MANILA, Philippines – His family thought he was doing fine and was working in Cebu over the last 12 years. No one ever visited him on birthdays and Christmases, but he was actually in prison for a crime he claimed to be innocent of.
This is the story of an elderly inmate a netizen met on the bus on the very first day he earned his freedom after spending more than a decade behind bars in Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol). It was shared by a netizen named Angelique Stephanie Pasion on Facebook and has gone viral.
The sharer narrated an elderly man boarded the same bus she was in in front of Dapecol. ‘Tatay’, as the netizen referred to the man, asked the conductor if he could be taken to the city with only P50 in hand.
A female passenger immediately offered ‘Tatay’ P50 in addition to the fare. Then he began sharing his sad story.
He said he is a newly-freed inmate of Dapecol who was imprisoned for 12 years since 2004. He claimed to have not committed the crime he was accused of but was only forced to confess to put a closure to the case.
His family – including his wife, kids, parents and siblings – in Bacolod only knew he was working in Cebu and no one ever visited him. Despite being in jail, he managed to provide for their needs, Tatay said.
His youngest was only in Grade 3 when he last saw the family.
He had nothing with him except for an old bag with old clothes and a certificate of discharge from prison, but Tatay could not hide his excitement over finally going home to Bacolod and to his dear family.
Apparently, ‘Tatay’s heartbreaking story touched the heart of fellow passengers in the bus. Not a few, including the sharer, stood up and offered ‘Tatay’ some amount; hoping he would have enough money to take him home once he got off the bus.
“I’m not posting this to earn fame but na amaze lang ko kay tatay na nakaya niya tanan for 12 years and narealize pud nako na dili jud dapat ta mag judge sa uban tao kay wala ta kabalo sailang tinoud na stories,” the sharer wrote.
[I’m not posting this to earn fame but I was just amazed by Tatay that he was able to bear everything for 12 years, and I realized we should never judge a man’s life because we are not aware of their real stories.]