NCRPO chief: Toxicology report will shed light on flight attendant’s death

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 07 2021 07:47 PM | Updated as of Jan 08 2021 02:31 AM

MANILA— The Philippine National Police (PNP) will also look into the reported intoxication of flight attendant Christine Dacera during her final hours, noting that the toxicology report will be important in the case, Metro Manila police chief Police Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. said Thursday. 

Danao said that the pending toxicology report could shed light on the medico-legal finding that Dacera’s death was caused by “ruptured aortic aneurysm” or the rupture of a weakened portion of the aorta. 

“As far as the SOCO is concerned, doon sa medico legal, she died of aneurysm. Now, what caused that aneurysm? 'Yun ang tanong… Sa pagkaalam ko kasi at sa narinig ko rin na too much intoxication lalo na 'pag uminom ka ng 7 different kinds of intoxicating liquor, lalo na’t hard, aba eh talagang iikot mundo mo,” Danao explained. 

(As far as I know, she was too intoxicated. This could happen if you drink 7 different kinds of intoxicating, hard liquor — your head will really spin.) 

He also said that liquor could be the cause of hypertension which led to the flight attendant’s aneurysm. 

“Ang mahirap nito 'pag itong mga alak na ito ay nadagdagan ng droga — so 'yun ang tanong,” he added. 

(The alcohol will be more dangerous if it has drugs, so that’s the question.) 

The 23-year-old was found unconscious in a bathtub at a Makati City hotel in the morning of January 1 and was later pronounced dead-on-arrival at the Makati Medical Center. 

She was celebrating the new year with male friends, most of whom identified as gay

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Aided by the Makati City Police, Dacera’s mother, Sharon Rose Dacera, filed a complaint for rape with homicide against 11 respondents. 

Three of her friends who were considered suspects— Rommel Galido, John Paul Halili, and John Dela Serna— were detained but later ordered released by the Makati City Prosecutor due to “insufficient evidence” pending preliminary investigation. 

The hearing for the preliminary investigation of the case was set on Jan. 13, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. 

In the 3-page resolution, the investigating prosecutor also directed police officers to submit additional evidence, such as the DNA analysis report, toxicology/chemical analysis, and the histopath examination report. 

FOUL PLAY NOT RULED OUT

Despite the ruling by Assistant City Prosecutor Joan Santillan, which was affirmed by Deputy City Prosecutor Henry Salazar and City Prosecutor Dindo Venturanza, Danao said the PNP remains hopeful that it could prove its case. 

“Hindi pa rin natin kasi masabi kung it was death by natural causes until walang papel na magsasabi o walang documents na magsasabi na it was death through natural cause,” he said. 

(We really cannot conclude if she died because of natural causes until a document can prove it.)

He added that when he read the file, he knew there was something amiss, and that is what they are trying to figure out. 

“Frankly speaking, bago ko pa nabasa 'yung documents na ipinasa sa fiscal eh nai-file na 'yung case; kaya nga po nung nabasa ko na na-i-file na 'yun, sabi ko may kulang… So kung anuman ang kulang na 'yun, 'yun ang dini-discuss namin ngayon,” the NCRPO chief said. 

(Before I read the documents filed before the fiscal, the case was already filed. But I knew there was something missing so that's what we're discussing.) 

He also rejected observations police work on the case has been “sloppy,” insisting that the premature filing of the complaint was due to the police investigators’ “eagerness.”

“I’d rather say na due to the eagerness ng PNP or ng mga investigators at hand na ma-i-file agad 'yung case, although sabi ko nga nang dahil siguro sa kagustuhan na ma-i-file kaagad eh kahit anong nakulang eh pinush through pa rin,” he said. 

(The case was filed because of the PNP and the investigators’ eagerness. But maybe because they wanted to file it immediately, while there are still some facts missing, they pushed through with it.) 

“Although sabi ko nga hindi ito magiging dahilan para ma-pull down 'yung morale ng ating mga tao, as a matter of fact, I take this as a challenge na para lalo nating ma-improve 'yung ating police work.” 

(This is not a reason to pull down our morale. I consider this as a challenge to improve our police work.) 

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POSSIBLE LAPSES

In response to questions why Dacera’s cadaver was embalmed prior to medico-legal examination, Danao said possible lapses would be looked into at a later time. 

“'Yun nga ang tinitingnan natin on what could be the lapses, kasi supposedly ako, bilang matagal na rin sa serbisyo, dapat talaga 'yan the very first hour that it happened and it was declared na dead kung sinuman 'yung namatay, dapat yung medico-legal or yung SOCO should be there,” the police said.

“Actually tinanong ko si doktor, ‘bakit mo pinaembalsamo kaagad?’ ang sabi nya ‘sir, mas mapi-preserve 'yung body pag pina-embalsamo.’” 

(We are looking at the lapses. I have been in service for long already, and I think that the very first thing they did was call for the presence of a medico-legal or SOCO. I asked the doctor why Christine's body was already embalmed, the doctor said this would preserve the body.) 

SUSPECTS SHOULD COME FORWARD

As the investigation continues, Danao said the suspects should come forward to shed light on Dacera’s death.

“'Yun nga po nakakapagtaka d'yan, ba’t kailangan po magtago? Kung sakaling wala naman po tayong tinatago na any information d'yan, bakit hindi na lang tayo to come out in the open ‘di ba?"

“So mas maganda siguro kung ano nangyari doon di sabihin n'yo na ‘nag-inuman lang kami doon, umalis’, para makita natin kung ano talaga nangyari sa loob,” Danao pointed out. 

(Why do you need to hide if you have information that could help? Why not come out? It would be better if we know what really happened during that night or say ‘we drank then went home afterwards.’) 

Shortly after their release from detention on Wednesday, Galido, Halili and Dela Serna maintained their innocence, commiserating with the bereaved family. 

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