Rape claim in flight attendant's death 'not a fight' vs LGBTs: family lawyer

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 07 2021 09:59 AM | Updated as of Jan 07 2021 11:22 AM

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MANILA (UPDATE) - The rape claim against suspects in the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera is not a fight against the LGBT community, one of the family's lawyers said Thursday.

Dacera, 23, was found dead on New Year's Day in a Makati City hotel after partying with some men the night before. One of the suspects has said the men were gay and had no reason to harm her.

Sexual orientation, however, is not one of the elements in proving the crime of rape, said Jose Ledda III, one of the Dacera family's counsels.

"In so far as we are concerned, the admission comes to nothing...Sexual orientation or being a member of the LGBT community is not a defense for rape. One may claim, assert or even prove that one maybe is a homosexual but one does not discount that rape cannot be committed by an individual," he told ANC's Headstart.

"This is also not a fight against the LGBT community, this is rather a struggle of the family to attain justice for the victim."

The family is coordinating with state agencies in "carrying out the necessary actions to support the claims of the legal team that rape was indeed committed," Ledda added.

It is also trying to secure additional CCTV footages inside the Makati hotel, according to the lawyer. Videos leaked in social media does not change the family's position on the matter, he added.

"Di naman ang magbabago ng posisyon ng pamilya dahil may kaunting nailabas na dokumento or footage na supposedly related sa kaso. A single footage does not tell the whole story," Ledda told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(The family's position won't change just because a document or a footage that's supposedly related to the case was released to the public.)

"The position of the family and the legal counsel ay di nabago dahil lang sa mga lumalabas sa social media (remains unchanged despite information coming out on social media)."

An initial medico-legal report concluded that the cause of death was “consistent with ruptured aortic aneurysm," but the Makati police later said it was a rape-homicide case.

The Makati City Prosecutor has since referred the case for further investigation and ordered the release of 3 suspects in Dacera's death.

"It only shows that, unlike the claims of others, the justice system in the Philippines is still working. It does not weaken the case of the family at all. It merely requires the team to submit further documents to prove that there is probable cause for the crime being charged," Ledda said.

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