Cops now eye robbery in Paranaque fire

By Kristine Felisse Mangunay (Philippine Daily Inquirer)


THE POLICE said they were looking into the possibility that robbery was the motive for the killing of three women whose bodies were found inside a burnt house in Parañaque City last Thursday.

Senior Supt. Ariel Andrade, Parañaque police chief, said the angle cropped up after relatives of victims Charina Luya, 35, and her daughter Charline, 16, told the police they had around P50,000 in their possession at the time they were killed. The money was for Charline’s tuition as she was set to enroll for the coming semester at the University of Sto. Tomas.

“Her wallet where the money was supposedly kept was missing, according to her relatives,” Andrade said, quoting the report of firemen who responded when the Luyas’ house on Thomas Street, Multinational Village, in Barangay Moonwalk, burned down on Thursday.

Apart from the Luyas, their housemaid Josephine Amante was also killed in the fire. There were lacerations on the Luyas’ foreheads while a bullet casing was found inside the house, prompting the police to suspect that they were killed before the house was set on fire.

Andrade said investigators were still in the process of “digging deeper” into the case although they have come up with a composite sketch of a “possible suspect.”

The sketch was based on the description provided by a neighbor who saw a man in the area minutes before the fire broke out, he added.

But Andrade was quick to point out that they were not yet certain if the man had a hand in the women’s deaths. He also did not give a copy of the composite sketch.

Andrade said that while investigators have yet to say how many people committed the crime, it was possible there were at least two suspects.

According to him, it appears that two weapons were used on the victims: a .45-cal. pistol based on the bullet casing found near the room where the three bodies were found, and a butterfly knife (balisong), based on the lacerations found on the foreheads of the Luyas.

“It is seldom you have one person using a gun and a butterfly knife at the same time. Usually, if it’s a gun you use, it’s a gun you use all throughout,” Andrade said.

The police were also waiting for the results of an analysis of the fire debris to help probers determine whether an “incendiary device” was used to set fire to the house, he added.

“Because if that’s the case, we can possibly establish that the suspect/s brought the incendiary device with them with the intent of burning down the house,” Andrade said.

Insp. Wilson Tana, the city police’s arson investigation chief, said they submitted samples to be tested to the Bureau of Fire Protection headquarters last week. He added that it usually takes two weeks for the results to come out.

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