By Colin C. Cortbus
A Koror-resident who convicted murderer Amador Osima had threatened to kill was not offered any police protection after Osima escaped from custody over the weekend.
The failure to offer protection came despite the fact that the Koror resident was a key witness in judicial proceedings against Osima, raising fears of a potential revenge attack by prison escapee Osima.
According to court records, Mr Osima had threatened the Koror-resident prior to brutally murdering Filipino migrant worker Virginia Ventura in 2011. The Koror resident was thus an important witness in the investigation and judicial proceeding against Osima.
In an interview with the Island Times, the witness asked for their name and any identifying details to be withheld as they are living in fear that Osima could target them in a revenge attack. The witness told the Island Times that since Osima’s shocking escape from prison on Saturday night, police had not been in touch with them to offer them any protection, despite the fact that law enforcement have their contact details. “I need some protection”, the Koror-resident, who was visibly fearful, stated desperately.
In the United States and other jurisdictions, in cases of prisoner escapes, victims and endangered witnesses are often approached by sheriff’s deputies and offered a range of protective measures. These could include temporary relocation to a safe house, a safety alarm, or personal advice from a law enforcement officer on how to protect themselves in case of attack.
Asked about the matter, a senior police officer told the Island Times that the police did not have the resources to contact every witness in the Osima case directly. The senior police officer stated that, if concerned, the witness was more than welcome contact Palau National Police directly for reassurance, and to dial 911 in an emergency at any time; Mobile telephone contact details, including for officers at the highest level of the police force, can be found on Wanted posters for Osima that are prominently displayed at key locations around town.
The Island Times has passed the relevant contact information onto the witness in question. However, in the coming days, questions are likely to be raised about whether the police would have required more resources and additional manpower to be able to effectively and fully handle the investigation into Osima`s late-night escape from the Koror jail-house.