CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/23 September) —The four convicts who bolted the Misamis Oriental provincial jail on Tuesday have remained free despite reports they have been sighted, Vice Governor Norris Babiera said.
“We have not yet recovered the four convicts. We have received reports of sightings but these are still sketchy,” Babiera said in a phone interview on Thursday.
He said they could not confirm the veracity of the alleged sightings of the four convicts because “what we received were sent only through text messages.”
Six convicts escaped from the provincial jail located at corner of Corrales St. and Gen. Antonio Luna St., this city, dawn of September 20.
Jail Warden Dominador Tagarda Jr, said they were able to capture two of the escapees–Rene Boy Samoramos and Loreto Montenola–in two separate areas in the city on the same day that they escaped. Still at large are Emmanuel Saguinlao, Richard Tabora, Junie Batalona and Jeffrey Jandaya.
Tagarda said Jandaya has been convicted of rape and robbery, Batalona of murder, and Tabora of car theft.
Last Tuesday’s jail break was the second attempt for Saguinlao, an alleged member of the New People’s Army’s Cesar Cayon Command who is charged with illegal possession of firearm and murder.
Tagarda said the escapees bore a hole through their cell’s ceiling and cut the iron sheet roof. The prison facility compound, designed to accommodate 200 inmates, currently houses 318 detainees.
City councilor Ian Mark Nacaya, in a phone interview Thursday, said he gave a special report on the provincial jail break at the city council’s session on Tuesday.
For the second time, the city council passed a resolution requesting the provincial government to relocate its detention facility. The first resolution was passed 10 years ago, during the incumbency of Michelle Tagarda-Spiers as vice mayor.
“I authored a council resolution requesting Misamis Oriental governor Oscar Moreno to transfer the provincial jail outside of the city,” Nacaya, who chairs the committee on police, fire and public safety, said.
He pointed out that the location of the provincial jail is practically at the center of the city and dangerously near residential areas which could be used as “hiding places if the inmates escape from jail.”
While the provincial jail is located in the downtown area, this city’s detention facility is located in Barangay Lumbia, an upland barangay about 45 minutes from the city proper.
Babiera said they have long considered relocating the provincial jail. He, however, said the move would take time as it would need a “large appropriation of funds.”
“We plan to relocate the provincial jail in deference to Cagayan de Oro City Council’s resolution. But because the move would entail a large appropriation of funds, about P25 million at that time, we shelved the move. But this time, it really has to be relocated outside the city,” he said.
“However, the governor needs to decide on this with the finance committee and the Sangguiniang Panlalawigan to look for ways and means to relocate the provincial jail. Looking for suitable location can be tricky since we would not want to relocate it too far out from the city because all the regional trial courts are here,” said Babiera. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)