MANILA – Malacañang believes that the death of 23-year-old flight attendant Christine Dacera in a Makati hotel is not a "case closed" despite the Philippine National Police (PNP) saying that it has “solved” what it declared as a rape-slay case.
In a Palace press briefing on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explained that the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office said it needs more evidence to prove that 23-year-old Dacera was raped and killed.
“As of now, it’s a continuing investigation, the [National Bureau of Investigation] has gotten involved in it. So, 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,” he said.
Since certain matters still need to be clarified, Roque said additional evidence would help the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office determine how Dacera died.
“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),” he said.
To date, police had not yet submitted DNA analysis results, toxicology/chemical analysis, and histopath examination.
“Naghahanda lang po tayo, hinahanda lang po ng mga fiscal na kapag naisampa sa kaso, tuluyan pong mapapatunayan ang liability or ang guilt beyond reasonable doubt ang mga nasasakdal (we are just preparing, the fiscals are just preparing so that when the case is filed, the court will be able to prove the defendants’ liability or guilt beyond reasonable doubt),” Roque said.
Roque, meanwhile, said President Rodrigo Duterte assured that justice will be rendered for Dacera and her family.
“Ang pangako naman po ng Presidente ay makakamit po ang katarungan sa Pamilyang Dacera. 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 (The President's promise is that justice will be served to the Dacera Family. 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),” he said.
Dacera was found lifeless in a bathtub of a hotel in Makati City after celebrating New Year’s Eve with friends. She died in a hospital.
Makati Police chief Col. Harold Depositar said the initial report of the cause of death was a ruptured aortic aneurysm, which may be caused by various factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, infection, or sudden traumatic injury.
However, there are other factors at play as Dacera had lacerations, contusions, and scratches on her body and lacerations and sperm in her genitals
On Tuesday, the PNP said the identification of suspects was enough to consider Dacera's case as "case solved."
Makati City Prosecutor General Ben Malcontento on Wednesday ordered the release of three suspects in Dacera's death after finding that police had submitted insufficient evidence.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said the NBI will be working closely with the police in connection with Dacera's case.
"The forensic medicine team is providing assistance to the Makati police to determine the real cause of death of flight attendant Christine Dacera," Guevarra told reporters. (PNA)