Murder suspect strolls out of Philippine jail

Featured South East Asia - May 3rd, 2013

A murder suspect casually walked out from a Philippine jail on Thursday, leaving authorities shame-faced over the slip.

Cezar Mancao, a former policeman, charged with murder over the killings of well-known publicist Salvador Dacer and his driver in 2000, strolled out of a detention center in Manila before dawn, authorities said.

Mancao was caught by security cameras and footage shows him calmly leaving the supposedly heavily secured facility with a bag carrying his personal belongings. Two prison guards who allegedly helped him leave have been detained, reports AFP.

“His escape is a big slap to the bureau’s face,” National Bureau of Investigation director Nonnatus Rojas told reporters after confirming the escape.

Mancao then spoke with national television and radio stations after he bolted from prison, in another jab at Philippine law enforcers.

He explained to media that he fled because he was scared for his life. “I reached the point where I could not take it any more,” he repeatedly said in the interviews.

Mancao had been jailed since 2009 before he escaped. Another policeman, Michael Ray Aquino, was also charged with the murder and remains in prison. Both accused were proteges of then-national police chief Panfilo Lacson, now a senator, who allegedly ordered the killing of Dacer.

NBI deputy director Reynaldo Esmeralda said manhunt operations are now ongoing and claimed he himself has been exchanging text messages with Mancao, urging him to surrender peacefully.