Transfer of detained ex-Maguindanao police chief to Koronadal jail sought

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 July) – Jail officials here have sought for the immediate transfer of a detained former police official of Maguindanao to another jail facility in nearby Korondal City in South Cotabato reportedly due to serious security concerns.

Chief Insp. Brendon Fulgencia, warden of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s Lanton Reformatory Center here, said Wednesday they filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 15 in Tacurong City to authorize the transfer to the South Cotabato provincial jail of retired Maguindanao police chief Supt. Piang Adam to make him closer to the trial venue.

He said the detention center here and their personnel have been facing serious security risks due to the longer travel from the facility to the RTC in Tacurong, where charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition had been filed against Adam.

Fulgencia said police intelligence operatives in Region 12 earlier received reports of an alleged plan to “rescue” the former police official from the Lanton jail or during the travel for his scheduled trial.

In November 2000, about 100 armed men stormed the Lanton jail and freed Pentagon kidnap gang leader Tahir Alonto and 67 other inmates.

“He’s a high-risk detainee and his case has been quite controversial so we need to make sure that we effectively counter or reduce these security risks,” the jail official told reporters.

Adam was earlier charged with illegal possession of firearms in connection with the recovery of two M16 Armalite rifles, 2 grenades and magazines loaded with bullets during a raid at his farm in Barangay Katico, President Quirino town in Sultan Kudarat last December 13.

He was also charged by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group with 84 counts of malversation for allegedly misappropriating 84 units of assorted firearms valued at P2.08 million.

Adam, whose last assignment was as provincial police director of Maguindanao before he retired on May 8, 2009, escaped from the Sultan Kudarat provincial jail in Isulan town last February 17 but was recaptured on March 24 in Davao City.

Fulgencia said Adam has a pending petition before RTC Branch 15 seeking his return to the Sultan Kudarat provincial jail but the court has not yet decided on the matter.

“Right now, we’re taking all the necessary security precaution and the PNP 12 already sent some police personnel to help secure the detention center and augment the escorts for his scheduled trials,” he said.

Adam’s name was earlier linked to the November 23, 2009 massacre of some 60 people, including 32 media workers, due to his ties with the family of former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr.

The former governor’s son Datu Unsay, Maguindanao Mayor Andal Jr. had been tagged as the principal suspect in the massacre and is now facing various counts of multiple murder along with over a hundred of his alleged cohorts. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)