Inmate flees after being tasked to clean police station grounds

Mugshot of Gabriel Carlo Tabon when he was arrested in September 2023 for an estafa case. (ICPS 3 photo)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Gabriel Carlo Tabon did not hesitate to seize the opportunity when it presented itself afternoon of February 28.

The 34-year-old Tabon was a person under police custody (PUPC) at the Iloilo City Police Station 3 when he found the chance to flee.

The escape was discovered by the custodial officer of ICPS3 at approximately 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Review of the CCTV footage revealed that Tabon made his stealthy getaway around 3:14 p.m.

Earlier in the day, around 7 a.m., the outgoing custodial officer had permitted Tabon to exit his cell to clean the premises of the police station.

Colonel Joeresty Coronica, the Iloilo City police chief, did not reveal the identity of this custodial officer but indicated he held the rank of patrolman.

One hour later, the patrolman finished his shift and handed over the responsibility for Tabon to the incoming custodial officer, a police staff sergeant.

However, the staff sergeant neglected to return Tabon to his cell, a lapse that continued for several hours until Tabon took the opportunity to escape.

Initially, the staff sergeant explained to Coronica that he had to leave the station to accompany another inmate dealing with court documents and claimed to have entrusted a senior officer, a chief master sergeant, with watching Tabon.

Coronica said that no excuse could account for the oversight.

“I have been constantly reminding them not to allow inmates to go out of the detention cell to do chores. That’s a no-no,” he said.

As a result of the incident, Coronica plans to initiate administrative charges for grave misconduct and criminal charges for infidelity in the custody of a prisoner against the three personnel involved.

Further scrutiny will also be directed towards Major Eduardo Siacon’s command responsibility in the matter.

Tabon, originally from 127 Sandoval St., Dr. Sixto Antonio Avenue, Barangay Caniogan, Pasig City, had been staying in Barangay Tabuc Suba, Jaro, Iloilo City before his arrest on September 16, 2023.

He was apprehended for estafa as per Criminal Case No. PS6-16-00229 issued by Branch 157 in Pasig City, with a recommended bail bond of P20,000 for his temporary release.

Although Tabon was in the process of posting bail, he reportedly failed to provide all the necessary court documents, delaying his release.