Escape attempt eyed in Parañaque jail blast
An apparent grenade explosion killed 10 inmates and injured the warden of the Parañaque City Jail Thursday evening, in what could have been an attempted jailbreak gone awry, the city’s police chief said Friday morning.
In an interview with the Inquirer, Senior Supt. Jose Carumba, Parañaque police chief, said that they are investigating whether or not the 10 inmates who died in the blast had actually tried to escape from prison by first seeking a dialogue with the warden, Supt. Gerald Bantag, regarding their scheduled cell transfer.
Carumba said the 10 prisoners, eight of whom were imprisoned of drug-related crimes and the other two for robbery and homicide, had set a meeting with Bantag at 8 p.m. Thursday inside the warden’s office. According to Bantag, he was brushing his teeth inside the adjacent bathroom when he noticed a “commotion” among the inmates who were waiting in the receiving area.
“Bantag said he heard a gunshot which prompted him to grab his 9-mm pistol. He said the inmates kept firing at him, so he kept firing back as he tried to make his way out of his office. It was then that the grenade exploded,” said Carumba.
Eight of the inmates—Waren Manampen, Ronald Domdom, Rodel Domdom, Danilo Pineda, Joseph Villasor, Oliver Sarreal, Jeremy Flores and Jonathan Ilas–died on the spot, said Carumba. Jacky Huang and Yonghan Cai, Chinese nationals who were both imprisoned for violating the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, were rushed to the nearby Ospital ng Parañaque but were declared dead on arrival.
Bantag, on the other hand, suffered lacerations on his left leg and face caused by shrapnel from the blast, Carumba added.
Carumba said that earlier this week, he had met with Bantag, during which the warden mentioned that he wanted to conduct a thorough inspection of the jail because of reports of contraband coming in.
This could have been the reason for the planned transfer of the 10 inmates, who could also have gotten word about the inspection, prompting them to attempt escape, said Carumba.
“Maybe they planned to take the warden hostage, but during the commotion, the grenade exploded [prematurely],” he said.
The police chief said that aside from investigating the blast on Thursday evening, they would also look into how the inmates were able to acquire an automatic submachine gun, which they had used that night to fire at Bantag. CDG
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