When Super Typhoon Haiyan ripped the roof off of Leyte Provincial Jail and filled the cells to neck height, 600 prisoners swam to the wall-tops and walked away. Now, nearly half of them have returned, including prisoners facing charges as serious as murder. The men went home and helped their families cope with the damage to their homes and towns, then came back to prison because (in the words of returned prisoner Danilo Tejones) "I want my case to be finished so that I can get free legally."
Abrea said the guards were themselves sheltering from the howling wind and powerful rains, so did not notice the mass escape.
But he said 251 prisoners had come back, and were now being housed in a section of the complex that suffered minor damage.
Returnees interviewed by Agence France-Presse said their immediate concern after escaping was to check on or help loved ones, and that they came back because they did not want to ruin their chances of being exonerated at trial.
"I returned because I want my freedom to be legal," said Renato Comora, 47, who is on trial for murder.
Prisoners return after Yolanda typhoon mass escape [Martin Abbugao/Agence France-Presse]