Premature ‘case closed’: Suspects in flight attendant’s death contradict PNP’s initial probe

January 5, 2021 - 2:04 PM
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A photo of Christine Dacera via Instagram

(Updated 6:02 p.m.) The Philippine National Police declared the case of a flight attendant who was found dead on New Year’s Day “solved” despite not having released medical findings yet.

A 23-year-old flight attendant who was identified as Christine Angelica Dacera was found unconscious at a bathtub of a hotel room in Makati City on January 1 after a night of New Year’s Eve revelry with her friends.

Makati City police chief Colonel Harold Depositar said that Dacera was later declared dead at the Makati Medical Center due to ruptured aortic aneurysm.

“The victim had lacerations and sperm in her genitalia,” Depositar was said in reports.

He also noted that bruises, scratches and contusions were found on the victim’s arms and legs.

However, the city police chief said that the prosecutor’s office is still waiting for the autopsy findings and the toxicology report on Dacera.

Despite the lack of medical reports, the PNP announced that the case had been “solved” and declared the flight attendant as a victim of “rape-slay.”

“In report to DILG Secretary Eduardo M Año, PNP Chief, Police General Debold M Sinas said the rape-slay of Christine Angelica Dacera is solved with the arrest and indictment of three suspects,” the PNP Public Information Office wrote.

The police also disclosed in the post names of the 11 suspects or persons of interest who were with Dacera during the party.

Three of them were charged for the crime of rape with homicide.

Nine of them are still at large and are subjects of follow-up operations.

Jose Leda III, the lawyer of the Dacera family, in a television interview claimed that the people who were with Dacera at the party were strangers to her.

“Hindi inaasahan ng biktima… ang mga makakasama niya. She was supposed to be with friends and she was not supposed to be with strangers,” Leda claimed.

Calls for justice

The hashtags #JusticeForChristineDacera, #StopVictimBlaming and #ProtectDrunkGirls immediately dominated conversations on local Twitter, along with phrases “rape is rape” and “men are trash” following the reports of Dacera’s death.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

Photos and names of the suspects also circulated across Facebook and Twitter as Filipinos expressed their outrage and called for justice for Dacera and her family.

As of writing, the hashtag #JusticeForChristineDacera has more than 514,000 tweets under its belt.

Another side of the story

In separate posts on Tuesday, two of the suspects Valentine Rosales and Rey Englis broke their silence and denied accusations of their involvement in their friend’s death.

“The truth will set us all free. I don’t need your apologies when that time comes but please offer it through prayers for Tin and her family. I will never deactivate my social media kahit i-bash niyo pa ako ng i-bash,” part of Englis’ post read.

A screenshot of Englis’ post was reposted by Facebook page Entertainment News Portal.

Rosales, meanwhile, aired his statement via Instagram stories.

“Absurd fake and disgusting, super imbento talaga ng social media ilabas niyo official copy ng autopsy report. Walang gumalaw kay Tine! Siya pa mismo ang nag-book ng hotel under her name. God’s the witness, truth will always prevail,” he said.

Screenshots by Interaksyon
Screenshots by Interaksyon

Premature declaration?

Other concerned citizens criticized the police for claiming the case is already “solved” without enough evidence and reports.

Twitter user @alphabetrose, on the other hand, compared the trial by publicity being committed to some of the suspects to individuals being tagged by the government as terrorists.

“‘Wag naman nating i-persecute altogether ang ‘innocent until proven guilty’ It hits us hard too, being viciously red-tagged by again, the PNP and AFP,” the user wrote.

Meanwhile, Sinas said District Director of Southern Police District, Police Brigadier General Emmanuel Peralta is in communication with the mother of the victim and assured the Dacera family of “prompt and thorough investigation.”