Sloppy investigating

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - January 8, 2021 - 12:00am

I guess we did not start the new year right. We already know about the case of Christine Angela Dacera, the PAL flight attendant who was found unconscious in a bathtub of a hotel in Makati on New Year's Day. Dacera and 11 other male friends were celebrating the coming of the new year but sadly it ended in tragedy.

Based on the police investigation, foul play was determined so the first thing did was to identify all of Dacera's companions that night. Three of the eleven were immediately in police custody while the eight were still at large. Dacera was supposedly raped then killed, again based on their investigation. The PNP then filed a provisional charge of rape with homicide against all 11 suspects then declared the case as solved. Wow, that was fast! Well, not so fast.

One of the eleven suspects stated during an interview that he could not have raped Dacera because he was gay. According to him, the other men who came to that party also seemed gay based on their mannerisms and even clothing. When they discovered Dacera unconscious in the bathroom, he said he administered CPR but when he could no longer sustain it, they brought her to the hospital where she was declared dead.

NCRPO chief Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. also disagreed the case was solved. He adds it should have been clear who raped Dacera and what the real cause of death was and not merely identifying her companions as suspects. Details like alcohol intoxication or if illegal drugs were involved. The evidence was sorely insufficient for a case to immediately be filed. An autopsy report supposedly surfaced on social media indicating the cause of death as a ruptured aortic aneurysm, a fatal condition if indeed true. How can a case be solved if all these details remain unanswered?

Turns out Brig. Gen. Danao Jr. was right. Makati City Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento returned the case to the police for further investigation citing insufficient evidence presented to establish Dacera was sexually assaulted or raped. He also ordered the release of the three suspects in custody. The police had little evidence to properly charge the suspects. The prosecutor was likely looking for hard evidence such as fluids or signs of a struggle. DNA will certainly come into play if fluids were indeed found on Dacera along with toxicology reports to determine alcohol and drugs in her system if any. Dacera's family still insists she was raped and has requested a second autopsy conducted by an independent medico-legal entity. This is probably why the eight suspects did not want to turn themselves in just yet, because they were already accused of committing a heinous crime even without the police getting their statements. Perhaps now is the time to surface and give their side of what transpired.

This seems like sloppy investigating on the part of the PNP, and I have Brig. Gen. Danao's statements to back that up. It also looked like the PNP was in a hurry to declare this case solved, perhaps to spruce up its image after that recent brutal, senseless killing of a mother and son by a police officer in Tarlac. Seems like it backfired and justice for Dacera remains elusive. Hopefully, the PNP will do a much better job of investigating and if foul play indeed happened, bring in the perpetrators to justice.

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