Palace: Case not closed for deceased Filipina flight attendant

Christine Dacera | Photo from Instagram_@xtinedacera

3 suspects speak out after being released 

THE controversial death of Filipina flight attendant Christine Dacera is not a closed case, Malacañang said Thursday, January 7, despite the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) claim that it has reportedly “solved” the alleged rape-slay case.

“Hintayin po natin na ma-conclude iyong imbestigasyon. Obviously po dahil mayroon pang hininging ebidensiya ang ating fiscal (So let’s wait for investigations to be concluded. Obviously, because the fiscal is still asking for more evidence) case is not yet closed,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

The PNP considered the case as “solved” after identifying the 11 “suspects” in Dacera’s death.

However, the Makati City prosecutor’s office on Wednesday night, January 6 released three suspects in police custody, ruling that the evidence presented by police investigators was insufficient to show that Dacera was raped and killed.

The Makati prosecutor’s office also noted that Dacera’s cause of death remains unclear.

An initial autopsy report said the cause of death was a ruptured aortic aneurysm, which may be caused by several factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, infection, or sudden traumatic injury.

“I can only agree with the decision of the fiscal na kinakailangang isumite ang physical evidence nang sa ganoon kapag naisampa ang kaso, hindi po iyan madi-dismiss for lack of evidence (that it is necessary to submit the physical evidence so that when the case is filed, that will not be dismissed for lack of evidence),” Roque said.

Dacera, 23, was found unconscious in an empty bathtub of a hotel in Makati City on January 1 after a New Year’s Eve party with friends. She was rushed to Makati Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

The National Capital Region Police Office on Thursday, January 7 said it is still waiting for the toxicology report.

For his part, Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento said the police have only submitted a medico-legal report and death certificate of Dacera.

“At this point in time, the pieces of evidence are not sufficient for us to file any charges, any case for that matter so we cannot file homicide murder rape with homicide with the existing evidence presented so far by the PNP and their witnesses,” he said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

‘Justice will be served’

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte assured that justice will be served for Dacera and her family, according to Roque.

“Ang pangako naman po ng Presidente ay makakamit po ang katarungan sa Pamilyang Dacera (The president’s promise is that justice will be served to the Dacera Family),” he said.

“Malalaman po natin ang katotohanan at sa administrasyon po ni Presidente, dahil siya’y abogado at dati pang piskal, hindi niya hahayaan na ang mga kriminal ay hindi po mapaparusahan (We will know the truth during the administration of the President because he is a lawyer and a former prosecutor, he will not let criminals go unpunished),” the spokesman added.

‘Like a sister’

The released suspects linked in Dacera’s death broke their silence on Thursday, insisting that they all loved the victim.

“Nararamdaman ko po iyong sakit na nararamdaman nila [Dacera’s family] kasi naging parang kapatid ko siya [Dacera]. Sobrang mahal na mahal ko po siya. Para sa akin, sobrang sakit din po mawala si Christine pero sana malinawan ang pamilya ni Christine. Iyon lang po (I feel their pain because Christine was like a sister to me. I really love her so much. For me, it is really painful that Christine is gone but I hope her family will find clarity. That’s all),” said Rommel Galido.

John dela Serna said he loved Dacera so much because she became part of their lives.

Meanwhile, John Paul Halili urged to wait for the results of the investigation.

“Tingnan na lang natin kung ano iyong lumabas na resulta. Hirap na hirap na po kasi ako (Let’s just look into the result that came out. This is already hard for me),” he said.

Another one of the suspects, Gregorio de Guzman, maintained that none of the 11 persons tagged in the case harmed Dacera.

De Guzman, who is the son of singer Claire de la Fuente, revealed that he was gay, contradicting the police’s claims that Dacera was raped.

“Paano po naging rape? Bakla po ako. Never po ako nakipagtalik sa babae ever in my life (How did it become rape? I am gay. I never had sex with any woman ever in my life),” he said.

He also revealed that he performed Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on Dacera after seeing her in the bathtub.

“We found her in the bathtub with a pillow behind her head like she was sleeping. Then I checked her nose; there was no air coming out. Checked her pulse; there’s none. So, I got nervous,” De Guzman told The Manila Times. (Ritchel Mendiola/AJPress)

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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