Family Demands Justice in Death of Filipina Flight Attendant

christine dacera

Details regarding the death of a flight attendant in the Philippines are still unclear despite local authorities announcing they have solved the case.

What is known so far: Christine Angelica Dacera, a 23-year-old cabin crew member of Philippine Airlines, was found dead in a City Garden Hotel bathtub in Makati City on New Year’s Day, local media reported.

  • The day before, Dacera checked in at the four-star hotel with three individuals: Rommel Galida, Gregorio Angelo Rafael De Guzman and John Dela Serna.
  • More men, identified as “friends of friends,” later joined the party, bringing the total number of men with Dacera that night to be at least 12. A lawyer from the victim’s family said these men came from the adjacent hotel room. 
  • In an interview with ABS-CBN, De Guzman claimed that he had first met Dacera on Dec. 31, and he had not met the men who entered their hotel room.
  • Galida, Dacera’s colleague, said he found her apparently asleep in the bathtub of their hotel room after he woke up at around 10 a.m. He wrapped her in a blanket before returning to sleep. Local police claim that by this time, the men who entered their room hours earlier had already left.
  • A few hours later, Galida checked on Dacera and noticed she was turning blue.
  • Dacera was rushed to the hospital after failed attempts by De Guzman to revive her with CPR. Doctors declared her dead upon arrival at around 5 p.m.
  • GMA News obtained screengrabs of CCTV footage from the hotel.

 

What remains a blur: Three days after Dacera’s death, the Philippine National Police (PNP) declared that they had solved the case following the arrest of three suspects. Without citing a full medico-legal report, authorities have deemed Dacera’s death as a case of a “rape-slay” (murder and homicide) due to the injuries they reportedly found on Dacera’s arms and legs, as well as the alleged traces of sperm found in her genitalia.

  • Rape and homicide complaints have since been filed against 11 men identified to have been with Dacera on New Year’s Day, including De Guzman, Gregorio and Dela Serna, reports the Inquirer.
  • On Jan. 5, Dacera’s family members held a press conference and stated that they have seen the official autopsy report which was conducted by PNP. The report declared that Dacera had died of a “ruptured aortic aneurysm,” or the tearing of the largest blood vessel in the body.
  • Dacera’s family members have requested another autopsy as they deemed the first one to be “incomplete.”
  • Meanwhile, PNP chief General Debold Sinas has threatened to “hunt down” the suspects who have not voluntarily surrendered despite not having an arrest warrant or any basis to compel them to give their testimonies.
  • On Wednesday, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will conduct another autopsy on Dacera’s body, which has reportedly been embalmed prior to the first autopsy.

  • On the same day, Makati Assistant City Prosecutor Joan Bolina-Santillan referred the case for further investigation and ordered the release of suspects John Dela Serna, Rommel Galido and John Paul Halili after failing to receive sufficient evidence from the police.
  • Bolina-Santillan’s report noted that the police have yet to establish Dacera’s actual cause of death, who was responsible for her death and whether she was raped and/or murdered.

Feature Image via Christine Dacera

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