This feels like an “only in the Philippines” story, although to be sure, who kows whether this might happen somewhere else or not? The situation is so unprecedented, anything is possible.
So, remember back on Day 1 and 2 of the typhoon when the reports came out that Filipino prisoners had escaped from the prison in Tacloban?
Well, it turns out that a lot of them have started returning to jail, many after helping their families.
In fact, according Agence France Press (AFP) nearly half of the escapees have returned.
PALO – Nearly half of the detainees who escaped from a flooded jail at the height of Super Typhoon Haiyan have returned, many after helping their families deal with the storm’s aftermath.
There were nearly 600 detainees at the Leyte Provincial Jail when the typhoon, one of the strongest ever to make landfall, flattened dozens of towns across the islands of Leyte and Samar on November 8.
The winds ripped off the roof of the prison, which houses detainees who are on trial, while gushing water from the mountains sent flash floods into the isolated complex near the ruined coastal town of Palo.
Prison guard Fidencio Abrea told AFP all of the detainees escaped as head-high water forced them to clamber up the prison grills and then over into stormy freedom, with no roof to contain them.
Abrea said the guards were themselves sheltering from the howling wind and powerful rains, so did not notice the mass escape.
But he said 251 prisoners had come back, and were now being housed in a section of the complex that suffered minor damage.
Returnees interviewed by AFP said their immediate concern after escaping was to check on or help loved ones, and that they came back because they did not want to ruin their chances of being exonerated at trial.
“I returned because I want my freedom to be legal,” said Renato Comora, 47, who is on trial for murder.