Arson charges filed vs stepmother of two children killed in Las Pinas fire

September 22, 2010 10:09 am 

MANILA, Sept. 21 — A fire official said on Tuesday that authorities filed arson charges before the prosecutors' office against the stepmother of two children who died in a fire that destroyed a bungalow-type house in Las Pinas City last week.

A 35-minute fire destroyed a bungalow-type residential house at Block 37, Lot 18, Anlinox St., BF Resort Village, Talon 2, Las Pinas City in the early morning of Sept. 14 that also killed Ameerah Al-Saad, 14, and her brother Ibrahim, 12.

Chief Insp. Robert Pacis, Las Pinas City fire marshal, identified the suspect as the fatalities' stepmother Mae Bagcat. The victims' older sister, Sarah, 16, sustained severe burns in the incident.

Pacis said that the blaze started at 3:52 a.m. and reached first alarm before it was put out at 4:26 a.m. Initial estimates of the damages were placed at P1.5 million.

Bagcat, along with her young daughter and a house helper, were out of the house when the blaze happened. She later told fire authorities that she went out to buy bread for breakfast.

However, Pacis said the victims' father, Arab national Nabil Al-saad, who was out of the country when the incident happened, believed that Bagcat set the house on fire.

Pacis also said that it was Al-saad who earlier brought the suspect to the police station.

“There was a strong circumstancial evidence against her and there was a tricycle driver who surfaced, claiming that it was her who took Bagcat inside the village after apparently purchasing gasoline from a nearby gas station around 3 a.m., that's about an hour before the fire incident took place,” Pacis said.

The tricycle driver told authorities that Bagcat alighted a few meters from her house, Pacis said, adding that the tricycle's entry to the village was also recorded in the village guard's logbook. (PNA) RMA/CLTC

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