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DFA locates missing Filipino in Indonesia quake

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has located the Filipino inmate, who was earlier reported missing, following a mass jailbreak from the earthquake-damaged prison in Palu, Indonesia, where he was serving his sentence.

The Philippine Consulate General in Manado said it was able to contact the inmate and that he is safe and in good condition.

Consul General Oscar Orcine said the inmate has been staying with a friend near Pitogo Village in Palu since leaving prison, following the September 28 earthquake that struck Central Sulawesi.

Orcine said the Filipino had permission from the warden of the Lapas Penitentiary to seek refuge at his friend’s place after the prison wall collapsed due to the earthquake.

The inmate, who is serving a 14-year jail term for an illegal drug case, said he could not be immediately contacted because there was no cellular signal and his mobile phone battery ran out.

Orcine said other than exhaustion and lack of sleep, the inmate, a native of Sulu, is otherwise fine. The inmate, however, said he has limited stock of food and water.

The inmate assured the Consul General that he would be returning to the penitentiary and report to the warden as he wants to complete his sentence and not complicate matters for himself.

Orcine said the Filipino is the longest serving detainee at Lapas, having been in prison for seven years, noting that he enjoys the trust of prison officials who tasked him to help manage 800 inmates there.

The Consul General said the warden had actually recommended the Filipino convict for parole, with the Consulate General helping facilitate this.

Orcine said he had asked local contacts to give food and water to the Filipino inmate.