A Philippines police chief has been sacked for claiming an air stewardess was gang-raped and murdered, but her family insist he was telling the truth.
Christine Dacera was found dead in a bathtub at the Garden City Grand Hotel in Makati, Philippines on New Year’s Day.
Eleven men were provisionally charged with rape and murder of the 23-year-old PAL Express crew member after police investigations found injuries to her arms and legs and traces of sperm on her body.
But the charges were slapped down by prosecutors who said further investigations including a post-mortem revealed Dacera died from a brain aneurysm.
Now, an order has been made to remove Makati Police Chief Colonel Harold Depositar in light of massive criticism for the handling of the high profile case, the BBC reported.
Her mother has rejected the autopsy result, insisting that her daughter was raped and murdered, and that her killers must be held to account.
An order has been made to remove Makati Police Chief Colonel Harold Depositar in light of massive criticism for the handling of the high profile case of Christine Dacera
Christine Dacera was found dead in a bathtub at the Garden City Grand Hotel in Makati, Philippines on New Year’s Day
The mother of a flight attendant who died at a New Year’s Eve party in a luxury Philippines hotel has blasted the official autopsy that found her daughter died from a ‘ruptured aortic aneurysm’
Police have provisionally charged 11 men with rape and homicide who were with Dacera and were in the adjacent hotel rooms
The body of Christine Angelica Dacera, 23, was found in a bath in the City Garden Hotel in the city of Makati in the Philippine region of Metropolitan Manila after a New Year’s party.
One of her colleagues, Rommel Galida, who was later arrested as a suspect, told how he woke up at around 10am and noticed her asleep in the bathtub.
He said he covered her with a blanket before going back to sleep and only discovered that she was seriously ill when he woke up later and raised the alarm.
The flight attendant from General Santos City was found dead in a bathtub at the hotel
Former suspect Gregorio de Guzman, pictured above, insisted he is innocent, claiming that he and the other men charged are all gay
Police initially claimed that it was a gang rape case, which was reported around the world, but have now backtracked after admitting they made the claim without an autopsy. In fact, the body had already been embalmed ready for burial, according to reports.
It has now been revealed that all of the men have said that they are gay.
The autopsy showed that Christine probably died of an aortic aneurysm, a heart rupture possibly caused by high blood pressure. However, it was not confirmed because the body had already been embalmed.
One of her colleagues, Rommel Galida, woke up at around 10am and noticed Dacera in the bathtub
Dacera was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead after a friend thought she was asleep in the bathtub but found her in the same position hours later. Pictured: The hotel where Dacera died
‘If you see the body of Christine, if you are the mother, you will surely feel the pain suffered by Christine from them but my daughter cannot speak anymore because she died,’ Christine’s mother, Mrs Dacera told the Headstart programme.
‘There were lacerations on my daughter, bruises, how come it wasn’t written [in the autopsy]? I cannot accept the autopsy that they had done.’
‘There was a crime, my daughter is dead. There was a crime,’ she said.
‘The ones responsible should be made to pay in the death of my daughter. That is justice for me.’
The Makati City Prosecutor’s Office said the ‘pieces of evidence so far submitted are insufficient to establish that [Ms Dacera] was sexually assaulted or raped,’ the New Zealand Herald reported.
The Dacera family is now calling for the Philippine National Police’s medico-legal officer to be fired, alleging that they bungled the autopsy.
The family believe that Christine Dacera was drugged and abused before her death.
The New Zealand Herald reported that the family claimed the young woman had ‘already experienced intoxication and complained that her drinks appeared to have been spiked’ during the New Year’s party.
Dacera, 23, was celebrating New Year’s Eve in the lavish City Garden Hotel in Makati
‘We also believe that maybe the aneurysm was a proximate cause but it is also very possible it was triggered by the assault prior to her death,’ The Inquirer quoted the family’s lawyer, Brick Reyes, as saying.
A second autopsy is due to be conducted on Dacera’s body, this time by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The results are expected to be released sometime this week.
The NBI is hopeful the second autopsy will confirm how Dacera died but said that her remains were ‘already contaminated,’ according to the New Zealand Herald.
Dacera’s body was embalmed prior to the second autopsy and some of the evidence previously collected appeared to have deteriorated, according to Ferdinand Lavin, the deputy director of the NBI.
CCTV stills purportedly show Dacera’s final moments before she was allegedly gang-raped and killed in a hotel room in the Philippines
Eleven men were provisionally charged in relation to the rape and murder of the 23-year-old PAL Express crew member
‘We know that it was quite impossible [to get proper evidence] considering that there have already been some compromises and the body has shown signs of deterioration but we were not discouraged by that,’ he told reporters on Saturday.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Tuesday that the NBI had successfully extracted urine samples from Dacera’s body which can ‘provide a lot of information to the forensic team’.
Prior to her death, Dacera had checked into the hotel with three male friends and another man. More men joined them later on for a New Year’s Eve party.
CCTV images show a barefoot Dacera in the hotel corridor. In one image she is holding a glass of wine as several men follow her to the room.
Makati police chief Colonel Harold Depositar, who has since been sacked, said the 23-year-old had injuries on her arms and legs and traces of sperm on her genitals. He said her death was the result of rape and homicide.
He said: ‘Only three of them were Dacera’s friends.
‘The others were practically strangers to her, as they were only known to her three friends.’
Depositar went on to say: ‘For sure, there was force inflicted on her body because we found contusions in her leg and knees, and there’s an abrasion in her thigh,’
He added that semen had been found ‘in multiple places in the hotel rooms’.