5 inmates bolt Maguindanao jail

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 26 Aug) – Using an improvised hack saw and a liquid solution soaked in soap, five inmates managed to bolt the Maguindanao provincial jail by sawing off the steel grill during a heavy downpour Tuesday midnight.

Jail Warden Macapagal Blao said his roving guard immediately fired a warning shot upon seeing an inmate jumping from the wall past the barbed wires.

“They took advantage of the heavy rain knowing the commotion would not be easily monitored,” Blao said.

He identified jailbreakers as Urak Makalay and Aquino Mento, both facing robbery charges; Tampakan Ankilino (rape); Fahad Sangki (theft); and Faisal Macarimbang (robbery).

But Macarimbang was reportedly arrested again today, hiding in the company of his old buddies in Barangay Poblacion Dos in this city. The barangay chairman has turned over Macarimbang back to the jail.

The escapees, Blao said, were from Selda Otso which has 23 male inmates inside.

Blao said before he assumed office, the steel blade’s other half was earlier surrendered to penal management as a show of sincerity by the prisoners. But jail guards didn’t realize the other half of the foot-long blade was hidden somewhere, and was finally used at the right moment last night.

“We found out they had been planning this for a long time,” Blao stressed.

Blao assured that Datukan Samad alias Commander Lastikman, who is facing a string of criminal cases, was not among those who bolted the jail facility.

He appealed to the relatives of the escapees to help in bringing them back to jail “for their own safety.”

The provincial government of Maguindanao is working for the transfer of the provincial jail to Buluan town after a loan was granted for the construction of a P50-million worth state-of-the-art penal rehabilitation facility.

The province recognizes the risk of the presence of the jail, which has high profile inmates, right in the middle of the densely populated Cotabato City.