‘Well-funded’ tunnel in CDO prison probed

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/18 Nov) – Authorities have agreed to zero-in on the lead that the “well-funded” tunnel beneath the city jail at Barangay Lumbia discovered last Tuesday was designed to “rescue a high profile inmate.”

In the City Council’s committee on police, fire and public safety inquiry, councilor Ramon Tabor told Supt. Clint Russel Tangeres, jail warden of the city jail at Lumbia, that it is counter-productive to play the blame game and instead focus on the high profile inmates who could finance the digging of the tunnel.

“We don’t want to blame anybody here because this incident has serious repercussions to the city and the BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology). As you’ve said that the tunnel was well-funded then let’s zero-in on the lead that the tunnel is intended to rescue a high profile inmate,” said Tabor.

Committee chair Ian Mark Nacaya concurs with Tabor as he does not believe the Batang Mindanao (BM 29) gang could afford to finance the digging.

Tangeres told the city councilors that tunnel would lead directly to the cell blocks of Batang Mindanao gang members, Batman gang, and the Reception and Diagnostic Center (RDC) that holds high profile convicts that include the two Swedish nationals serving life imprisonment for human trafficking, two Chinese nationals serving life for drug trafficking and a police officer arrested for rape and drug trafficking.

He also said they transported 47 inmates – including the two Swedish nationals and the police officer arrested for rape and drug trafficking – to the Davao Penal Colony early this morning to serve the rest of their sentences.

“The transport of inmates was planned a month ago and we are still waiting for the transfer orders of 10 other high risk and high profile inmates,” said Tangeres.

Councilor Roger Abaday, who is a criminologist in profession, suggested that Tangeres and the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office coordinate with Iligan City Police since the caretakers, Charlie and Albert Laguna, brought in for questioning last Tuesday were both from Iligan.

When asked by the councilors what measures he has taken since the discovery of the tunnel, Tangeres said they have already “doubled their alertness, extended their inspection area to 500 meters from the jail facility’s perimeter fence and established closer linkage with local police and community for intelligence gathering.” (Cong B. Corrales / MindaNews)