years. Elsewhere in the issue, readers will find a picture of Mario, together with Consul General Bernardita Catalla and a prison chaplain, during an awarding ceremony in Stanley on Jan. 6. –Ed

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