KIDAPAWAN CITY—A jailed drug lord financed the assault of the Cotabato District Jail that resulted in the escape of 158 inmates last Jan. 3, Cotabato Gov. Shirlyn Macasarte-Villanueva said Tuesday.
Villanueva named the moneyed inmate as Melvin Casangyao, alias “Hapon,” who allegedly paid the group of a certain Esmael Nasser, alias Commander Derby, to “rescue” him from the prison facility.
Nasser is the leader of a ragtag bandit group based in Kabacan town who was a former NCDJ inmate who escaped last year.
According to Villanueva, Casangyao contracted Nasser the sum of P1 million for the attack on the penitentiary.
The governor said the “deal” included an additional P1 million and two M60 machine guns should the mission to get Casangyao out of jail succeed.
Villanueva is certain that the attack was drug-related based on record that 94 of the 158 inmates who escaped were facing drug charges.
The provincial government has offered a bounty of P2 million for the recapture of Casangyao and another P1 million for the arrest of Nasser.
Added to this, the official also offered P10,000 each for the remaining 98 inmates who remain at large. The provincial council approved the bounties for the escapees.
Currently, a total of 49 escapees were recaptured, 10 died and one was wounded during the continuing military and police pursuit operations.