The sensational death of 23-year-old flight attendant Christine Dacera last Jan. 1 was declared a “solved” rape-slay, by the police authorities. Even without autopsy findings and a toxicology report, the Makati police filed a provisional charge of rape with homicide last Jan. 4 against 11 men, with three suspects arrested.
The Philippine National Police stand by their claim that she was raped, and PNP chief Gen Debold Sinas announced that they will be conducting a manhunt for the eight other individuals and threatened to file a case for contempt should the suspects refuse to yield to the authorities.
Following Sinas’ statement, the Makati prosecutor’s office has referred the case for “further investigation” and ordered the police to provide proof of rape and to determine Dacera’s true cause of death. It also ordered the release of the three arrested—JP Halili, Rommel Galido and John Pascual Dela Serna.
Police were also directed to submit a DNA analysis report, toxicology/chemical analysis and a histopathology exam report to the prosecutor’s office.
After Dacera was rushed to the hospital after she was found unconscious in the bathtub of her rented room in the City Garden Grand Hotel in Makati last Jan. 1, a medico-legal report dated Jan. 3 revealed that the cause of death was “consistent with a ruptured aortic aneurysm.”
The aneurysm may have been brought about by strenuous activity and a high level of alcohol toxicity but Makati police chief Col. Harold Depositar said that there was evidence which “pointed to factors of abuse which includes forcible sexual misconduct” as well as bruising on her leg, knees and abrasions on her thigh.
Lawyer Brick Reyes, the Dacera family’s spokesperson, asserted that Dacera was drugged and abused before death. The family wanted another autopsy, calling the initial findings as incomplete, as her other injuries were not accounted for in the death certificate.
“We believe the aneurysm was a proximate cause but it is also very possible it was triggered by the assault prior to her death,” Reyes said.
Justice secretary Menardo Guevarra announced that the National Bureau of Investigation will perform a second autopsy on the body, to assist the PNP in their investigation on the case’s medico-legal aspects. (As of writing, the second autopsy has already been performed, but the findings are still confidential.)
The family also considered pressing charges against hotel management and other individuals involved in her death. Reyes said in the briefing that the hotel had breached standard Covid19 protocol by allowing several persons in a room.
Photo: CONAN Daily