Destructive arson charges were filed yesterday afternoon against two arrested suspects and their companion who is still at-large, who are allegedly responsible for the deadly fire at the Java Pension House at Gonzaga-Locsin streets in Bacolod City, last week.
Charged before the Bacolod City Prosecutor’s Office were Venancio Valeriano, 27, alias “Lumot,” of Barangay Amayco in Murcia, Negros Occidental, Rodolfo Inson Jr., 23, alias “Onyok,” of Barangay 40 in Bacolod, and Crisan Belonio, who is at large, Police Major Jovil Sedel, Station 1 chief, said yesterday.
Valeriano and Inson are still detained at the custodial facility of Station 1, while Belonio remained elusive, Sedel said.
The fire killed Christopher Java, 33, the owner of the pension house, his mother Magdalena, 73, his son Christian Miguel, 12, nanny Ronalyn Dacalio, 43, Arnold Felomino, 58, who was assigned at the front desk, and Arnel Bajenting, 42, of Cebu, on November 26, 2019.
Valeriano and Inson were arrested Friday in follow-up operations in Murcia and Barangay 27 in Bacolod, City, respectively.
Investigation showed that Valeriano, Inson and Belonio used a lighter to cut the strap of a helmet on a motorcycle and its flames ignited it. The burning motorcycle was parked at the ground floor of the pension house caused the deadly blaze that crept through the building.
Sedel said witnesses gave information that matched the profiles of the suspects, who were positively identified through the police rogues’ gallery.
After their arrests Valeriano and Inson told the police that they were roaming around the downtown area with their companion when they passed by the Java Pension House and saw the helmet attached to one of the motorcycles parked at the ground floor of the establishment.
Since they did not have scissors or knives, they used a lighter to burn the strap of the helmet, and the motorcycle caught fire, Sedel said.
The suspects left going east of the area, sold the helmet for P150, and were eating, when they heard an explosion, Sedel said.
He said the suspects even returned to the Java Pension House to see the fire.
Valeriano, Inson, and Belonio came to know each other while in a detention cell, during previous arrests for various offense.*
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