Piñol issued the order on Wednesday during his weekly radio program, “Pareng Gob,” which was aired in at least four radio stations all over southwestern Mindanao.
Prosecutor Al Calica, head of the anti-terrorism task force of the Department of Justice (DOJ), said Piñol’s shoot-to-kill order “will violate the Revised Penal Code.”
“There’s no provision in this law that states that bolting out from jail is a crime that warrants a shoot-to-kill order,” he stressed.
Piñol might also be held liable if the law enforcers use such “unlawful” order in killing the inmates just because they failed to surrender in a given time.
“Besides, the court has not yet decided on their cases. So, under the law, they are still innocent unless proven otherwise, so why kill them?” Calica asked.
Piñol, when again asked if he was serious with his order, just laughed it off and said that he just wanted a “swift” action to recover the escaped inmates.
After eight days of manhunt, not one among the 48 escapees have been recovered by law enforcers despite the P960,000 in reward money for the recovery of the fugitives.
“I have also given an additional incentive of P30,000 to those who could recover the first inmate,” said Piñol.
But it seems that no amount of cash nor a shoot-to-kill order can bring back the inmates to the provincial jail.
One of the reasons identified for the failure is that many of the fugitives have reportedly sought refuge in Moro rebel camps in the Liguasan marsh.
Lt. Col. Julieto Ando, spokesman for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the government troops ordered to run after the fugitives were given strict orders not to get trapped in Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) camps as this would violate ceasefire agreements.
Reports said that 10 of the fugitives were sighted in an MILF camp in Barangay Magatos, Kabacan. Among them was Kaer Mundos and Datu Ali Sultan, both suspected members of the Jemaah Islamiah accused of masterminding the bombing of this city’s public terminal on October 2002.
But MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said the reports were “baseless.”
“I have talked with our commander in the field, Commander Pedtamanan, and he said he is not coddling any fugitive in his camp,” said Kabalu in an interview over DXND.
Pedtamanan heads the 108th base command of the 502nd Brigade of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).