An inmate who escaped from the Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) in 1996 and led his life as a fugitive through some 23 years was recently recaptured by the penal facility’s Fugitive Recovery Team (FRT).
The ICF in a statement released Tuesday said the fugitive, identified as Juanito Lawan, was arrested in his “safe house” in Green Island, Roxas by members of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
ICF Supt. Raul Levita said that a new formal complaint will be filed against Lawan for Evasion of Service of Sentence (ESS).
Levi Evangelista, ICF spokesperson, said that the arrest of the fugitive happened because of a tip that came from a informant.
Lawan was reportedly doing a 5-year jail time for illegal fishing when escaped.
Evangelista said that when Lawan was re-arrested, he told them that he did not intend to escape and that his decision was “unintentional.”
“Nakausap ko siya noon. Unintentional lang naman ‘yong pagtakas niya noon. Medyo nakainom, nakatulog, hindi na siya nakabalik,” he said.
He added that even during those times, inmates were allowed to freely roam around the prison facilities.
“Maliit lang din kasi sentensya niya , illegal fishing, hindi naman talaga dapat ikatakas. Pero talagang noon kapag sinabing Iwahig ay pagala-gala lang yong inmates,” he said.
He said that Lawan will be made to serve the remainder of his sentence and a probable additional jail time in ruled by a judge.
“Depende naman yon, isasampa lang namin sa court then depende kasi sa korte na ang magdi-decide kung ilan na ‘yong additional sentence pero hindi naman siya nag-resist nong arrest,” Evangelista said.
“Pakiusap na rin nong family na i-serve ‘yong sentence kesa pagala-gala siya, di sure yong buhay nya. At least dito ay nasa amin siyang custody, umaasa na makalaya para makapiling ang kanyang apo,” he added.