SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: North Cotabato acting Gov. Shirlyn Macasarte-Villanueva on Wednesday said a detained drug lord and a Moro commander hatched the January 4 jail attack in Kidapawan City that resulted in a massive jailbreak.
Meanwhile, a special fact-finding and action committee has recommended a P1-million reward for the arrest of the alleged masterminds.
Villanueva, who led the special committee of the inter-agency provincial peace and order council that conducted an investigation of the jailbreak, said their findings showed that the daring attack was planned by Moro Commander Derby to “rescue” high-profile inmate Melvin Casangyao.
Casangyao, a known leader of a well-financed drug syndicate in the province, was the main subject of the “rescue” by Commander Derby and his armed men.
The committee also asked for P10,000 reward each for the more than 90 escapees who remain subject of ongoing massive manhunt.
The attack on the jail facility led to the escape of 158 detainees. More than 50 of them were eventually captured while 10 were killed for resisting arrest.
Commander Derby, whose real name is Ismael Nasser, was a former detainee in the facility in 2015 for drug trafficking, bombings, armed robberies and multiple murder.
He escaped in 2016 and has since remained at large.
Casangyao, a Visayan settler and known as “Hapon” among his “clients,” deals in shabu.
The probe showed that Commander Derby and his 20 fully-armed men attacked the district jail at midnight on January 3 from an open field behind the facility, located in the vicinity of the provincial capitol in Barangay Amas.
After killing the jail guard, some of them took control of the wooden makeshift watchtowers in the jail compound while their cohorts helped Casangyao escape.
“Commander Derby was even heard asking his men if they already have ‘Hapon’ in tow. When his men answered in the affirmative, he ordered them to leave ahead immediately,” Villanueva said.
According to her, their findings were based on statements of witnesses to the jail attack, among them recaptured escapees.
A source of The Manila Times said the attack was mounted for monetary consideration.
According to the information, Casangyao promised Commander Derby P1 million to spring him from the North Cotabato jail.