Former inmate falsely charged with murder passes Criminology board exam

MANILA, Philippines – Jumar Ullang spent several years at Isabela City Jail in Basilan, falsely charged for murder and multiple frustrated murder cases which would later be dismissed for lack of merit. Many years later, he would return to the same jail, not just as a free man but as someone who passed the Criminology board exam!

Soon, Jumar hopes to become part of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), helping his former custodians in providing reform for the other inmates.

The now registered criminologist had actually completed his high school education in jail, thanks to the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program of the Department of Education (DepEd), revealed Isabela City Jail information officer JO3 Joel Zanoria.

He was incarcerated after being falsely implicated in the crimes through witnesses coerced by a third party, his friends and relatives insisted.

But though life in jail was difficult, he never lost hope that he would someday find freedom. He used the time he had in jail to study, completing his high school education through ALS.

Former inmate falsely charged with murder passes Criminology board exam
Photo credit: John Unson / PhilStar

Thankfully, he was able to prove his innocence and was released from jail. The good news came shortly after he graduated from high school in jail! Fresh from his experiences in jail, Jumar decided to continue his dream of pursuing a college degree. He chose criminology as he wanted to become a jail officer, inspired by the custodians he met while he was in prison.

According to Jumar, he was eternally thankful to the jail officers who were instrumental in helping him overcome the difficult challenges he had to face in Isabela City Jail.

“My ambition now is to join the BJMP so I can also help watch over inmates and help them reform for good,” Jumar shared.

J/SINSP Zacarias Dagupan, the jail warden, said that he and his team are honored to have Jumar back for a visit and for inspiring him to pursue this dream.

“It feels good to see that our local psycho-social intervention thrusts for inmates have produced a person like Jumar, now a licensed criminologist,” the warden said.

After hearing about Ullang’s inspiring story and his ambition, Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu offered the young man a slot in the provincial government’s scholarship program for qualified beneficiaries, so he could pursue a master’s degree.

Maguindanao Program for Education and Community Empowerment (MagPEACE) has helped produce thousands of professionals in different college courses as well as a doctor of medicine, veterinarians, and a lawyer.

— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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