MUNTINLUPA CITY, Philippines - Wearing only basketball shorts and a polo, Richard "Tommy" Brodett looked comfortable while coming out of their house in Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa city Monday afternoon, 3 days after he and the other "Alabang Boys" got an acquittal from drug charges.
Brodett said he's still trying to adjust to his new life after staying in prison since 2008.
"I slept early on Friday evening cause I'm tired the whole day. But I wake up early, gising-preso pa din" he said, as he smiled while trying to recall the experience he had during his 3-year detention.
Brodett said he wakes up before 7 a.m. and is still not adjusted to normal life, because at prison, he has to rise before 7 a.m. and prepare for the morning head count of jail guards.
Asked if he feels that his life was wasted because of detention, he said "no."
"I've learned so much from those 3 years and I feel those lessons are golden, invaluable" Brodett said.
As one of the controversial "Alabang Boys," he said the time he spent in detention also gave him the chance to know who his true friends are -- those who did not leave him and even stayed with him and offered support during his hardships.
Brodett is still shy to go out and mingle with other people.
He recalled a moment Saturday when his mom wanted him to go with them on an errand, doing groceries and some shopping, but he refused because of fear of possible reactions he might get when people see him on the streets.
"That label will stay with me. It's not like you can write a CV and people will forget who you are" he said. He is still trying to get a feel of his environment --the tranquility of their home, life without the detention regimen, and the liberty that he can now enjoy.
He has no plans yet and is still trying to understand the situation.
He clarifies that he has no hatred for Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency officers who arrested him and got him locked up.
He won't even seek legal action against the law enforcers.
"If I meet them, I'll just say that I am a Christian and Christian should be like Christ, who bears no grudge against his fellow man" Brodett said.
'Alabang Boys' a lesson to DOJ
Meanwhile, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima said Monday that the "Alabang Boys" case should serve as a lesson to the DOJ, especially that there is a "very dismal performance" on drug conviction.
The current conviction rate is only 1%.
De Lima said she will order a senior DOJ prosecutor to review the failed "Alabang Boys" case to determine the performance of government prosecutors in the case.
She said prosecutors should have presented in court former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Dionisio Santiago and Chief Inspector Ferdinand Marcelino, head of the PDEA special enforcement service.
They could have sufficiently provided a justification before the judge on the aspect of PDEA's presentation of the seized drugs from the accused during the time when the said evidence was supposed to have been undergoing laboratory examination.
This would have explained the "breach" in the chain of custody presented by the defense, which the judge upheld.
De Lima said the regional trial court decision was a "fairly well-written decision," even as she said that certain provisions of the Comprehensive Drugs Act should be relaxed. - with a report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News