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Radio 'arson' could be inside job

Bishop not commenting on possibility of case for 'deliberate destruction of records'

  • Madonna Virola, Calapan City
  • Philippines
  • November 2, 2011
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The fire that destroyed Catholic radio station DZVT and parts of the vicariate's finance office last month may have been an inside job to block a Church financial audit, investigators said today.

The blaze, in the seminary compound in Labangan, Occidental Mindoro on October 26, was preceded by an attempt five days earlier that burned down only the room housing the generator and part of the chancery finance office.

Bishop Antonio Palang of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose had said then he believed the fire was deliberate and called it arson.

Chief inspector Edwin Fiel Gutang of San Jose said today that investigators did find evidence of arson.

He said initial investigations concluded there was a “possibility of an arson case due to the presence and recovery of an alleged gasoline container with alleged gasoline content.”

However, Gutang said the incident is “neither politically motivated nor perpetrated by the New People’s Army” of the Communist Party of the Philippines. The fire is more of "an internal management problem," he said.

He explained investigations found that “an audit has been earlier scheduled due to a change of management for the radio station from the former manager to the present”.

He declined to name suspects or say whether clergymen were among suspects. "We'll name names upon completion of the investigation," the chief inspector said. He could not estimate when a report will be out. "It depends on the cooperation of all concerned individuals," Gutang said.

Bishop Palang said by text message that it was too soon to speculate on the cause of the fire.

"Let the PNP, SOCO and fire department investigation result speak for itself. Man's conscience is God's voice. The truth will make us free."

DZVT is owned and managed by the San Jose vicariate and Saint Joseph Seminary, both under the administration of the St. Joseph Parish Council.

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