GUAGUA, Pampanga – Ronaldo Bae had built himself a large house on a hill here a few months before he went on a shooting rampage in Kawit, Cavite, on Friday and killed eight people, including four children.
The newly built two-story house in Purok 6 in Barangay (village) Ascomo here occupies 300 square meters on a 500-sq m lot. It is away from where his neighbors live.
“May kaya [rich]” is the impression the neighbors have of him because of the big house.
But the house was empty when Superintendent Henry Flores, Guagua police chief, and the village head, Angelo Layug, visited the place late Friday.
A police informant said it had only been a year since Bae lived in this town.
Senior Supt. R’Win Pagkalinawan, Pampanga police director, said Flores was able to talk to Bae’s wife, Maria Elena, by mobile phone on Friday.
She told Flores that Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority agents had confiscated two long firearms and a .45 cal. from her husband in a raid four years ago in Cavite, Pagkalinawan said.
The police had secured the house, apparently waiting for Elena, but had not entered the property.
Police investigators have not yet determined why Bae moved to Barangay Ascomo or why he chose to live near rice paddies across the lahar-filled Porac River. Neighbors said Bae’s wife comes from Barangay Ascomo.
Bae’s house here is so out of the way. From the Floridablanca junction of Jose Abad Santos Avenue (formerly the Gapan-San Fernando Olongapo Road), one makes a right turn that leads to a crossroad and Guagua’s farming villages, which old folk used to call Pasumil (for a sugar mill that had long since folded up).
A narrow street there leads to Purok 6. “At the end of this concrete road, there’s a section that descends. Go left. That’s where Nald’s house is,” a tricycle driver told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Saturday. Nald is how Bae’s neighbors used to call him.
The house appeared empty, guarded only by a police patrol car. Children playing near the house said a couple lived there with a maid.
“We saw him on New Year’s eve. He was here often. That was the last time we saw him. He was drinking with someone at the rooftop,” said one of Bae’s neighbors.
Behind the house are more than 30 bottles of liquor. Two dogs, friendly to strangers, guarded the front and side doors. The lights at the garage were lit although it was empty.
Neighbors said Bae drove a blue car. He used to have two cars until he sold one when money for the house’s construction ran out, the Inquirer learned.
“He was friendly,” said another neighbor. That was because he gave the tricycle drivers some money during holidays.
The same neighbor said Bae used to go to a gaming arena in Floridablanca for cockfighting.
“He wagers P30,000 per fight,” the neighbor said. “I don’t know what happened to him. He’s a cool guy.”