'Missing' Bilibid inmate escaped maximum security with ease - police | Inquirer News

‘Missing’ Bilibid inmate escaped maximum security with ease – police

/ 09:40 AM August 18, 2023

Police say the "missing" inmate just "casually" walked out of Bilibid's maximum security compound

National Bilibid Prison. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — Escaping from prison is daunting.

But for Michael Cataroja, it was a stroll in the park – or, bluntly, a casual walk out of New Bilibid Prison (NBP): He joined visitors leaving the facility late last month.


How the inmate – initially reported missing on July 15 and later mistaken as the decapitated body discovered inside the septic tank on July 27 – managed to slip out of the country’s main penitentiary was revealed by a police official on Friday.


“Casual lang daw siyang [Michael Cataroja] lumabas sa maximum security. Sumabay lang sa dalaw. Kasi daw po araw ng dalaw, eh nakisabay lang po siya,” Angono municipal police station chief Major Lauro Moratillo said in a radio interview on Radyo 630, citing Cataroja’s amazing account.

(He said he stepped out of the maximum security casually. Just went along visitors. Because it was visitation day, he just went along.)

READ: Human body parts found in Bilibid septic tank

Moratillo also said that Cataroja claimed to have found a person of his height and used a ballpen to make a fake stamp mark for NBP visitors.

“Sabi nga po niya sa kanyang salaysay, naghanap siya ng kasing-height niya, nakisabay rin po siya, at yung tatak – ‘pag papasok po tayo sa Bilibid prison, tinatatakan po tayo, may tatak dun, ‘yun po ginaya niya po sa pamamagitan ng ballpen,” the Angono police official added.

(He said in his statement that he looked for someone as tall as him, he went along, and the stamp when we enter the Bilibid prison, they put a stamp on visitors, there’s a stamp there, he imitated that using a ballpoint pen.)


READ: Coast Guard unit joins search for missing Bilibid inmate

On Thursday, members of the Angono police captured Cataroja in Barangay San Isidro.

Bureau of Corrections chief Director General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has already ordered an investigation to find out how Cataroja escaped from NBP’s maximum security compound.

Cataroja was convicted of violating the Anti-Fencing Law and is currently on trial for car theft.

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READ: NBI: Bone found in BuCor septic tank ‘consistent with a chicken leg bone’

TAGS: Bilibid, Escape, Inmate, NBP, Police, Rizal

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