Police have placed 17 inmates under heavy security for the hostage crisis at the district jail in San Jose, Antique, where a jailguard was shot dead and more than 100 detainees were held captive on Thursday.

The 17 are all detained at the San Jose Police Station, which is now being guarded not only by local policemen, but also by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and the PNP Provincial Public Safety Management Company, Antique police director Senior Supt. Ruperto Floro said.

“We are looking into reports that they conspired in the hostage taking,” Floro said in a phone interview.

Inmates Christopher Fernando and Lloyd Francisco will remain in the police station until they are charged and convicted while their “co-conspirators” are set to be transferred to the Antique Rehabilitation Center supervised by the provincial government.

Shortly after Fernando shot dead JO2 Romer Saquibal 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Francisco threatened to detonate a hand grenade inside the district jail unless he was let out and given a vehicle.

“During the negotiations, two ’emmisaries’ came out and told negotiators about the demand of the ‘group’… Around 12 midnight, 16 surrendered and pointed another cohort,” Floro said.

The police official, however, admitted that it was still unclear whether Fernando also had a hand in the hostage taking. (John Roson)

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