Cops alerted as 61 bolt Agusan jail

- Cecille Suerte Felipe, Jaime Laude () - March 2, 2001 - 12:00am
Policemen in southern and northern Mindanao were placed on high alert following the escape of 61 prisoners from the Agusan del Sur provincial jail Wednesday night.

As of yesterday, pursuing lawmen have killed two of the escapees and recaptured four others whom they chased under heavy rains.

Among those who escaped in the mass jailbreak was identified as Noel Labial alias Masoy, said to be a ranking member of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Reports reaching Camp Crame yesterday identified the convicts killed as Mario Libres and Rolando Macia, who were jailed for murder and rape, respectively.

Those recaptured, on the other hand, were Rolando Galco, Allan Maghinay, Conrado Olabinez and Leonardo Gener, all facing murder and rape charges.

Acting Philippine National Police chief Deputy Director General Leandro Mendoza has ordered police forces in Mindanao as well as in the Visayas to pursue the prisoners.

The inmates escaped through a 10-meter tunnel they had dug from under one of the cell blocks. Radio reports quoted jail warden Alexander Alaan as saying that the convicts took advantage of the strong rains Wednesday night to escape.

The jail facility is located at Barangay Patin-ay in the capital town of Prosperidad.

Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Jose Lina ordered all policemen, firefighters and jailguards to refrain from joining campaign sorties of local and national candidates in the May 14 elections.

Lina said all men in uniform must be apolitical and must carry out their duty without favoring anybody, particularly politicians seeking local and national posts in the coming polls.

Lina issued the order following reports that former PNP chief Panfilo Lacson is using active policemen as security men in his campaign sorties in Zamboanga City.

The said reports also mentioned that Lacson’s police escorts were even seen using government vehicles.

"Under the law, these policemen could be held liable for engaging in partisan politics," Lina said.

ACTING PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE ALEXANDER ALAAN ALLAN MAGHINAY BARANGAY PATIN CAMP CRAME CONRADO OLABINEZ AND LEONARDO GENER DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL LEANDRO MENDOZA INTERIOR SECRETARY JOSE LINA MARIO LIBRES AND ROLANDO MACIA MINDANAO NEW PEOPLE
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