MANILA – An 11-year-old girl, asleep in her father’s makeshift home in the Manila South Cemetery, was awakened when parts of her body were set on fire after she was doused with paint thinner. The alleged culprit of this act was none other than her own father.
In a report made via radio station dzMM, correspondent Dexter Ganibe said that details provided by cemetery security guard Romeo Amar revealed that the incident took place on the evening of November 11, Tuesday, as the girl was visiting her father.
Amar also disclosed that the girl’s father lives in the cemetery, where he works as a tomb cleaner, and that he and his wife – the girl’s mother – are separated.
The security guard recounted that on Tuesday night, the girl’s mother asked his permission to enter the cemetery to fetch her daughter. But it was not until Wednesday that Amar found out that mother and daughter had scaled a cemetery fence to leave the premises and escape from the father.
According to Amar, he found out about the incident from a cousin of the girl, who claimed to have witnessed the father’s act of pouring paint thinner over his daughter and setting her on fire. The cousin reportedly tried to put out the flames, but the father simply poured more of the substance on his child, and lit her up all over again.
The cousin also said that the girl’s mother had taken her to nearby Ospital ng Makati after they had fled the cemetery.
The girl’s father is a user of illegal drugs. Amar said; an allegation which was subsequently confirmed by the girl’s mother, who also said that this was the reason for their separation.
Doctors at Ospital ng Makati said that the girl, who is now experiencing pain on her arms and legs and is having difficulty walking, suffered second degree burns on her limbs, and parts of her torso and face. Medical staff also found bruises on various parts of the girl’s body.
She is now under the care of her mother and her mother’s new partner.
Although the incident has been reported to the police, the mother says she is undecided about pressing charges against the girl’s father, who is now at large. Furthermore, when interviewed by radio dzMM about the incident, the girl defended her father’s horrendous actions, saying that it was not her father’s intention to set her on fire.
The girl’s cousin, however, strongly stated that the father’s act was definitely intentional.
Meanwhile, Makati City government has pledged to take care of the hospital expenses of the girl.