Girl, 8, dies in Naga fire

A LITTLE girl’s longing for her detained mother resulted in her death last Saturday night in the City of Naga.

Penelope Leona Abatayo, 8, was sleeping inside her family’s house in Barangay Uling when she got trapped in a fire that started around 10:45 p.m.

One of the theories is that the candle she used to illuminate the house, where she had been left alone, fell.

Firefighters found Abatayo’s body a few footsteps from the entrance to the house, said City of Naga Fire Marshal Virgilio Gilig.

Abatayo’s aunt Jerry-vel Encina told Sun.Star Cebu that before the incident, her niece had been picked up by her older brother Job Ibrahim, 18.

He asked for his aunt’s permission to stay in their old house temporarily.  

Ako lang gitugtan kay close man gud kaayo siya sa iyang maguwang. Ug nisalig sad ko niya nga mobantay siya sa bata (I allowed them because the siblings were very close and I trusted him to watch over his little sister),” Encina said.

Besides, the family’s house was just across the street.

Leona reportedly told her aunt she wanted to stay in her old house because she had to see her mother’s picture. 

Her mother and father are currently detained in the City of Naga Jail after they were accused of stealing construction materials from a public school a few months ago. 

Later that day, Abatayo’s brother told her to return to their aunt’s house as he was going to Barangay Lanas to attend a parish youth activity. 

But Abatayo reportedly didn’t want to leave their hut. 

Her older brother eventually left, not knowing it was the last time they would get to talk. Penelope was the youngest of four children.

Encina said she already informed Abatayo’s parents about what had happened. 

Abatayo’s mother Rochan reportedly told her sister that she wanted to attend her daughter’s funeral but may not be able to do so because of her pending case.

Jerry Ann Abatayo, 10, the victim’s older sister, said that her sister wanted to stay at home because she missed her mother. “Wala gyud siya nibiya kay naa man gud ang picture ni Mama didto (She didn’t leave because Mama’s picture was there),” she added.

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