• BJMP officials sacked over Kidapawan jail break

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    SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: Two ranking officials of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) were removed from their posts on Tuesday, five days after a bloody attack by suspected members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on the North Cotabato District Jail (NCDJ) in Kidapawan City.

    Senior Insp. Xavier Solda, BJMP spokesman, identified the two officials as Senior Supt. Alberto Balauag, BJMP 12 regional director, and Supt. Peter John Bongngat, NCDJ provincial warden.

    Assigned to replace Balauag was Senior Supt. Joel Superficial while Chief Insp. Jesus Singson took over Bongngat’s post.

    Solda said the BJMP action was based on a recommendation of North Cotabato acting Gov. Shirlyn Macasarte-Villanueva to ensure an impartial investigation of the mass jailbreak last January 4.

    A total of 158 inmates scampered out of their cells when about 100 armed men stormed the jail facility reportedly to “rescue” their detained comrades.

    As of Tuesday, only 58 had been accounted for, 10 of them killed during a massive manhunt.

    The two inmates who were injured are confined in the hospital and the 46 recaptured were sent back to jail.

    The provincial jail was originally a 1970-era school campus with no further renovations made on its technical design as a jail facility to secure inmates.

    Meanwhile, Provincial Board Member Socrates Piñol has urged Villanueva to immediately work out the transfer of the provincial jail anywhere far from the vicinity of the provincial capitol in Barangay Amas.

    The recent jailbreak from the same facility was the third incident in about 10 years, with two recent attacks that sprang a number of inmates, including suspects in deadly bombings in the province.

    Piñol said for security reasons, the provincial jail should be relocated to the outskirts of Kidapawan City or to nearby municipalities in North Cotabato.

    “We have a local government secretary [Ismael Sueno] from South Cotabato and a President [Rodrigo Duterte] who is from Davao City. They both surely know the deeper intricacies of the issue,” Piñol added.

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