Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Police search for escaped Ampatuan ally in Mindanao

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 17, 2010) – Police launched a manhunt Wednesday to track down a former cop who an ally of a powerful political clan implicated in the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao province after he escaped from jail in the southern Philippines.

Police forces were hunting down Piang Adam who escaped from the Sultan Kudarat provincial jail.

Adam, who was the former chief of police of Maguindanao province, was arrested in December after security forces seized from his house about a dozen automatic rifles in Sultan Kudarat after President Gloria Arroyo declared martial law in the province as well as in Maguindanao, after the brutal murders in November 23 of 57 people, including at least 31 journalists.

It was unknown how Adam was able to escaped, but police said it is investigating four prison guards.

“We are planning to detail a team of PNP personnel in the jail to prevent escape of prisoners,” said regional police chief Josefino Cataluna.

PNP is the acronym of the Philippine National Police.

Adam was last seen inside his prison cell on Tuesday afternoon and was reported missing the next morning. Several policemen also linked to the murders are also detained in the jail.

Datu unsay town mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. was arrested after the massacre. He was accused of leading more than 100 gunmen in the gruesome murders of the 57 people in Maguindanao’s Ampatuan town.

Among those killed in the attack was the wife of Buluan town vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, Ampatuan’s rival.

Ampatuan’s father and namesake, and brothers and other clan members were also arrested and are facing multiple murder charges in connection with the killings. The Ampatuans all denied involvement in the murders.

Authorities recovered more than a thousand assorted light artillery and heavy infantry weapons and hundreds of thousands of munitions in the town after President Gloria Arroyo declared martial law in Maguindanao after the massacre. (Mindanao Examiner)

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