P2-M bounty for arrest of suspected mastermind

KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato -- The Provincial Government has offered a bounty of P2 million for the arrest of a high-profile inmate who is believed to have financed the January 4 attack on the North Cotabato District Jail that allowed 158 detainees to escape.

North Cotabato acting Governor Sherlyn Macasarte Villanueva said the Provincial Board has approved the cash reward for the recapture of Melvin Casangyao alias “Hapon,” a suspected drug lord imprisoned at the facility.

The government will also offer P1 million for the arrest of Esmael Nasser alias Commander Derby, who allegedly carried out the attack and "rescue" of Casangyao. For the arrest of the remaining 98 inmates who are still at large, the government will give a reward of P10,000 each.

Villanueva also confirmed Tuesday the relief of two officials of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) over the incident, considered one of the biggest jailbreaks in the country.

Relieved from their posts pending an investigation were Senior Superintendent Alberto Balauag, regional director of BJMP in Central Mindanao, and NCDJ warden Superintendent Peter Bongat.

Armed men attacked the jail on January 4 and allowed the inmates to escape. Forty-nine inmates have been recaptured, while 15 others were killed during the pursuit operations. A jail officer was also killed during the attack.

The BJMP, together with the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, are conducting continuous operations against the remaining inmates who remain at large. (PNA/Sunnex)

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