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A tragic tale of textmates

/ 03:17 AM August 13, 2014

NAGA CITY—Jona Iraula was Rommel Clariño’s textmate for two years until the 20-year-old farmer’s daughter decided to be his live-in partner and hoped that it would lead to a better life.

That dream melted on the night of July 30 when her charred body was found next to Clariño’s inside a hotel room in Goa town, Camarines Sur province.

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Jona’s grief-stricken father, Rosendo Iraula, 53, traced the events that terminated in tragedy.

He said he gave his consent to Jona to live with Clariño, 42, a son of one of the big traders in Tigaon town, also in Camarines Sur, in 2012.

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The couple lived in a house owned by Iraula in La Purisima, a village adjacent to Barangay (village) San Vicente, Ocampo town. The place is 6 kilometers from where the Iraula family lives.

Iraula said his daughter went to Manila when she was 18 years old to work as a saleslady in a department store but returned home to Ocampo after two years, feeling she was just earning enough and could not go any higher from her job, being just a high school graduate.

A nephew, who was working at a store owned by Clariño, gave Jona the cell phone number of Clariño.

“And that was how the couple met,” Iraula said.

He thought Jona would eventually find her dream. He had observed that the couple seemed to be living harmoniously in Tigaon for a year, tending a store that sold animal feeds.

But Clariño found himself in trouble when his family learned that he was using the prohibited drug, methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. The family got back the store entrusted to him.

Jona and her partner moved to her father’s house in La Purisima last year and struggled to make a living. Clariño’s father has died this year.

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Since their transfer, Iraula said he noticed that the couple were quarreling more often because of jealousy.

His sister, Ma. Lourdes, said that lately, Clariño would become so drunk that he would burn the clothes of her niece.

Lydia Victorino, Jona’s aunt, said the police came to their house on July 31 to ask them to identify two dead persons who were found burned at Papillon Motorlodge in Goa town.

Chief Insp. Chito Oyardo, chief of police of Goa, said Clariño might have strangled Jona in the morning and ended his own life that night by pouring gasoline on Jona’s body and to himself and setting the fire.

Iraula broke down silently when he saw the charred remains of Jona at a funeral parlor in Goa town, while Clariño’s body was on a stretcher, covered with a blanket. He could not comprehend what went wrong.

He said he could not even seek justice for his daughter because the suspect is also dead.

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