GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 10 Nov) – Jail personnel in South Cotabato province have launched a manhunt against a murder suspect who escaped from their custody while gathering firewood over the weekend.
Felicito Gumapac, officer-in-charge of the South Cotabato provincial jail, confirmed the escape on Monday, saying they have already activated their recovery team to lead the manhunt operations against the suspect identified as Kayong Dasan.
Gumapac said Dasan, 37, slipped past his escorts in Barangay Rang-ay in Banga town around 5 p.m. last Saturday.
Gumapac said the escapee was one of the jail’s trustees-inmates who were tapped by their personnel to help gather firewood in Banga town.
“Our recovery team is now tracking down the escapee and is also negotiating with his relatives to facilitate his surrender,” he said in a radio interview.
Gumapac said Dasan is an inmate at the provincial jail in Koronadal City in the last seven years and eight months and is awaiting the conclusion of a murder case that had been filed against him.
He said the escapee was made a trustee four years ago and they never had a problem with him until his escape last Saturday.
Jail authorities designate inmates as trustees after proving that they can be trusted to do certain duties, show on time as requested and of low or no risk for escape.
Gumapac said Dasan’s appointment as trustee and assignment to duties outside the jail is backed by an order from the Regional Trial Court’s Branch 26 in Koronadal City.
The official said they tapped anew Dasan in gathering firewood last Saturday in Barangay Rang-ay in Banga as he was a resident of the area.
He said Dasan is the regular chainsaw operator of the team assigned to gather firewood for the jail.
After completing their work last Saturday, Gumapac said Dasan asked permission from his escort identified as Provincial Guard 1 Abraham Imperial to use the comfort room of a nearby house.
They allowed Dasan some time to relieve himself but failed to return within the 15-minute allotted time.
Upon checking the toilet, Dasan was no longer there or within its vicinity.
“We immediately alerted the Banga police station and the barangay council regarding his escape and to help us in the manhunt,” he said.
Gumapac said officials of Barangay Rang-ay and the escapee’s relatives have signified to help track him down and negotiate his surrender.
“They think he’s only having some problems and will surrender soon,” he added.