Over a Cup of Tea
Heidi M. Pascual
Publisher & Editor
2006 Journalist of the year
for the State of Wisconsin

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A Story on Probation in the Philippines:
Caught between hard choices: Imprisonment or freedom under probation
Part 2

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 PPA 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 years.

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 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.

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-
-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 feet
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.