Mystery car inside Bilibid premises

By Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:37:00 10/11/2008

MANILA, Philippines—What was a government vehicle registered to a regional director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Mindanao doing inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City on Wednesday night?

The Philippine Daily Inquirer spotted the vehicle—a red Isuzu pickup truck with Plate No. SEW 750—a few meters away from the candle workshop through which Claudio Teehankee Jr. sneaked out to avoid members of the media who had waited for him for two days.

It was parked near a variety store on the dimly lit road leading to the Our Lady of Mercy Church.

Land Transportation Office records show that the truck belongs to the DPWH regional director in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte.

According to an NBP insider, the truck was to have brought Teehankee to the “living-out” quarters of former Zamboanga del Norte Romeo Jalosjos.

The former lawmaker is reportedly occupying a “cozy house” in Katarungan Village some three kilometers from the NBP complex. (In December 2007, then Bureau of Corrections Director Ricardo Dapat was quoted as saying that Katarungan Village was still “considered part of the NBP reservation.”)

Helping his friend

The insider said it was Jalosjos who had sent the vehicle to collect Teehankee.

“It’s easy to understand why that truck was there. Jalosjos ordered his men to help his friend ‘escape,’” the insider said, pointing out that the truck came from the former lawmaker’s legislative district.

The insider, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, said a certain Jo, a former NBP inmate, had been using the truck as his service vehicle.

He said Jo was Jalosjos’ “all-around errand boy and contractor” for his construction projects.

But Jalosjos’ men decided not to use the truck when they noticed the Inquirer crew cab passing by, the insider said.

Two witnesses said they saw three men disembark from the truck two hours before Teehankee gave the media the slip a little past 7 p.m.

Instead, a motorcycle driven by Dante Cruz—a prison official assigned at the NBP—brought Teehankee to Jalosjos’ house, the insider said.

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