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Manhunt on for 7 escaped Quezon inmates

By Abigail Kwok
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:06:00 10/27/2008

Filed Under: Police, Prison, Armed conflict

MANILA, Philippines -- Police in Quezon province have identified the hideout of the seven alleged members of the New People?s Army (NPA) who escaped from the Quezon Provincial Jail last Saturday, after their comrades stormed the jail house and left two police officers wounded, an official said on Monday.

In a phone interview, Senior Superintendent Fidel Posadas, Quezon provincial police chief, said that police were now conducting hot pursuit operations after ?sources? helped them identify the location of the seven alleged NPA members, reportedly getting medical treatment after the encounter with police on Saturday.

?Meron na tayong sinusundang [We are now following up on a] lead. Marami na tayong pinakalat na pulis [We have deployed a lot of policemen],? he said.

But Posadas did not disclose the number of police operatives in the area for security reasons.

Quezon police have increased their visibility and check points in the area. ?Pinagiigting din natin yung ating combat patrol [We are also beefing up our combat patrol],? Posadas said.

On Saturday, seven alleged members of the NPA escaped the Quezon jail after about 20 NPA guerrillas attacked the jail house, posing as soldiers to gain access to the prisoners.

Those who escaped have been identified as Gemma Carag, Cecilia Mondia, Noel Santos, Gerson Carabido, Fernando Tawagon, Arnold Valencia, and Rogelio Monteverde -- all facing charges of murder in different provincial courts.

No reward has been offered for information leading to the escapees? arrest, Posadas said.

Meanwhile, Posadas also blamed the jailbreak to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Quezon province.

?Sa provincial jail ang responsibilidad dahil; ang responsibilidad mag guwardiya ay provincial jail [The responsibility is with the provincial jail because the responsibility to guard is with them],? Posadas said.

Jail warden Archimedes Mortiz has been sacked, together with 14 other jail officers who were there during the escape.



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