MANILA - Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Friday refused to withdraw the P500,000 bounty he placed for the arrest of all individuals who partied with flight attendant Christine Dacera before she died on New Year's day.
The reward money "will be converted as financial aid to the family of Christine" as soon as all persons of interest "voluntarily surrender" to investigators, Pacquiao said in a statement.
"Mananatili ang aking itinakdang pabuya na nagkakahalaga ng P500,000 upang matunton ang iba pang mga sangkot sa kasong ito," he said.
(The P500,000 reward will remain to trace other persons involved in this case.)
"Let it be clear however that this bounty was put up only to ensure that all the people who were present on the night leading to the discovery of Christine’s lifeless body would come forward and shed light about this incident," he said.
"They must submit themselves to investigating authorities so that we will know what really happened," he said.
Four of the persons of interest in the death of the 23-year-old flight attendant earlier urged Pacquaiao to recall the P500,000 bounty on their heads, with their legal counsel saying the monetary reward "affects the safety and security of these gentlemen."
"Considering nga may mga sumusunod sa kanila, merong mga nagsu-surveillance or nagvi-video sa labas ng bahay nila. So, we are appealing to them na i-recall po 'yung bounty talaga," Lawyer Mike Santiago told ANC's Headstart.
(Considering that there were people following them, who were doing surveillance or taking videos outside their homes. We are appealing to them to recall the bounty.)
"We are willing naman, 'yung mga kliyente namin na harapin at sagutin po ang reklamo na ito," he said.
(We are willing, our clients are willing to face and answer the complaint.)
Pacquiao said he is willing to help ensure the safety of those who would voluntarily present themselves before investigators to shed light on Dacera's death.
"Nakahanda po akong tumulong upang matiyak ang inyong kaligtasan dahil ako ay naniniwala na gaya ninyo at ng pamilya ni Christine, ang tangi nating hangad ay ang malaman ang tunay na katotohanan. We all want to know the truth," said the senator, who hails from the victim's hometown General Santos City.
(I am ready to help ensure your safety because just like you and Christine's family, all I want is to know the truth.)
"Sabihin ninyo sa tunay na nangyari upang mabawasan na ang mga haka-haka tungkol sa kasong ito. Wala pong dahilan upang kayo ay matakot kung kakampi ninyo ang katotohanan," he said.
(Tell us what really happened to dispel speculations about this case. There is no reason for you to fear if the truth is your ally.)
Four of the 10 men who partied with Dacera on December 31 have surrendered to authorities and gave interviews to the media, saying that the flight attendant may have died due to natural causes.
ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Yap, who offered a P100,000 reward for information on suspects in the case, said "there is no need to recall per se the bounty placed on the persons of interest" in Dacera's death as it is "now considered as moot and now off the table" after they have presented themselves to authorities.