Protesting inmates free jail officer

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PRISON DRAMA Tied and blindfolded, SJO3 Samuel Sunico waits for the result of the negotiation while being held hostage by inmates of the Cotabato provincial jail in Kidapawan City. CARLO AGAMON/INQUIRER MINDANAO

KIDAPAWAN CITY—After more than three hours of negotiations, inmates demanding better food and “less strict” visiting rules at the Cotabato provincial jail freed a prison social welfare and development officer whom they held hostage.

“Yes, we are all prisoners here, but we still deserve to be treated the way they treat people outside jail,” an inmate who requested anonymity said.

They were being given spoiled food meals and relatives who visit them are “almost naked” when frisked by guards, he said.

The protesters released SJO3 Samuel Sunico after jail officials gave assurance that their demands would be considered, said Insp. Dionisio Inso, the acting warden.

Their leader, Felix Capala, said they had been complaining for months, but it seemed that the jail management did not care. The facility, which was built for 300, has around 860.

“I was surprised when I saw some inmates grabbing the hands of Sunico,” Capala said. The officer was leading the morning exercise when he was seized, blindfolded and tied to a chair.

No one was reported hurt in the incident. Carlo Agamon, Inquirer Mindanao

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