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COTABATO CITY, Philippines -- (UPDATE 2 - 10:41 a.m.) A notorious bandit leader and 10 other inmates bolted the Maguindanao provincial jail located here before dawn Tuesday, the city police chief said.
Senior Supt. Danny Reyes said Datukan Samad alias Commander Lastikman was among those who escaped the jail after sawing off with a hacksaw the iron grill of the bathroom located inside the detention cell.
The incident was discovered by the guard on duty at 1:30 a.m.
Samad, considered a high-profile suspect and is facing charges of kidnapping, cattle rustling, multiple murders, and highway robberies, was transferred from Kidapawan City for security reasons.
Reyes said as of this posting, two escapees have been recaptured while the rest, including Samad, remain at large.
Aside from Samad, the other escapees were identified as Anwar Maguid, Dahad Daginan, Abel Unsing, Kegkim Omar, Bong Usop, Siki Pilas, Ogie Kimbaw, Ampoy Kimbaw, Saipuna Baulo, and Basco Puas.
It was unclear who the recaptured escapees were.
Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said the jailbreak highlights the need for all jails to be placed under the control of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) instead of local government units.
Robredo said the BJMP has the capability, technical know-how, equipment and personnel to manage inmates.
Provincial, city and municipal jails, which are manned by personnel appointed either by governors or mayors, are usually supervised by untrained or ill-equipped personnel.
These make them vulnerable to jailbreaks.
“If we could place all these local jails under the BJMP, its management would be professionalized,” Robredo said.
Transferring jails to the BJMP would also unburden LGUs.
Robredo said he was verifying if any of the escapees are suspects in the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan massacre, in which 58 persons, including 32 media workers, died.