AN drug raid inside the Davao City Jail past 3 a.m. on Saturday turned bloody when some prisoners locked themselves up inside their cells, refused to heed orders to yield and started shooting at officers with their homemade guns triggering a firefight that left four of them dead and at least three police officers wounded, officials said yesterday.
The incident took place shortly after combined agents of the Police Regional Office 11, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Davao City Police Office, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Regional Mobile Force Battalion and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency raided the Ma-a Davao City Jail around 3:20 a.m. Saturday.
PRO11 director Chief Superintendent Marcelo C. Morales said the operation dubbed “Coplan: Durian Wall” was aimed to seize suspected drugs, weapons and other contraband hidden inside the sprawling prison.
Morales said the initial search led to the recovery of various drug paraphernalia and other illegal contraband.
A random drug testing of the inmates and the jail guards themselves was also conducted, he said.
As a result, nine prisoners and BJMP Chief Inspector Roman Hernandez whom Morales described as a “high-value” drug target since he is the provincial jail administrator of the Davao del Sur BJMP, all tested positive for substance abuse.
Morales said around 10:30 in the morning, while security forces were taking the inmates one by one at the Cell No. 18 of the BJMP Annex Building for a body search, cell search and random drug test, four inmates -- later identified as Alvin Celis, Dexter Delfino, Flor Leonard Retsuro and Jerry Fernandez -- intentionally remained behind.
He said when ordered to get out of their cell one by one, one of the prisoners suddenly pulled out a home-made shotgun called “sumpak” and shot Police Officer 2 Cameros.
The bullet hit the lawman’s bullet-proof vest, and he returned fire.
Morales said the rest of the policemen tried to secure the other inmates but instead of cooperating, they drew bladed weapons and violently attacked the policemen who were forced to retaliate.
Morales said the clash injured three police officers. PO2 dela Fuente was stabbed in the stomach, Police Officer 1 Vincent Lomijo was slashed in his forearm while PO2 Cameros was hospitalized with minor body injuries after a bullet hole punctured his armored vest.
Morales said the four prisoners were taken to a local hospital where they were declared dead upon arrival by an attending physician due to gunshot wounds in their bodies.
Cell No. 18 yielded 10 live 9mm cartridges, three home-made shotguns, one of them still having a live M-16 ammunition in its chamber, three stainless knives, one weighing scale, assorted disposable lighters, three sling shots, several used aluminum foils, one improvised tooter and an estimated P154,000 worth of suspected shabu.