“I first hold a Bible inside the Dapecol”- Christina

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Davao City, Philippines — Living a life in luxury and ending inside a penitentiary, this was how Cristina, a 55-year old mother of five described her life.

Cristina used to enjoy five nannies around her plus the dozens of workers in her clothing and fruit business in Metro Manila. Life for her before was easy. “After  dispatching my people, I prepare myself to join other rich friends in the neighborhood for either a majong or a cards game,” she recalled.

Having P20,000 cash inside her wallet was considered not enough. “Wala nang pera pag ganun, mainit na ang ulo ko.”

She entrusted motherhood to the household help and delegated every errand to anyone around.

But life changed, when she was accused of kidnapping a child of her business associate and was convicted of the crime.

On March 4, 1987, she was sentenced to “Reclusion Perpetua” or life imprisonment. She has been languishing inside the  Correctional Institute for Women inside the Davao Penal Colony compound since 1989.

In between the interview she was always in deep sigh. “Nasentensya ako, dahil tatlong tauhan ko ang nasangkot at ang cellphone pag-aari ko.” The rest was history.

Christina, 55, sentenced to life imprisonment.-Newsline.ph

Embracing a life with P20/meal food budget was at first unacceptable. She was not used to eat those food being served inside. “Pero wala akong magawa, kasama yun sa  parusa sa akin,” Cristina added.

She struggled but nothing can change the situation.

Until one morning, sometime in 1990, when she finally agreed to join a Bible sharing among inmates “Ang tagal na nila akong iniimbitahan, pero ayoko, hindi ko rin  alam bakit ayaw ko- siguro sabi ng Dios dapat magising na ako.”

Joining her first was an awkward thing for her. “Pero nang pinahawakan na akin ang Bibliya, gumaan ang pakiramdam ko, napansin ko na lang tumutulo na ang luha  ko. Sinabi ko sa mga kasama ko, first time ko itong humawak ng Bibliya,” she recalled.

She did not even noticed her tears were falling while she shivered holding the Bible.

“Napasigaw ako, sabi ko, Dios Ko! patawarin nyo ako, ang laki ng pagkukulang ko sa inyo,” she was teary-eyed while recounting the moment during the interview.

Cristina is one of the about 1,000 women housed inside the Correctional Institute, and most of them cling their fate to God. “Hindi ko alam kong ma-pardon ako or dito  na ako mamamatay, Dios na ang bahala.”

She is among the 500 women inmates working at the Tagum Agricultural Development Corporation Inc. (TADECO) receiving a P345 daily allowance. 70 percent of her  earning is sent home for her grandchildren “Dito kumikita ako, at nakakatulong sa mga anak at apo ko. Ang bait ng Dios, ako ang nagkulang noon, hindi ako kumapit sa  kanya at nasilaw ako sa pera.”

She said that whatever happens next, she will leave it up to God. “Dios lang ang nakakaalam, alam ko siya ang may hawak ng lahat.”-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph

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