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Drug War Victim Finds Forgiveness Through Community Pantry

Marc Jayson Cayabyab, May 24, 2021, OneNews.ph

A former drug user saw the community pantry as an opportunity to heal his wounds and move forward by helping others in need.

Jay (not his real name), a teenager who was arrested in 2019 on charges of illegal drug possession, used to feel angry with the police who arrested and planted marijuana on him when he was with his group of friends in Caloocan City.

Admitting that he used to smoke weed, Jay, 19, said it was actually not him who had possession of the marijuana leaves during his arrest in Bagong Barrio.

It was his friend who kept the illegal substance in his pocket, but to implicate them in the case, the policemen divided the confiscated leaves among Jay and his friends to make it appear they all possessed weed.

Jay pleaded guilty during a plea bargaining agreement that same year and was ordered by a trial court judge to undergo a drug rehabilitation program called Community Assisted Rehabilitation and Recovery of Out-patient Training System, which is hosted by the Caloocan City Anti-Drug Abuse Council ( CADAC) and the Catholic Church.

Through the program, Jay said he was able to process his anger and find a way to forgive himself for his drug use as well as perpetrators of his arrest.

According to Jay, the arresting officers did not return his cell phone, where he stored photos of his friends and family members.

What added to his healing was his decision to volunteer for a community pantry in Caloocan set up by the CADAC on April 26.

Jay saw the pantry as an opportunity to heal his wounds and move forward by helping others in need.

He said he feels the “good vibes” every time he is greeted with warm smiles by the people who lined up and received the food items from their pantry.

Jay admitted that in the past, people would not express gratitude to him. But now, the gratefulness even comes with a smile and it makes him feel good.

“Dati po kasi, hindi ako nakakatanggap ng pasasalamat. Samantala ngayon, may magpasalamat lang po, nakangiti na po ako agad. Nakangiti lang silang nagpapasalamat, nakakagaan po sa loob ‘yun,” Jay said in an interview with The Philippine STAR on May 2.

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