Back at Colva Prison, Olivia is confused about how so much money could disappear. Gabriel Olondriz explains that this can happen with bogus contracts. He discovered that Senator Zapanta had siphoned money off and stockpiled it in a vault in his home. Olondriz worked meticulously to gather a mass of evidence, but his house—and all the evidence—was burned down, killing two of his servants. Then, Zapanta charged Olondriz with murder and Olondriz was convicted. Olondriz says he’d been “stupid,” and stupid people, like the poor, end up in prison.
Olondriz expands on Senator Zapanta’s corruption, revealing that Zapanta not only condemned his people to poverty but he is also directly responsible for the deaths of several others (including Olondriz’s innocent servants) and for perverting the course of justice by imprisoning Olondriz. Mulligan emphasizes that the poor gravely suffer at the hands of such corruption because so many of them end up in prison.
Gardo wipes Gabriel Olondriz’s forehead and he asks Olondriz who Dante Jerome was and what the “harvest” was. Olondriz goes quiet and quizzes Gardo, who explains that José Angelico wrote a letter saying that if Olondriz could visit Senator Zapanta’s house right now, his “soul would sing because it is accomplished.” Olondriz gapes, looking “luminous,” and he takes Gardo’s hands. Olondriz knows Gardo is a dumpsite boy because, like Olivia, he’s volunteered with them—he knows that even under clean clothes, the smell never goes away. Gardo explains that he found the letter in a locker but he didn’t dare to bring it because the police killed José Angelico during interrogation. Olondriz buckles and he shakes with pain, and Olivia knows she can’t do anything but watch.
It’s clear that Senator Zapanta is also likely responsible for José Angelico’s death and for the brutal treatment that Raphael endured at the hands of the police. Olondriz’s grief over Angelico’s death underscores the degree of suffering that such corruption causes. The fact that Olondriz recognizes Gardo as a landfill scavenger by his smell reinforces the filthy conditions that children like Gardo have to endure. Gardo’s lingering odor also metaphorically represents the inescapability of his fate as a trash boy in this society.