MANILA - Three suspects tagged in the alleged rape-slay of a flight attendant in a Makati hotel maintained their innocence following their release from police custody Wednesday.
Rommel Galido, John Paul Halili, and John Dela Serna came out from their cell at the Makati City Police Station, where they were detained since Jan. 4, after the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office ordered their release for further investigation of the death of Christine Angelica Dacera.
Dacera, 23, was found dead in a bathtub after celebrating the New Year at a hotel room with friends.
“Masaya po ako sa nangyaring development po, at least po lumabas ang katotohanan… sobrang nakahinga [nang maluwag],” Galido said.
“Nakakastress po sobra, apektado po lahat — trabaho, pamilya,” he added.
Amid the public outcry over Dacera’s death, which Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas insisted by himself was an alleged rape slay, a tearful Halili urged the public to “accept” the outcome of the inquest.
“Sana po igalang po natin kung ano ang lumabas na resulta kasi lahat naman tayo … hirap na hirap na kasi pamilya ko … ang buong pamilya ko,” he said.
The three had messages for her bereaved family.
“Para sa pamilya po ni Christine, nararamdaman ko po yung sakit na nararamdaman nila. Si Christine po, naging parang kapatid ko na rin siya, sobrang mahal na mahal ko si Christine, at para sa akin sobrang sakit din mawala si Christine. Pero sana po maliwanagan ang pamilya ni Christine,” said Galido.
"Christine, kung nasaan ka man ngayon, sana i-clear mo yung mind [inaudible] ng mom mo na wala kaming kasalanan dito. Alam mo kung gaano ka namin kamahal," Dela Serna said.
“Ang tanging hiling lang namin: bantayan mo family mo, at kaming mga kaibigan mo. Alam mo kung gaano ka namin kamahal nang sobrang sobra. Part ka na ng buhay namin at ngayon mahirap tanggapin na wala ka na,” he added.
After an autopsy, the police initially ruled the cause of Dacera's death as ruptured aortic aneurysm, or rupture of a weakened, bulged portion of the aorta, the largest artery carrying oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.
But Dacera's family said it would also conduct another autopsy, challenging the initial autopsy and describing it as incomplete, insisting it was a rape slay.
Besides Galido, Halili, and Dela Serna, 8 more respondents are named in the rape with homicide complaint filed by the victim's mother, Sharon Rose Dacera. The 8 were also with Dacera in her final hours.
Gregorio de Guzman, also one of the suspects, earlier said he couldn't find any reason that Dacera's friends, including him, would want to harm her.
He maintained everybody loved and "cherished" her, and that everyone around her at the time was a member of the LGBT community.
Makati Assistant City Prosecutor Joan Santillan meanwhile said in her resolution that ordered the 3 suspects' release that “[a]t this point, the pieces of evidence so far submitted are insufficient to establish that she (Christine Dacera) was sexually assaulted or raped."
"In the same manner, the evidence is also insufficient to prove the exact cause of death of the deceased," she said.
The prosecutor’s office has set the preliminary investigation of the complaint against all respondents on Jan. 13.