As soon as you take a whiff of the fumes,the door opens quickly with a loud—


Five men in uniform break into the house. You've seen this before—
on TV—

but this time, the scene plays before your eyes.

The police shout at everyone, they're shouting at you, too. You put your hands up.

Youfeel disoriented. Fearful.

What’s happening?!?

The officer’s sweaty arms are cuffed around your neck. You can smell his cheap cologne and musk at the same time.

He grabs a hold of your wrists and forcibly pulls them to your back. You can feel his nails digging into your skin while he tightens the cuffs. He cuffs you so tight you feel your pulse radiating in your entire body.

You were all packed into a small vehicle with barely any room to breathe.

The officer yanks on your cuff when you arrive in the police station. He drags you out like a dog not obeying their owner.

You try to be brave and speak:


“You know, if you can give us something to fill our pockets, we’ll let you go.”

interrupts the head.

But you had nothing. You try to tell: I don’t have…

“No choice but jail then.”

Your story ends here.


Time: 12:19 AM
Date: 06/26/2020
Place of Incident: Residence of [redacted], Caligtangan

Eight (8) young adults gathered in a circle inhaling fumes of methamphetamine hydrochloride. Looking suspicious and dangerous.

A noise was filed by a neighbor and smelled a strong scent coming from the house.

The arrest was peaceful and conducted with respect to the accused.

“Get up! UP!”

You wake up.

A humid and crowded scene. Another day in jail.

What you would give to be outside right now?

Everything happened so quickly. You’ve been in jail for the past 4 months.

You have not ever gotten a visit from anyone. You long to see your children. You miss the smell of your youngest’s hair.

You just want to get out of here—for them.

Every day is the same here.

Do laundry.

Clean halls.

Scrub CR.

“Never trust those you do not know.”

Something you were told just before you were thrown here.

It’s been 3 months since your last hearing—

keeps getting rescheduled because your arresting officer is always absent.

You feel distraught and trapped.


Coming home– no

coming back to Caligtangan,

there's still so much distrust.


A CCTV was installed in your room by local officials. You have to ask permission from them every time you wanted to go out.

You couldn’t talk to anybody but your children.

 No matter how much you cover it up, you can hear what your community thinks of you.

“Yeah, I mean… Look at her!”

“She says she went on vacation but I know she went to jail.”


What you have been reading so far is not a work of fiction, but a retelling of the story of Ella.

Ella and her friends were invited to a birthday party.

It was Ella’s first time to try shabu that night.

She was curious about the substance and her friends kept calling her a “killjoy” if she didn’t try it, with promises that it would only be a one time thing.

They were immediately arrested after the police received a tip off from an asset who was present in the party.

After being released from jail, Ella’s life drastically changed. Her interactions with her family, friends and community were all limited. Her dream was to work abroad but was denied several times because of her jail record.

The path ends here but there is more to your story. Continue with a different path?


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