Cotabato inmates hold jail guard hostage


AMAS, Kidapawan City: Inmates at the North Cotabato Provincial Jail here held hostage a jail guard today (Monday) to demand fair treatment from their management.

The hostage drama began at around 6 a.m. today with leaders of the 834 inmates telling through local broadcast media of their hostage-taking of Senior Jail Guard Officer II Samuel Sunico to press for redress from alleged abuses inside the prison facility.

Inmate-leaders represented by one Felix untied Sunico from a chair, removed his blindfold and freed him four hours later after North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza through her emissaries vowed to address their grievances starting with a thorough investigation.

At the height of brief negotiation, Senior Supt. Danny Peralta, North Cotabato police director, ordered troopers to cordon the prison facility to prevent external forces from intervening.

A fire truck and ambulance units were also made ready should the hostage drama take a turn for the worse.

The inmates yielded a two-page list containing 14 complaints ranging from alleged feeding of spoiled food, indecent physical search of female visitors to favoritism by jail guards, among others.

Journalists learned that a mess officer of the provincial jail facility sought an official transfer to another assignment because of alleged “excessive cut” in the prisoners’ meal budget.

“Inmates are also human beings. They also have rights . . . We will look into their grievances and help provide what is due them,” an emissary of Gov. Taliño-Mendoza quoted her as conveying at yesterday’s brief negotiation.


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