MANILA, Philippines – A blast from a suspected grenade and gunshots rocked a Philippine jail, leaving 10 inmates dead, including two alleged Chinese drug criminals, officials said Friday. The warden was seriously injured in Thursday night's explosion.
Senior Inspector Xavier Solda, spokesman of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, said eight of the inmates killed in the Paranaque City jail in metropolitan Manila faced drug cases, including two Chinese nationals found with large amounts of drugs. The two others were facing robbery and homicide charges.
"During the initial investigation, we can confirm that there was an explosion inside (but) as to what caused the explosion, the investigation is still ongoing," Solda told reporters.
He said they were checking reports that prior to the explosion the inmates wanted to meet the warden after learning they were to be transferred to another facility.
Solda says investigators were looking at whether the blast was part of an escape attempt but were waiting to talk to the wounded warden.
Local website Inquirer.net quoted the city police chief, Senior Supt. Jose Carumba, as saying the warden was inside the bathroom adjacent to his office when he heard a "commotion" among the inmates waiting in a receiving area. The report said Bantag heard a gunshot and fired back at the inmates as he made his way out of his office. It was then that the grenade exploded, the report said.
Carumba was quoted as saying officials were looking into how the inmates were able to acquire an automatic submachine gun that they used to fire at Bantag.
It was not immediately clear if the inmates died from the grenade blast or from the gunfire.