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‘HUNT ARMED, DANGEROUS ESCAPEES!’

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Report info on inmates, public urged

By EUGENE ADIONG

BACOLOD City — Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. ordered the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOPPO) to hunt down the 13 inmates who broke out of jail in Sagay City late Wednesday afternoon.

He also told the personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility in Sagay to “wake up and shape up.”

In a text message to Panay News, Chief Insp. Rico Santotome, NOPPO spokesperson, identified the escapees as Rolando Bajo, Rey Villanueva, Joenard Quirante, Eric Cordero, Joemar Levester, Gilbert Maneja, Resty Dacaldacal, Armando Dilao, Jimmy Vistar, Jake Espanola, Richard Dacaldacal, Joelito Subtinente and Marjun Bandala.

Marañon said NOPPO acting director, Senior Supt. Ricardo De La Paz, briefed him about the incident on Wednesday evening. The inmates rushed out of jail at 5:30 p.m.

Based on initial reports, Bajo pointed a caliber .38 revolver, which he personally owned, at Jail Officer 1 (JO1) Jover Valenzuela, De La Paz said.

Villanueva then disarmed Valenzuela of his issued caliber .38 revolver while other inmates pointed sharp objects at JO1 Francis Vallador, he said.

The 13 inmates rushed out of the facility and escaped after Bajo fired at the padlock of the main entrance of the detention cell, he added.

De La Paz described the escapees as “armed and dangerous.” “They took the firearms of the jail guards with them,” he said. “We urge the public to report immediately any information that can lead to their arrest.”

Among the escapees, Bajo, Maneja, Dacaldacal, Dilao, Vistar, Espanola, Dacaldacal, Subtinente and Bandala were facing murder charges. Villanueva was facing an illegal drug charge; Joenard Quirante, physical injuries; Eric Cordero, frustrated murder; and Joemar Levester, robbery with homicide.

“We must arrest them as soon as possible so we can give justice to their victims,” De La Paz stressed.

The BJMP in Sagay City — located in Brgy. Rizal, three kilometers from the city proper — had 115 inmates. With the jailbreak, however, 102 remained, said Chief Insp. Edel Jose Manzano, Sagay police chief.

Manzano said the suspects escaped on foot. He urged the families of the escapees to convince them to surrender so as not to worsen the penalties they may face.

The BJMP, and the Sagay City police and other Philippine National Police units were conducting manhunt operations.

All police units in Western Visayas and their counterpart in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, have been alerted on the possible entry of the escapees in their areas.

The NOPPO is also closely working with the Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade to hasten the manhunt.

The military’s cooperation in the manhunt is crucial, considering the possibility that the escapees will hide in the mountains, De La Paz said.

All entry and exit points in Negros Occidental — ports and other public utility vehicle terminals in particular — were on tight watch, he said.

Photographs of the escapees have been provided to transport terminal operators. The same will be given out to the news media, the NOPPO chief said.

Meanwhile, BJMP-6 Director Ignacio Panti has deployed additional personnel to the Sagay jail facility.

He also relieved BJMP Sagay jail warden Jail Senior Insp. Benny Freddie Cobarde, Valenzuela and Vallador, and designated Senior Jail Officer 4 Eduardo Beñares Jr. as acting jail warden pending investigation on the incident, a report from dyEZ Aksyon Radyo-Bacolod said.

The radio report also said Sagay officials have received surrender feelers from four of the escapees.

BJMP Sagay is currently reviewing their security setup to correct the lapses and prevent a similar incident, De La Paz said. (With a report from Philippines News Agency/PN)