Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Joemarie Desilao grimaces in pain as PG2 Gerald Lim nurses his gunshot wound on his waist.

Jailbird hides in IRC gutter for 3 days

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

CONTRARY to earlier reports that he made good his escape, inmate Joemarie Desilao of Anilao, Iloilo did not really make it past the walls of the Iloilo Rehabilitation Center (IRC).
In fact, Desilao spent All Saints’ Day at a rather unusual and stinky hideout – the sewer for prison and human wastes.
According to IRC Warden Juan Mabugat, utility workers Elmer Balgos and Armand Liboon and several jail guards discovered Desilao 9:30am yesterday beneath a pile of GI sheets behind the kitchen area.
The utility workers were repairing the barbed wire fence at the IRC annex building where Desilao reportedly jumped off when Balgos saw the jailbird’s head and tipped off the jail guards who escorted them.
Since Desilao was armed with the caliber .45 pistol which he took from Provincial Guard 2 Samuel Sollesta, the jail guards fired warning shots to prevent him from making any violent move.
But when PG2 Randy Rutor saw Desilao clutching the pistol, the guard shot the latter on his left waist to disable him.
“He was armed and our personnel cannot take any chances at that time so they decided to disable him,” Mabugat said.
Already weakened after three days of hunger and fatigue, the wounded Desilao surrendered to his jailers.
“It was a good thing he did not shoot back. He could have met his end if he put up a fight,” the warden added.
Jail guards brought Desilao to the Western Visayas Medical Center for treatment. Jail guards also recovered Sollesta’s pistol with three spare magazines and 18 live ammunitions.
Despite being outsmarted by the inmate three days ago, Mabugat and the jail guards were amused over how the inmate endured the smelly sewers aside from lack of food and sleep.
“Wala sya mahadluk sa matabu sa iya kung nga nag-palagas sya sa sagwa sang prisohan. Pero sa bahu kag gutom wala sya mahimu (He was not threatened by the consequences if he gave a chase. But he was not able to stand the stink and hunger),” a jail guard said.
Mabugat said they inspected Desilao’s refuge the other day after one of the jail guards on duty reported that they heard crashing sounds when the jailbird scaled the IRC wall near the new provincial capitol building.
“But he was well-hidden behind the G.I. sheets that is why we failed to find him during the first search. Maybe he went out due to hunger and exhaustion. Imagine not eating and drinking clean water for three days. Mabaho pa ang kanal (the sewer is also stinky),” Mabugat said.
However, Mabugat said the investigation on Sollesta and other jail guards will continue despite Desilao’s recapture.
In fact, Mabugat already submitted to Gov. Niel Tupas his recommendation to preventively suspend Sollesta and fellow guards Rodolfo Picara, Rodolfo Abordo, Herver Piola, Noel Villavicencio and Febe Villanueva once the investigation begins.
The warden added he is also willing to go on leave to give way to the investigation.
Meanwhile, Tupas said he has tasked provincial legal Salvador Cabaluna to lead the investigating body.
Tupas, Cabaluna and Mabugat also discussed yesterday the preventive suspension of the six jail guards.
“Someone has to answer for this escape. We will find out if who is liable for this,” Tupas said.
Desilao’s recapture shadowed the discovery of the body of Ildefonso Pillano, 65, of Barangay Layog, Maasin, Iloilo.
Pillano was found dead inside the bathroom of the IRC main building 7am yesterday.
Mabugat said Pillano may have died to cardiac arrest while taking a bath. Aside from the wound on his head, IRC personnel said the inmate’s body showed no signs of foul play.
“It is impossible that there was foul play in his death since his cellmate is his own grandson,” Mabugat said.
Still, Mabugat requested an autopsy on Pillano’s remains.
Pillano was detained in February last year for killing his own daughter. (Published in the Nov. 3, 2005 issue of The Guardian, Iloilo City)


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