Bureau of Corrections

Inmate, earlier reported missing, shows how he escaped from Bilibid

Jairo Bolledo

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Inmate, earlier reported missing, shows how he escaped from Bilibid

ESCAPE. PDL Michael Catarroja demonstrates how he escaped from the New Bilibid Prison by clinging under a truck.


Michael Angelo Cataroja says he hid underneath a garbage truck and escaped from the national penitentiary on July 7

MANILA, Philippines – Once again it was proven that New Bilibid Prison’s security was not so secure.

This is what Michael Angelo Cataroja, an inmate detained at the national penitentiary, showed when he escaped from Bilibid despite the watchful eyes of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) personnel and prison guards.

During a hearing conducted by the Senate committee on justice and human rights on Tuesday, August 22, at the Bilibid premises, authorities reenacted Cataroja’s narration of his escape.

Bumper, Transportation, Vehicle
The truck used for Cataroja’s reenactment of his escape. Rappler

According to Angono police chief Major Lauro Moratillo, the escapee said he hid under a garbage truck and got out of the national penitentiary through that vehicle on July 7. Afterwards, Cataroja walked around C6 road, and then proceeded to Rizal province. It was unclear, though, how he managed to reach Rizal, where he was arrested.

Adult, Male, Man
Inmate Michael Catarroja shows how he hid on the chassis of a dump truck to escape the New Bilibid Prison. Rappler

During the Tuesday hearing, Cataroja showed authorities how hid under the garbage truck.

Paparazzi, Person, Adult
Cataroja further demonstrates his escape. Rappler

However, his escape using a truck was not Cataroja’s first explanation, according to the authorities. Moratillo said when they arrested Cataroja on August 17, the inmate said he escaped on July 7 after copying in his arm the stamp used for BuCor visitors.

Cataroja detailed then that he recovered a ball pen while inside the national penitentiary that he used to allegedly copy the stamp. While undergoing inquest proceedings for his new case, evasion of sentence, the inmate then floated his truck excuse.

Cataroja was inside the state penitentiary for around two years, serving his sentence for violating the anti-fencing law.

On July 26, BuCor officials and Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla said a corpse was found inside the national penitentiary while searching for Cataroja, who had gone missing since July 15. A day later, Remulla said the corpse found in the Bilibid septic tank was not Cataroja.

The DOJ chief had said Cataroja’s decapitated body was found near a criminal gang’s area in the facility. Authorities said they had yet to locate its head. But on August 3, Remulla retracted his remarks about the missing inmate and said he got the wrong information.

During a Senate hearing on August 8, the National Bureau of Investigation, which conducted the examination on the so-called recovered corpse, revealed that the remains were chicken bones, and not human. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.