Christine Dacera, a 23-year-old flight attendant for Philippine Airlines, was reportedly found dead on January 1, 2021 in the bath tub of City Garden Grand Hotel Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines after a night of partying with friends.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), still in hot water over the caught-on-camera murder of a mother and her son by one of their own officers, prematurely announced that the case had been ‘solved’ as a rape-slay, despite no arrests made or medical reports released on Dacera’s body at the time.
Who is Christine Dacera?
According to The Philippine Star, Dacera was a University of the Philippines Mindanao alumni and a flight attendant for Philippine Airlines.
She was the second of four siblings and graduated with honors. She had long dreamed of becoming a flight attendant for the airline.
According to the initial medical report released by authorities, her cause of death was “ruptured aortic aneurysm.”
What happened to Christine Dacera?
On December 31, she had allegedly asked her mother through mobile phone if she could spend New Year’s at a party with friends. Her mother agreed, as long as Dacera would have fun and enjoy.
CCTV footage of Dacera’s reported last hours surfaced, which showed a woman who matches her description walking down the City Garden Hotel Makati corridor to a room, holding her heels in her hand while wearing a party dress. She was seen in the video speaking to different men several times.
According to a report from Esquire, the party at the hotel occurred in two different hotel rooms, with only six initial guests, but the party later ballooned in number when other people arrived.
Posts on her social media account showed that she was with eleven other men, whom she called “my loves.” Police reports confirmed this. They also added that the men present at the party were either gay or bisexual.
According to the Philippine Star report, a family lawyer and spokesperson said that around January 1, 6:00 to 10:00 in the morning, Dacera reportedly said that she felt someone put a substance in her drink and that she was not feeling well.
A separate report from Esquire, on the other hand, said that she was found still alive by one of her friends, Rommel Galido, in one of the hotel rooms at 10:00 AM on January 1, sleeping in the bathtub. He said he covered her with a blanket.
At around noon, though Galido said he saw she was turning blue.
The police then said that she was found in a bath tub in the hotel at around noon on January 1. “At past noontime of January 1, the victim was found unconscious in the bathtub of her hotel room. Hotel staff performed CPR on the victim to revive her but failed, and later rushed her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead by doctors,” the PNP said in a statement.
Another report from the Commission on Human Rights said, “While preliminary investigation by the Philippine National Police showed that the cause of death was due to ruptured aortic aneurysm, visible lacerations and other evidence based on the medico-legal report points to factors of abuse, which include forcible sexual misconduct.”
Family asking for a second autopsy
More recent reports on the case’s development showed that Dacera’s family held a press conference wanting a second autopsy.
PNP Chief Debold Sinas, who was earlier caught on video violating COVID-19 protocols in 2019 with a huge party involving police officers, said that the case was already “solved” despite no arrests being made.
He said that he would “hunt down” the other suspects if they would not surrender in 72 hours. The names of the suspects were published in the PNP report and circulated online despite no warrant issued against them at the time.
Three of the persons were said to be in PNP custody.
The Filipino LGBT community has figured in this case, as the rape-slay angle seemed dubious to them. Friends of the named suspects have asserted that some of them are gay and would not have been involved in the rape-slay of a woman, casting doubt on the PNP statements.
Further medico-legal reports on Dacera’s case have not been released to the public.
Three suspects make statements
Three of the people involved in the case have made statements on the events surrounding Dacera’s death.
Gregorio de Guzman, son of a popular Filipino singer, said in an interview with a local TV channel to air his side of the story, “Andun po kami, hindi namin iniwan si Tin until the end. Hindi namin iniwan si Tin,”
(We were there, we didn’t leave Tin until the end. We didn’t leave her.)
He went further to deny all allegations of rape and murder, “Absurd po. Paano po nagging rape? Bakla po ako. Hindi po ako nakipagtalik sa babae, never in my life.”
(This is absurd. How can it become rape? I’m gay. I don’t have intercourse with women, never in my life.)
Anther suspect, Valentine Rosales, said, “The truth will prevail. Social media fabricates the story too much. I wish you were here, Tin,” wrote Rosales.
“Sama sama padin tayo. Alam mo ikaw ang tranny ng barkada and let’s prove to them what really happened na walang foul play and finalingan mo lang talaga sa hep hep horray kaya ikaw nanalo ng 500 na di worth it sa pag semplang. Wish you were here.”
(We are still together on this. You know, [referring to Dacera], you are the tranny of our friend group so let’s prove to them that no foul play happened. You were just too good at the ‘hep hep hooray’ game that’s why you won 500 that wasn’t worth you falling on the floor. Wish you were here.)
He called the rape-slay report of PNP absurd and illogical, as he said that no one touched Dacera. He called for the release of the official autopsy report on the case.
Another suspect, Rey Englis, posted on his now-private Facebook profile:
He addressed people who were bashing him and his family, and said that he did not need their apologies and that the truth would set them free. He said that he loved Dacera very much and that they would survive the investigations.
This story shall be updated as developments continue.
Header image from Christine Dacera Instagram account.