‘Rebels not involved in jail attack’

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INTERIOR Secretary Ismael Sueno has absolved the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) of any liability in Wednesday’s jailbreak in North Cotabato.

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Sueno said he believes the MILF’s claim that its members were not involved in the jail attack.

The Cabinet official said he had spoken to Sammy Almanzor, chief of staff of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, who pledged support to the government troops in pursuit of the fugitives.

Sueno said the MILF had also denied reports that a Commander Derbi led the attack on the facility that resulted in the jailbreak. He said the rebel group denied having a member who goes by that name.

Sueno said he also called up MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar, who likewise denied the involvement of MILF members in the incident.

“He’s also a friend. So sabi niya, ‘Wala, we are not involved.’ I believe them, I believe them,” the Interior secretary told reporters in Malacañang.

A total of 158 inmates escaped the North Cotabato District Jail when more than a hundred armed men attacked the facility around 1 a.m. on Wednesday. Jail Officer 1 Excell Ray Vecido was killed in the attack.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said 12 of the 158 prisoners who escaped from the jail in Barangay Amas, Kidapawan City have been rearrested.

Supt. Emmanuel Peralta, North Cotabato police director, said that since Thursday morning, five of the escapees have been killed and two were wounded during hot-pursuit operations conducted by the North Cotabato PNP, Provincial Public Safety Forces, Regional Public Safety Battalion 12, the PNP Special Action Force and the Army’s 39th and 7th Infantry Battalions.

Peralta said the 158 inmates who escaped were facing various cases like violation of Republic Act (RA) 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Inmates rearrested and facing charges for violation of RA 9165 were Jason Angkanan, Joselito Tomines, Miguel Antipuesto Canete and Mohammad Mama.

Others were Wennie Curimo Rota who is facing a charge for frustrated murder; Faisal Tiburon, robbery; Jerome Oguit, rape, and Roli Dinampo, Faisal Bansilan and Ginda Angkil, who had unspecified criminal charges.

Peralta said two escapees were under the custody of Matalam Municipal Police Station. They were Richel Vales Flores, and Joreste Robles Perdido.

The Cotabato Provincial Police Office (CPPO) however listed six dead on the part of the fugitives: Joey Aranas, Allan Jay Fabro Tolentino, Edfel Bautista Liscano, Rapacon Dimawan Ambolodto, Mohammad Mama and Ray Ferraren Cedeno.

Including Satar Mamalundong, a village councilman of Barangay Patadon, Matalam, North Cotabato who was killed by government forces for allegedly helping the escapees, the number of fatalities is seven.

Two inmates who were wounded were confined at the Cotabato Provincial Hospital for treatment. They were identified as Peter John Ararao and Johnmeir Selgas.

The manhunt resulted in injuries for Sorelo Quino, a resident of Sitio Puas Inda, Barangay Amas, Kidapawan City.

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