True Freedom Inside the Prison

Geri Gambala

Imprisonment is one of the worst things that could happen. We value freedom.  We would fight and even die for it. But we don’t realize we may already be in prison.

I’m Geri Gambala, an ex-soldier, an ex-rebel and an ex-convict.  This is my story for His glory.


Life before prison

I believed in Jesus at an early age. As I grew, life became an unending pursuit of success. I forgot Jesus.

Then I joined the military which gave opportunities for prominence in society.  Perfection, idealism, and ambition drove me. I graduated from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) at the top of my class.  I joined the Army. For eight years, I worked, fought and built an impressive combat record in Mindanao. I held positions of great responsibility and power.

Still, peace eluded me. My career became my god.  I became a prisoner of my ambition. I grew frustrated by the state of our country and the military. Maybe I can effect change. Delusions of grandeur crept in. 

On July 27, 2003, I led a group of soldiers and rebelled against the government. But God had other plans.  Our uprising, the “Oakwood Mutiny,” was short-lived.  After a peaceful negotiation, we surrendered.


Life inside prison

I got thrown in prison.  I felt angry and bitter. Then some Christians visited and ministered to me. As I study God’s word, I decided to surrender my life to Jesus. I felt inner peace. Instead of cursing people who hurt me, I prayed for them. I had opportunity to ask forgiveness from the people I offended.


1Pet 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”  So I submitted to the authority of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and to my Commander-in-Chief, the President.


 I plead guilty to the crime of coup d’état.  I got military discharge and life imprisonment. I applied for pardon. On May 16, 2008, President Arroyo, the president I rebelled against, gave me my pardon papers. I was free again, but this time truly free. How ironic that inside prison I found true freedom.


Life after imprisonment

After my release, I joined Campus Crusade for Christ’s military ministry. I realized the only way for genuine change to happen in the military is by sharing His word to the soldiers and let Him transform their lives. Not only the military will change but it will impact the nation.

Now I no longer live to reach the pinnacle of success. I live to glorify God. True change starts from the heart. Only Jesus Christ can change hearts. It’s not through man made ideas but by sharing Jesus to every person and letting God’s transforming power work in their lives.

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