Former police officer Cezar Mancao has escaped from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), where he had been detained over a high-profile murder case.
In an interview with ANC, NBI deputy director Reynaldo Esmeralda said Mancao escaped at 1:14 a.m. Thursday while two security guards were on duty.
Closed-circuit television footage showed Mancao walking out of his room and out of the NBI gate, where a vehicle had been waiting, Esmeralda told ANC.
The guards are now being probed for facilitating Mancao's escape, the Justice department's Twitter account quoted Sec. Leila De Lima as saying.
The Cabinet official also said she immediately called Mancao, asking him, "Tumakas ka raw (I heard you escaped)?" to which Mancao answered "Opo (Yes), ma'am."
Mancao, who is accused of killing publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in 2000, was supposed to be transfered to the Manila City Jail Thursday.
The move has been ordered following the court's denial of a motion for Mancao to be named a state witness and discharged as an accused.
De Lima said Mancao fears that his life will be endangered if he is transferred to the city jail.
"Mamamatay po ako dun. Ipapapatay po ako dun (I will die there. Someone will have me killed there)," De Lima quoted Mancao as saying.
She however urged Mancao to surrender and instead ask the court to delay his move or instead transfer him to a facility where he will feel safe.
The prosecution will support Mancao's motion to be transferred to another jail facility, the Cabinet official noted.
De Lima meanwhile took "full responsbility" of Mancao's escape.
"Kami ang mananagot kung hindi namin siya maibalik (We will be held accountable if we don't bring him back)," she said.