By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Two men were arrested in separate operations here and in Murcia, Negros Occidental Friday for allegedly triggering the deadliest fire to hit Bacolod this year.
Police Major Jovil Sedel, head of Police Station 1, identified the suspects as Venancio Valeriano, 27, of Barangay Amayco, Murcia town; and Rodolfo Inson Jr., 23, of Barangay 40, Bacolod City.
Sedel said the suspects were identified by some witnesses as responsible for the blaze at Java pension house along Gonzaga Street here Tuesday, which claimed the lives of six persons, including owner Christopher Java.
Sedel said they arrested Inson first at Barangay 27 and proceeded to Murcia town, where Valeriano was apprehended following a two-day monitoring of their movements.
“These suspects allegedly robbed a helmet from a motorcycle parked at the ground floor area of the pension house where the fire started,” the station commander said.
He said that the suspects’ unidentified companion used a lighter to burn and cut the helmet strap before fleeing.
But they did not notice the embers on the strap which caused the blaze.
He said that the suspects heard a loud explosion while they were escaping but they didn’t bother to return.
The ember landed on the motorcycle engine which caused the fire.
Sedel said the suspects returned to the area few hours after the incident but they did not reach out to the authorities.
He said the two suspects were also charged before for illegal gambling, theft, and robbery.
He said they are still conducting follow-up operation on the whereabouts of the other suspect.
The Java pension house blaze gobbled an estimated P5 million worth of property.
Sedel said both suspects admitted to the police their participation in the incident.
Meanwhile, Valeriano refused to comment on the allegations against him but Inson claimed that it was their other companion who directly caused the fire.
“Indi man to namun hungod. Upod to namun naghimo. Helmet man lang to tani amon kuhaon. Ginsindihan niya ang strap gamit ang lighter para mapalos ang helmet. Wala kami kabalo may baga bilin. Nakonsensya man kami sa natabo,” Inson said.
He told the media that they sold the stolen helmet for P150.
“Akuon na lang namun para wala na damu pa istorya,” he said.
Both suspects are detained at Police Station 1.