"I was once a shame of Cagayan, I was branded a criminal, but now my efforts were recognized". - Asst. Prof. Raymund Narag (in white barong), PhD., Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Southern Illinois University, USA. (PIA photo)

Former inmate is Dangal ng Lahing Cagayano awardee

As the Valedictorian of the Cagayan National High School Class 1991 and a Cum Laude graduate of the country’s topnotch school, the University of the Philippines, who would have thought that this year’s one of the awardees of the Dangal ng Lahing Cagayano was a former inmate [now being called as Persons Deprived of Liberty or PDL]?

“I was once a shame of Cagayan and no one ever talked about my name,” Prof. Raymund E. Narag said who confessed that he stayed in the jail for 6 years, 9 months and 4 days to be exact, which according to him, only few people knew about it.

All the way from Illinois, USA where he works as Assistant Professor of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice in Southern Illinois University, he went home to receive the award.

“It is only the Provincial Government of Cagayan that recognized my work,” Narag said during his speech in the recently Dangal ng Lahing Cagayano awarding ceremonies.

“I languished in jail because of a sin I did not commit,” Raymund said.  He said his almost seven years of stay in jail made him not only suffer but his family and friends as well.

But for the many years of being separated from family and friends, he has proved his innocence and eventually, claimed the justice he has been fighting for.

Raymund, however, shared that his stay inside the jail led him to develop the first Alternative Learning System (ALS) in jail and the paralegal system where they can follow up their own cases.

He also wrote a book about his penal experience that includes everything he saw and observed inside the jail. The book, he said, was used by then Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. as a basis for his action program for judicial reforms.

At present, Narag is a jail consultant in our legal system.

He was a recipient of scholarship and went to America to study. “I study our criminal system, why it takes a long time for a case to be resolved, why life inside the jail is so difficult,” he said.

“Because of the things I learned, I come back every year, pleading jail wardens, pleading to judges, to our police officers, that there’s a better way in delivering justice,” Narag stressed in his speech.

Now, his efforts have been recognized. He serves as consultant of the Supreme Court, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Department of Justice for free. “Who will help our fellow Filipinos if not us Filipinos ourselves,” he said.

Prof.  Raymundo Narag, a Gintong Medalya awardee in the Dangal ng Lahing Cagayano search. (PIA photo)

With him during the ceremony were members of his family circle, whom he said were with him, visited and supported him in his more than six years of imprisonment.

A Glimpse of His Accomplishments

Professor Raymund E. Narag finished his masters degree in Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice in the United States and finished his doctorate degree at the same institution in 2013.

He has published books, articles, and countless other scholarly works in the international scene, with works in progress and under review as part of his career in the criminal justice academe.

He is also rendering service as program specialist to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and to the Office of the Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court, consultant of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and consultant on Student Affairs in UP.

He is a recipient of various awards for his expertise such as Caritas Manila’s Catholic Mass Media Awards Citation for Best Short Story in 2016, Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in 2012, Dr. Knowlton W. Johnson Endowment in 2011, and the Martin Luther Student Leader Award in 2005.

Prof. Narag is a member of professional organizations such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, American Society of Criminology, and Philippine Criminal Justice Researchers Society, Inc.(MDCT/GVB/PIA 2-Cagayan)

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