Authorities still looking into relationship of suspect and victim in QC bus fire

Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 05 2021 06:23 PM

Authorities still looking into relationship of suspect and victim in QC bus fire 1
Firefighters secure the perimeter of the bus that caught fire along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on Sunday. Reports say the blaze started when a passenger doused bus conductor Amelene Sembana with a flammable liquid and set her on fire, resulting in their deaths. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Authorities are still looking into the relationship of the two persons who died from the bus fire incident in Quezon City last Sunday.

Fairview Bus driver Valentino Obligasyon told ABS-CBN News Tuesday he believes that the man who first had an altercation with the conductor, Amelene Sembrana, before setting her on fire wasn't just a random passenger. The two were burned to death in the incident.

Obligasyon said Sembrana, whom he knew little about, was on duty only as a reliever when the incident happened.

“Kasi kung hindi niya kakilala yun, hihingi siya agad ng tulong sa akin sa pagtatalo nila. Agad hihingi siya ng tulong na, ‘Kuya, pababain mo pasahero kasi nagwawala rito. Ganun po siguro gagawin niya kung hindi niya kakilala yun… Kaya sa tingin ko, talaga kilala niya yun,” Obligasyon said.
 
(If she hadn't known the person, she would have asked for my help to let him out when they were already arguing. That's what she would have done.)

Obligasyon said he does not remember anything about the male passenger, whose identity remains unknown, and did not hear what the argument was about. He said he was just surprised to see Sembrana being set on fire.

“Galing siya sa likod. Hindi pa nakakababa yung pasahero. Siya ang tumakbo sa akin ngayon. Pagkasabi niya sa akin, sumisigaw, ‘Kuya tulong!’ Tumayo ako sa manubela. Pagtayo ko, may nagsindi ng lighter. Umapoy na po,” he recounted.

(She came running towards me, shouting for help. And when I got up, she was set on fire.)

Fairview Bus Inc. officer-in-charge John Marvin Gopez said Monday they are also looking into the possible relationship of Sembrana and the male passenger.

“Lumalabas sa imbestigasyon, crime of passion o magkaano-ano sila… Hindi rin ma-identify ng pamilya ang lalaki. Nagba-validate pa kami kung asawa nga niya 'yun o live-in partner, kasi dun umiikot ang kwento,” Gopez said in a phone interview.

(Based on the investigation, it appears it's a crime of passion, that they are related... The man has yet to be identified. We are still validating whether he was her husband or live-in partner.)

“May lead kami, pero for further verification po. Wala rin pa nag-claim sa suspect na relative,” QC Bureau of Fire Protection chief investigator Insp. Well Yarcia, said in a text message.

(We have a lead, but for further verification. No relative has come forward to claim the suspect's body.)

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