A COUPLE detained at the Mandaue City Jail exchanged marriage vows before Mayor Jonas Cortes on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019.
Hernante and Amanda (not their real names), who had been live-in partners for 15 years before Amanda too got incarcerated, were given a chance to finally tie the knot under the facility’s mass wedding program.
Hernante, 40, and Amanda, 35, have seven children, two of whom have died.
Amanda said she fell in love with Hernante because he is sweet and a good man, while he fell in love with her because she always listens to his advice.
Hernante has been in prison for seven years, while Amanda was sent to jail a year and five months ago.
Inmates Junnel and Ashley (not their real names) also got married. Like Hernante and Amanda, they, too, lived together for several years before they were both imprisoned for illegal drug charges in 2017.
The couple has three children aged two, four and seven years old.
Junnel and Ashley got emotional during the occasion as they had planned to tie the knot before they were arrested.
The two couples had not been allowed to visit each other even though they lived next door to each other.
Now that they are married, Ashley asked the jail management for a chance to be with her husband.
According to Supt. Gil Inopia, jail warden of the male dormitory, the two couples can avail themselves of conjugal visits through a court order.
“Actually, our policy allows for conjugal visits, but for live-in partners there are restrictions. Now that they are married, they can fully avail themselves of the benefits of conjugal visits,” Inopia said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
He said the court will decide who will visit who.
Insp. Pauline Bajar-Omega, jail warden of the female dormitory, said they’ve been urging 10 other couples in the facility to complete their requirements so they can avail themselves of the mass wedding program.
Mayor Cortes, for his part, said it was good to know that despite the couples’ circumstances, their love for each never waned.
“What these two couples have shown us is despite the difficulties they faced, they’ve been there for each other in the best and worst of times,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English. (KFD / PJB)