87 inmates back in Tacloban jail; 94 still at large

Posted at 11/21/2013 10:08 PM

MANILA -- Eighty seven out of 181 inmates of Tacloban City Jail who escaped during the onslaught of typhoon 'Yolanda' have returned to their cells.

Some of the inmates voluntarily returned, while some waited for the police to fetch them from their homes.

Tacloban City Jail is one of the many buildings that were damaged by the storm surge that hit the city.

According to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, they had no choice but to open the gates, as the inmates were shouting for help.

"Sumisigaw sila, palabasin niyo kami dito. Mamatay kami dito. E alangan namang hayaan ko lang sila malunod dun," explained Supt. Joseph Nunez, a jail warden.

According to one of the inmates, who identified himself only as "Mang Danding", he was hesistant to go out of his cell, as he was afraid that the police would punish him.

By the time the inmates were set free, the gates of the jail had been totally damaged, and water continued to rise.

"Mang Danding" admitted that he was tempted to escape and take advantage of his freedom.

"Naisip ko yung mga kasama ko. Di naman pwede ako lang lalabas. Tinulungan ko na lang iakyat yung matatanda sa second floor," he added.

Another inmate, "Mang Melchor," made sure that his family was safe before he returned to jail.

A ship which was swept ashore by the storm surge hit his family's house. His grandfather died because of the typhoon.

Once he was sure that his family was safe, and his grandfather properly buried, he voluntarily turned himself over to the authorities.

The city government assured the public that they should not worry about the 94 other inmates that are still at large, as most of those detained in the city jail were only involved in petty crimes.

The inmates' records in the Tacloban Hall of Justice were also wiped out by the typhoon, and the city government is still looking for a solution to this problem. -- with reports from Jenny Reyes, TV Patrol