In television, discipline officers are depicted as larger-than-life, clipboard-carrying, bloodthirsty hunters of rule-breakers and hoodlums. They carry in their hands every student’s fear: The deadly, unmistakable pink slip of paper with the words ‘DETENTION’ clearly written on it. Their spine-chilling “see me after class” mantra is enough to scare a student out of his wits and make him wet his pants.
But what if we told you that discipline officers are no different from us Lasallians? Discipline Officers (DO) are people just like us; they’re not enemies and they’re definitely not people we should be afraid of. In fact, you can surely count on them to be good mentors and jokers, even acting as mother and father figures to some students! Still don’t believe us?
Meet Mang Jack, the legendary DO of De La Salle University.
Who is Mang Jack?
Based on an online survey that we conducted among ID110 to ID114 students, majority of them have no idea who Mang Jack is, claiming that they’ve never heard of him at all. This result is not surprising considering the fact that Mang Jack retired as a DO back in 2007. For our generation of Lasallians, majority of us probably don’t know him or have never heard of him, but there are innumerable Lasallian alumni that still speak of the legend.
So who is this Mang Jack?
The legend explained
Mang Jack’s real name is Jacinto Santos Pascual. He got his nickname from his grandfather who started calling him ‘Jackie’. Since it was too feminine for his taste, Mang Jack changed it to ‘Jack’ instead. From then on, the nickname Jack has stuck with him.
He is a simple man from Bulacan who spent his whole life there and studied in Meycauyan Institute (now Meycauyan College). Although he never finished college, he explains that he finished 72 units and knows the fundamentals. “Noon naman kasi, hindi strict sa hiring. Ngayon na lang yan na required ang graduate. Siguro tinanggap na rin nila ako dahil nagustuhan nila ugali ko,” he shares.
Mang Jack started working as a discipline officer at De La Salle University (DLSU) in 1977 and then continued to work at the University for the next 30 years. “Noong 1977, contractual basis pa yung pagiging DO. Three months probationary, six months permanency, ganyan. 1978 talaga ako naging official na DO, from what I remember.”
From his simple dream of becoming a regularized discipline officer, Mang Jack never imagined himself becoming the Asst. Director of the Discipline Office. “Yung Asst. Director kasi namin, na-transfer siya sa Security. Ako naman, senior DO at that time, ako yung ginawang replacement ng Asst. Director.”
What about his disciplinary style towards students? Mang Jack had some insightful words to share with us. “Mahigpit, pero nasa lugar. Ang estudyante kasi, binabagayan. Hindi rason na mas bata siya; binabagayan ang mga tao. Hindi ko pinipilit sa kanila kung ano ang gusto kong mangyari. Tulungan dapat tayo. Tinuturing ko silang lahat na parang mga anak ko. Mas maa-appreciate nila kapag ganun.”
However, Mang Jack adds that he is different when it comes to PDA among Lasallian students. “Pagdating sa PDA, super firm ako. Mayroon nga ako nahuli dati sa SJ na nagP-PDA, ngayon mag-asawa na at may anak na!”
Love and dedication to the Lasallian community
Despite his strictness in upholding the University’s rules and regulations, many former students, most of whom are working now, still appreciate the lessons he has imparted them. Most of them even consider Mang Jack as not only an authoritative figure, but a father figure and friend as well. “He was a friend, and at the same time, an authoritative figure, because he never let his status as a disciplinarian be an obstacle in wanting to have a good relationship with the students,” says student Earl Robles (VI, CS-ST). Additionally, Lasallian alumnus Benigno Tobias (BSC-MFI, ’91) considers him as “both a father and authoritative figure,” and describes him as a “balanced disciplinarian” because he was both “lovable and strict” towards the students.
These responses are just some of what we’ve received when we asked Lasallian alumni about Mang Jack, and not surprisingly, all of them were positive. So, we have to ask, how did he get such a good reputation among the DLSU community? It’s simple: he treated the students like his own family.
“Tinuturing ko sila as family,” Mang Jack says. “Kailangan intindihin ko din ang kalagayan nila eh, estudyante din sila.” He understood that students have their own challenges and difficulties and he took that into account when he disciplined them.
Mang Jack even adds that, for him, it’s not right to force a lesson on a student. “Parang pamilya nga, bakit mo sisigawan kung pwede naman kausapin, at pag nalaman nila yung mali nila, di na [nila] uulitan yan.” However, don’t mistake his compassion for the students as a sign of weakness; he still remains firm in disciplining them. “Di ako lenient, mahigpit ako pero sa [tamang] lugar, kasi style ko pag pumuna ako, sinasabi ko agad yung tama, di yung puro mali,” he explains. For him, students should be reminded of what is right, rather than just being pointed out for what they’ve done wrong. He dealt with students with the diligence of a father and the perseverance of a school facilitator, and that made him remarkable in both the eyes of the students and administrators alike.
True enough, his teachings have remained with almost all of the students he’s helped, and it has changed their lives in one way or another. To those former DLSU students, Mang Jack was not only your everyday DO; he was also a friend, father, and advisor within the University.
Message for the present
Unfortunately for many of us in the University, we may never get to know this DO legend as well as many of our alumni have. But remember this: Mang Jack has not forgotten us Lasallians. Aside from supporting the DLSU Green Archers in the UAAP, he has a message to the current students of the University. He says that students of this generation should not to be hesitant in approaching the DO for some of their concerns. He noticed that many students are scared of the Discipline Office and its officers. Mang Jack wants to reassure Lasallians that they should not be too worried because the Discipline Office is there to help you. He wishes this for the current generation of Lasallian students and those soon-to-come.
Though he is no longer working in the Discipline Office, his legacy will remain with the students he has helped and with the culture and community of De La Salle University.