GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 15 Jan) – Authorities have launched a massive manhunt against two “notorious” inmates who bolted from the South Cotabato Rehabilitation and Detention Center or provincial jail in Koronadal City early on Monday.
Juan Lanzaderas, provincial jail warden, identified the escapees as Andy Evangelista, 30, of Norala town in South Cotabato, and Oting Mando, 23, of Lambayong in Sultan Kudarat.
He said the two slipped past the jail guards and escaped from the facility around 4:30 a.m. by destroying the lock of their cell and eventually climbing over its perimeter fence.
“They cut the cyclone wires and used improvised ropes made of blankets in going down the fence,” he told reporters.
Lanzaderas said the duty jail guards discovered the escape after conducting the early morning inspection and roll call of the inmates.
Citing their investigation, he said the inmates initially unlocked the jail’s cell number 15 and proceeded to the meeting area for visitors.
They were able to get out of the building by destroying a screen covering the lavatory area, he said.
Lanzaderas said they later noticed a blanket dangling at a portion of the outside wall near the jail’s post number 01 that was used by the escapees.
The official said the entire facility was in total lockdown but the escapees took advantage of the lack of duty jail guards over the weekend.
He said two of their jail guards were earlier removed from their usual posts to secure an inmate who was confined at the South Cotabato provincial hospital.
Lanzaderas said they immediately alerted local police units in Koronadal City and in the municipalities of Banga and Tantangan for the possible presence of the escapees.
He said they also created a recovery team to coordinate the manhunt and recapture of the suspects.
Monday’s escape was the second for Evangelista, who had been charged with three counts of carnapping before the Regional Trial Court Branch 26 in Surallah town.
Lanzaderas said the inmate also escaped from the provincial jail in February 2015 but was later recaptured.
Mando was detained at the provincial jail several years ago for theft and robbery charges but was later released.
He is currently facing charges for violation of Sections 5, 11 and 12 or selling and possession of dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia, under Article II of Republic Act 9165 or Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. (MindaNews)