Seven prisoners with the help of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels escaped a provincial jail in Lucena, Quezon Province Saturday night, officials said.
According to the reports, the incident happened at around 6:15 pm when four vans with interchanged license plates arrived. The rebels were dressed up with uniforms bearing initials of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit and press. The operation lasted no more than 10 minutes.
Four firearms were taken from the jail guards including a .45 pistol, super caliber.38 pistol and a .38 revolver after being locked inside a room. The rebels then took the ride to the vans after securing the freedom of the inmates.
Initial investigations said that the primary objective of the rebels is to free their imprisoned colleagues which happened to be officials of the group.
Five of the 7 inmates were identified as Gemma Carag, Cecilia Mondia, Noel Santos, Fernando Tawagon and Arnold Valencia. Reports confirmed that they are members of the NPA Komiteng Probinsya Quezon.
According to the investigators, Carag and Santos are the alleged secretaries of the NPA-Quezon provincial unit while Mondia is said to be the organizer.
The Quezon Provincial Police is now in full alert status as ordered by Sr. Supt. Fidel Posadas. Pursuit operations are on-going in search for the fleeing rebels.
The two other inmates who were freed were Gerson Carabido and Rogelio Monteverde all facing criminal charges such as murder, frustrated murder, kidnapping and rebellion charges.
Meanwhile, Quezon Governor Rafael Nantes ordered the relief of the two jail officials and 14 other guards who were on duty when the incident occurred.