Family of elderly couple, who died in Carreta fire, mulls filing arson case
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The family of the old couple, who died in the fire in Sitio Ponce 2, Barangay Carreta in Cebu City on Saturday early morning, May 11, said they would file charges of arson if it would proven true that the fire was started intentionally.
The children of Nicasio Orcullo, 62, and Proserfina Orcullo, 57, told Cebu Daily News that they were surprised of the death of their parents after they were trapped inside their home during the fire.
Their son, who refused to be named, said that their parents tried to open the gate of their house but they failed, and so they were trapped inside the house until they died.
The family said they would want justice for the untimely death of their parents especially that there were reports that the fire was allegedly intentionally started by somebody.
Read more Ponce 2 fire kills 2, burns 50 homes
According to the initial investigation of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Cebu City, the fire that razed 90 houses started in the house of Edna Basillote, the brother of mauled drug suspect Eddie Basillote, and her live-in-partner, Jason Herciso, around 4 a.m. on Saturday, May 11.
Residents in the area claimed that Herciso allegedly started the fire after he had a fight with Edna Basillote inside their home. Herciso allegedly poured gas over the house to start the fire.
But in an interview with CDN Digital, Basillote and Herciso denied the allegations.
They admitted fighting on the night before the fire, but Basillote said that she was not in the house when the fire started.
“Impossible kaayo na nga akong bana nga iyang sunogon ang balay. Kay naghuwat man siya gawas sa iyang mga kauban para sa yawe sa iyang motor. Impossible gyod kaayo nga mahitabo na,” said Basillote.
(It is impossible that my (common law) husband would set our house on fire. He was waiting for his companions outside the house for the key of his motorcycle. It is impossible that he would do such a thing.)
Cebu City Fire Marshall Noel Ababon said that they were still investigating whether arson was really the cause of the fire in Barangay Carreta.
Ababon said that they had already invited witnesses to the Bureau of Fire Protection office to issue affidavits on how the fire started.
He said that they were investigating if the fire was really a case of arson, but they could not establish anything without statements of the witnesses.
Police Major Joemar Pomarejos, Waterfront Police Station chief, said that immediately after the fire, they took custody of Edna Basillote and Herciso, because the couple were being attacked by residents, who claimed that the couple allegedly started the fire.
However, Pomarejos clarified that they were not detained because they were not officially suspects of any crime.
The couple were only taken ino custody as they were being mauled by the residents. After a few hours, the couple went back to Ponce 2.
The family of the Orcullo couple said they were supporters of the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK), and the couple even attended the miting de avance at the Cebu City Sports Complex on May 5.
The son said that Mayor Tomas Osmeña already offered to pay for the burial of the couple.
The Orcullo family said that their parents would be laid to rest within the following week around Wednesday or Thursday.
Meanwhile, the fire victims of the dawn fire would have to sleep on the streets because the elementary school, where they could have temporarily stayed would be used for the election on Monday, May 13./dbs
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