For a sweet, demure and soft-spoken woman like Atty. Emerald Hombrebueno, it is unlikely to think that she would end up leading a male-dominated agency.
But this young woman, being the eldest daughter, chose to follow the footsteps of her father, Inspector Esteban Laminato Hombrebueno, a retired BJMP personnel.
Being a jail officer who spends most of her life with the people considered outcasts by the society is the best decision that Atty. Emerald made. For her, it is a noble profession for she is able to guide lost souls back to their normal life using the patience she inherited from her mother, Cecilia Crisostomo Hombrebueno.
Mira, as she is fondly called by her peers when she was not yet a lawyer and a commissioned officer, started her career as Jail Officer 1 way back in 2001. She rendered duties at Santiago City District Jail, Solano District Jail and Cabarroguis District Jail with several designations which she executed well and even above par.
It was at the Cabarroguis District Jail where she spent most of her career as a jail non-officer rank until her promotions from Jail Officer 1 to JO3 rank.
She did not let herself contented with her JNOR position, instead she focused her gaze on a greater horizon, accepted the challenge and took up Bachelor of Laws and Letters at the University of La Sallette, Santiago City. It was an uphill battle considering that she is a working mother and also a solo parent of two but she succeeded because of her will and perseverance.
Mira successfully passed the bar examination on May 3, 2017. This opened many opportunities for her. She was reassigned to BJMP National Capital Region Office as Regional Bureau Prosecutor and later served as Human Rights Affairs Officer and National Help Desk Officer in the BJMP-NHQ.
Following her guiding principle, “tempered by wisdom, passion and strengthened by persistence, knowledge of the law honed by dedicated hard work,” she was able to reach the position she now enjoys—Chief of both Legal Service Office and Community Relations Service Office at BJMP Regional Office 2.
“I came here not to implement my own orders but I am here to implement the programs of our Bureau - faithfully and dedicatedly, and also to supervise the proper dispensation of our mission to enhance public safety by ensuring humane safekeeping and development of persons deprived of liberty for their reintegration to society,” Atty. Emerald told the personnel, visitors and the PDLs when she assumed office as the then District Jail Warden of Cabarroguis District Jail.
For the record, she became the first female and first lawyer warden in BJMP Region 2. With her assumption in the helm of CDJ, she made sure that the jail facility is compliant with Republic Act No. 8749 otherwise known as Clean Air Act of 1999. Thus, she initiated the complete turn-around of fuel use for cooking of food from rice hull (ipa) to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
With the religious implementation of Reformation and Development Programs aimed to transform PDLs into a new individual by the time they will join the community, Atty. Emerald sees to it that all PDLs are actively participating in the different activities for the purpose of self-development and to earn points in the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).
These programs include religious activities for the PDLs’ spiritual enrichment and to soften their hearts for the second phase of development, the behavioral development thru Therapeutic Community Modality Program (TCMP).
She successfully equipped jail residents with livelihood and survival skills while undergoing transformation and built a community within the detention cells in partnership with various agencies.
Being a lawyer, she initiated the decongestion program of the bureau which resulted to the following: Released on Recognizance – 1; Probation- 2; Transferred to BUCOR (with negative RT PCR Test)- 27; Served Sentence/Plea Bargaining- 19 and Released on Bail- 4.
The Enhanced Program Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP), a multi-agency program to alleviate economic status of small farmers, received a great boost when she forged a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Go Quirinians Agrarian Reform Cooperative, Inc. to buy their agricultural products, thereby, assuring of ready market for their products at reasonable prices. This move assured that all food stuffs for the PDL were of good quality, fresh and nutritious.
In support to the Bayanihan Heal as One Act, she initiated the provision of groceries to several families in Quirino province to ease the ill effect of being locked down due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Many feathers have been added to her cap of achievements as a result of her hard work, competence and dedication. To name a few, these include the Certificate of Recognition issued by the DILG in 2017 for her active involvement and contribution in the drafting of the “Uniform Manual on Time Allowances and Service of Sentence” and the Certificate of Recognition issued by DILG in 2018 for her outstanding contributions and selfless team support as member of the Technical Working Group (TWG) in successfully completing the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Executive Order No. 56, series of 2018 otherwise known as “Institutionalizing the Emergency 911 Hotline as the National Emergency Answering Point, Replacing 117, and for Other Purposes.”
Atty. Emerald’s impeccable managerial capability is not only felt within the four corners of the jail facility but was also being noted within the community.
Civic actions such as clean up drives were regularly conducted at the adopted waterways/rivers in the province where rubbish was collected and deposited at the MRF for proper disposal. She also initiated several tree planting activities in collaboration with the Parole and Probation Administration-Quirino which resulted to successful planting of 250 pieces of seedlings of different species provine-wide.
Under her watch, Cabarroguis District Jail ranked as second-best performing jail facility regionwide, a good start for a first timer jail warden.
As the threat of COVID-19 spares no one, Atty. Emerald personally led the battle against the dreaded disease. She made sure that all health protocols are strictly observed so that personnel and PDLs will not be infected with the virus.
She took care first of the frontliners, the Response Team, by building triage in front of the main gate of the jail facility. The triage was built in her own initiative without spending a single centavo from the fund of the Bureau. She also partnered with the Provincial Health Office for the provision of flu vaccines for her colleagues.
Cabarroguis District Jail has always been on the right tract but under Atty. Emerald’s leadership, it made a difference, not only to the PDLs who benefitted greatly on her legal expertise and to the personnel whom she considers as brothers and sisters but also to the community which served as an extension of her service as a dedicated public servant.
Truly, Atty. Emerald is a gem at the CDJ who brings love and hope for the persons deprived of liberty. For her, the PDLs, after committing mistakes and going through detours, will be able to start their lives over again by changing the crooked lines straight to the right direction. (ALM/TCB, with Jun Gabrillo)