Dapecol guards’ weapons intact ? Penal superintendent

The assurance was made as the DPPF, formerly and still called by its old name Dapecol (Davao Penal Colony), called for police augmentation to its 167-strong custodial force to back its security dragnet within and outside the sprawling prison compound.


Catalino Malinao, Dapecol penal superintendent, said the request for backed-up weapons and to replace the armory arsenal would be expected but he said it would have to wait until the conclusion of an investigation from the Bureau of Prisons headquarters in Manila.

He said that the investigation was yet to be conducted "but it is expected for all incidents like this". He said the armory would be "definitely" replenished with weapons "and any request would be made after the evaluation by that investigation.

He has also lifted the restriction on prisoners' visits that was imposed the whole day Sunday.

For the meantime, the provincial police command has already granted Malinao's request and has sent an undisclosed augmentation unit as he said that there was no immediate need to request for firearms yet.

"The service weapons of our guards remained intact and were not taken away from them during the raid," Malinao said.

The raid on pre-dawn Sunday by about 30 guerrillas on military uniforms cleaned the prison armory, carting away five M-16s, 45 carbines, 46 shotguns and seven caliber .38 pistols, according to police regional commander, Chief Supt. Andres Caro II, who inspected the prison on early Sunday morning. He said 80 percent of the armory weapons were vintage firearms although many of them were still usable.

Malinao did not say how many guards were placed on duty that time of the raid, which was estimated to have happened between 1:30 and 2:00 a.m., but said that the weapons of the guards remained intact.

Caro said that two guards at the main gate were disarmed and held at gunpoint, including the lone guard across the outpost leading to one of the roads of Tadeco banana plantation. The guards were used to escort the raiding New People's Army guerrillas and to surprise the other two guards guarding the compound where the administration and armory buildings were.

"Guarding of the compound would not be disrupted by the raid because our custodial forces have their service weapons in their positions," Malinao said.

Malinao, meanwhile, clarified that the raiding guerrillas have indeed taken hostage three of the prison guards "but they were immediately released upon reaching Barangay Casilac in Panabo".

The barangay was near the boundary with Davao City's hinterlands of Paquibato District, where the guerrillas of the Merardo Arce Command, led by Leonardo Pitao, aka Ka Parago, withdrew after the 20-minute raid.

"They were not harmed, and thank God there were no bloodshed or harm that happened during that incident," he said.

The guards were not identified but they were brought along with the five drivers of the vans-for-hire used to transport the raiding guerrillas, who were wearing the insignias and patches of the anti-terrorist unit Task Force Davao, to pull out a ruse.