MANILA — Police are now hard at work to obtain additional evidence to shed light on the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera in a Makati hotel, the Metro Manila police chief said Friday.
National Capital Region Police Office chief Police Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. said they have formed a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to build an airtight case, after the Makati City Prosecutor's Office decided to call for a preliminary investigation into the 23-year-old’s death on January 1 due to insufficient evidence against the respondents.
The prosecutor's office also ordered the release of three suspects held for rape with homicide charges.
It said Dacera’s death needed more clarification. Police hold that the case was one of rape with homicide, while the initial autopsy report found that her death was due to ruptured aortic aneurysm.
The justice department just announced that the National Bureau of Investigation would hold a parallel probe.
"Dapat ma-establish if there was foul play. [If she] was intoxicated, if there was rape," Danao said.
Danao admitted the initial case filed by the Makati Police lacked some key elements, including a medico legal report and toxicology results.
"We are hoping na may na extract na samples (ang medico legal team)," Danao noted, adding they are facing a huge challenge as the victim's body was embalmed before the autopsy.
The embalming could have erased or contaminated potential evidence, said the NCRPO chief.
He also explained that the medico-legal officer embalmed Dacera’s body before the autopsy because it was allegedly a procedure under COVID-19 protocols.
Meanwhile, Makati Police Chief Police Col. Harold Depositar will remain in his position for now, Danao said, despite earlier admitting that the city police chief might have been too eager to file the case even without all the evidence needed.
"We need to find evidence and to dig deeper, dahil initially may kakulangan nga (because some information is still missing)" he said.