4 escapees recaptured in Sarangani

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 Feb) — Police and jail operatives separately recaptured on Thursday the four inmates who bolted the Malapatan District Jail in Sarangani Province in a violent jailbreak Wednesday night.

Chief Insp. Felixberto Gabayeron, Malapatan police chief, said Friday the suspects were recovered in the outskirts of Barangays Poblacion and Tuyan in Malapatan through the help of village officials and residents.

He said escapee Gerald Lipasana was initially spotted by residents early Thursday while fleeing at the upland portion of Barangay Tuyan.

Lipasana, who is facing car theft charges, later surrendered to responding barangay officials, he said.

Gabayeron said the suspect was turned over at around 10:30 a.m. by barangay council members of Tuyan to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)-run district jail.

At around 1 p.m., he said Barangay Tuyan’s “tanods” or watchmen and a police tracker team captured escapee Romnick Poster, who is a suspect in a murder case, at another portion of the village.

Several hours later, joint police and BJMP tracker teams re-arrested the two other escapees — Ronald Uppos and Roberto Caratayco — near the boundary of Malapatan and Glan towns, he said.

Uppos is facing theft charges while Caratayco is being tried for attempted rape.

“They’re now back at the Malapatan district jail, undergoing investigation,” Gabayeron said.

The jailbreak ensued after two trustee-inmates identified as Ronald Uppos and Roberto Caratayco disarmed and took the lockup keys from duty jail guard Jail Officer 1 Sofreme Autor at around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The suspects then hastily opened one of the jail’s cells, freeing six other inmates.

One of the inmates identified as Mod Lakim tried to disarm another jail guard but was shot during the struggle by responding policemen. Lakim later died due to gunshot wounds on his head and chest.

Three other inmates identified as Jerry Villota, Jerald Caballes and Mitchel Macaso were wounded during the incident.

Citing accounts by Lipasana, Gabayeron said the inmates had planned the jailbreak for about two months.

He said the escapee pointed to Lakim as the brains behind the incident.

Senior Supt. Daniel Dequito, BJMP Region 12 director, credited the recovery of the suspects to the joint efforts of the police and BJMP tracker teams.

He said the swift recapture of the suspects also showed that their tracking strategies are effective and in place.

“We were able to get all the escapees within 24 hours,” Dequito said in a radio interview.

The official said they will continue with the administrative proceedings and investigation on the incident, focusing on the determination of lapses committed by their personnel.

“Our jail guards definitely committed some lapses, that’s why the jailbreak happened. Rest assured that anyone who will be found liable would be sanctioned accordingly,” he added. (MindaNews)