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53 escapees recaptured

Fifty three of the 158 inmates who escaped in last Wednesday’s attack by armed men at the North Cotabato Provincial Jail (NCPJ) have now been recaptured by combined elements of the country’s elite law enforcers.

Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) spokesman Xavier Ronda said eight of the recaptured escapees were killed as they fought it out with their pursuers. Meantime two of the fugitives as confined in a hospital after sustaining injuries.

On orders of BJMP chief Serafin Barretto, Ronda said the agency in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will continue its hot pursuit of the remaining 105 escapees.

The BJMP appealed to relatives and kin of the escapees to convince them to surrender than to fight it out with the law enforcers to spare them from further harm. However, there remains no shoot to kill order on the escapees during manhunt except when the fugitives resist and endanger the lives of the pursuing law enforcers.

More than 100 heavily armed men attacked the jail facility at 1:15 a.m. on Wednesday that allowed the inmates to bolt their prison cells.

During the attack Jail Officer 1 Excell Ray Vicedo was killed due to a chest wound that he sustained during the gun battle.

Responding authorities rushed Vicedo to the nearby Cotabato provincial hospital but he died a few hours after.

DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno described Vicedo and the other jail personnel on duty as true public servants after holding on to their post despite being outnumbered by the bandits.

The family of PO1 Vicedo will receive a Medalya ng Kabayanihan (posthumous award) and P10,000 cash in recognition of his valiant act. (CHITO CHAVEZ)