Jail warden, 3 guards charged with negligence for escape of suspected bomber

Insp. Jo Anthony Gargarita, head of the Human Resource Management Office of the BJMP-12, told radio station dxND that removal from public service is the minimum sanction imposed on jail wardens or guards found guilty of infidelity in their custody of prisoners.

On Friday, the BJMP-12 in General Santos filed criminal complaints at the Office of the Regional Prosecutor against Jail Warden Buenaventura Pedrita and three of his guards at the Kidapawan City Jail.

Charged with infidelity in the custody of prisoners due to escape of two inmates, including a high-profile criminal, are Pedrita and guards Bellantes, who was on duty from 12 midnight to 8 a.m. on January 4 and Marcelino and Tan. Their first names were not available.

"We found out there was negligence (on their part)," said Gargarita.

On January 4, Musali Cado, a known high-profile inmate facing charges of murder, multiple frustrated murders, and multiple attempted murders in connection with the bombing of a mall in Kidapawan City in 2007 that killed a mall employee and injured eight others, including a police officer, bolted the city jail, together with Samuel Nasario who is facing qualified theft.

Gargarita said they are also going after a woman who might have led the escape of Cado and Nasario.

"This unknown woman could have brought the saw that Cado used in his escape. At that time the woman went inside the jail, the female guard was off duty. No one did a body search of the female visitor. The city jail has only one female guard whose duty is limited to only eight hours a day," said Gargarita.

Aside from criminal, Pedrita and three of his jail guards will be facing administrative charges.

"That's neglect of duty. For the first offense, the penalty is also dismissal from public service," said Gargarita.

Cado is believed to be the number four man in the Al Khobar, an extortion group operating in Southwestern Mindanao..

On February 2, 2007, he led a group of armed men who attacked the North Cotabato Provincial Rehabilitation Center in Amas that led to the escape of 49 prisoners, including those facing kidnapping with ransom, car theft, murders, drug trafficking, and other heinous crimes. (Malu