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First comes rescue, then arrest

October 05, 2008|From the Associated Press

MANILA — The last of 16 miners trapped in a flooded gold mine in the northern Philippines was rescued after 11 days -- and then arrested by police.

George Baywong, a Mines and Geosciences Bureau officer who supervised the rescue, said Saturday that Joseph Anayasan was pulled out of the mine in Itogon township in Benguet province late Friday.

"It was miraculous," he said of the miner's survival.

Anayasan was immediately whisked away by his relatives to evade police, who had a warrant for his arrest on unrelated theft and robbery charges, Baywong said.

Police arrested Anayasan on Saturday at the home of one of his relatives in the nearby city of Baguio, provincial police Chief Danilo Pelisco said.

In 2002, Anayasan faced trial for robbery but jumped bail and disappeared. He was sentenced in absentia to six years in prison, Pelisco said.

Anayasan was one of 10 survivors among 16 people who were in the mine Sept. 22 when floodwaters rushed in during a typhoon. The bodies of the six others were recovered days later. Anayasan's brother, Mario, was among three men rescued Wednesday.

Baywong said Anayasan's "hard-life upbringing" and his physical fitness contributed to his survival.

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