Three face arson raps for pension house blaze

By: Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – Three persons were charged for arson on Monday after they were allegedly tagged behind the deadliest fire that hit Bacolod with six casualties last month.

Charged before the City Prosecutor’s Office were Venancio Valeriano, 27, of Barangay Amayco, Murcia, Negros Occidental; Rodolfo Inson Jr., 23, of Barangay 40 here; and Crisan Belonio, 18, of Bacolod City.

Police Major Jovil Sedel, head of Police Station 1, said the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) – Bacolod filed the criminal complaint around 2 p.m. yesterday.

Sedel said the filing of charges came after witnesses submitted their statements identifying the suspects as those responsible behind the fire at Java pension house along Gonzaga Street here last November 26.

Valeriano and Inson were arrested in Murcia town and Bacolod, respectively three days after the blaze happened while Belonio is still at large.

Both arrested suspects claimed that Belonio allegedly directly caused the fire when he burned the helmet strap with a lighter, leaving embers that reached the engine of the motorcycle parked at the ground floor area of the five-storey building, where the fire started. The three suspects allegedly stole a helmet and sold it for P150.

The crime they have committed claimed the lives of pension house owner Christopher Java and his family, a guest, and an employee. The blaze left an estimated P5 million worth of damage.

Valeriano and Inson are detained at the said police station.