Women inmates yearn for home this New Year

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

WHILE lying on a wooden bench with a flapped carton as cushion, Marilyn Macabinlar was playing cards inside the Maharlika Jail at Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) compound, as she waited for the day to end.

With weary eyes, drab hair and seemingly unwashed clothes, Macabinlar told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that she got separated from her husband five years ago. She has four mouths to feed at home.

If she would not have been in jail, Macabinlar said she could be earning money at the moment to buy something to put on the table this New Year.

But instead, she is behind the steel bars yearning for freedom.

“It is painful to be here. It’s not easy, I miss my family so much,” she said.

She added that if only she is not afraid of hell, she could have committed suicide behind bars.

In her wrist and arms are calloused wounds. She pointed it to herself and said: “I attempted suicide before.”

A reach away from Macabinlar was a twenty-year old woman who refused to be named.

She was facing the floor the whole time, refusing to speak about her case.

‘Bebing’ (not her real name), the other inmate’s mother, was standing outside the prison cell.

She kept on asking her daughter how she got into the prison. Even Bebing did not get an answer.

Bebing said she immediately left her home in Talakag, Bukidnon for Cagayan de Oro after she was informed by a neighbor that her daughter has a problem with her job.

“I did not know that she was in jail. All I know is that she has work-related problems,” Bebing said adding that her daughter works at one of the most prestigious malls in the city.

Bebing said this is the first time her daughter was jailed, and she has no idea how to get her out before New Year.

Tears falling

“I am here with her to ensure that she is safe here,” said Bebing while trying to hold back her tears.

When asked if she intends to be with her daughter this New Year in jail, Bebing said she has seven children and she also needs to spend time with them.

Upon hearing the words of her mother, the twenty-year old lady sobbed without crying.

Her shoulders were shaking rapidly while wiping the tears with a blouse.

She unbraided her hair and used it to cover her face. She finally spoke saying: “Someone will help me out of here. Someone will.”

Bebing asked her who will help her out but she did not respond.

She sobbed hard while trying not to utter a sound.

Bebing’s brows furrowed and a tear slipped from her eyes that she wiped out hastily.

She said: “We don’t have money to bail you out of here. You know how hard our situation is.”

Bebing said she has no idea what case her daughter could be facing. All she knows that it is related to her work.

“She won’t answer to any of my questions. How am I supposed to know what she got herself into? It could be theft,” Bebing said.

Bebing added that this New Year she will send her daughter something to eat, and if her eldest son would agree, he will spend time with the twenty-year old lady in jail.


Macabinlar said she felt sorry for what she did after spending time in jail.

As to the reason why she is behind bars, Macabinlar said she chased a woman off with a knife.

“I was not myself (at the time). I was very angry at her for accusing me of being a mistress,” she said.

She pulled out a folder from a makeshift cabinet and showed this paper a picture of her happy family.

Macabinlar lighted a cigarette and said: “I always go to church. I feel sorry for what I did. If I can go home before New Year I will be very thankful to God. I will be very happy.”

Bebing added that she wants her daughter out of jail because her family and relatives are expecting her on the New Year.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 31, 2013.

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