A SECURITY guard was injured during a riot inside the Operation Second Chance Center (OSCC) yesterday morning.
Dioscoro Lariosa, 36, suffered bruises and a cut on his finger after 14 inmates, some of them minors, mauled him past 9 a.m.
"They escaped by breaking down our padlock and ran out of their cell dorm. They were afraid they'd be transferred to the main jail because they had broken many house rules and policies and because they are no longer minors," said OSCC Executive Director Merlina Metante.
Metante said that some of them are already between 18 and 20.
"What they did will be reported to the court and that may delay their release from the center," she said.
Lariosa said that he and the other detailed police officers maintained high tolerance during the melee.
"They taunted us and they hit me because they got angry when I tried to stop them from going out," he said.
A few moments later, policemen from the Guadalupe Police Station and the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) arrived to break up the commotion.
A security camera captured the inmates throwing chairs and stones at the gate and the other security detail.
Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, deputy mayor for police matters, said that they will impose stricter security in the center.
"It was their diversionary plan because they wanted to sneak in contraband inside the center. We are still looking for that contraband," he said.
The councilor urged the court to hasten the transfer of seven of the inmates involved in the riot to the Cebu City Jail.
"Those who did this were the ones ready for transfer, the grave offenders. What we want to prevent here is harm against the other minor offenders," he said.
The inmates, in an interview, denied that they were trying to sneak in contraband to the center.
"We only wanted to get out of our cells to play basketball. We are so cramped here for one month now and some have gotten sick," one of them said.
The OSCC is managed by the Cebu City Government and houses 178 minors and children in conflict with the law.
Mayor Tomas Osmeña said it is time to analyze the situation in the facility and to check the factors that led to the riot.
The mayor told reporters that the facility was a program initiated by his wife, Councilor Margarita "Margot" Osmeña, when she was still not in public office.
The couple saw the completion of the OSCC in 2002 because she was "very concerned" about mixing minor offenders with the adults.
"(OSCC was introduced) so that the minors don't get bad habits from them (adult inmates of the adjacent Cebu City Jail) but not, apparently. This is a bad development," the mayor said. (With RTF)