MANILA (UPDATE) - Flight attendant Christine Dacera, whose death on New Year's Day remains a puzzle to authorities, was laid to rest on Sunday morning in General Santos City.
Dacera, 23, became a flight attendant to take her family on trips around the world for free, her mother Sharon said.
The family would pursue charges against persons who may be found to be responsible for Dacera's death after the National Bureau of Investigation was tapped to conduct a probe, according to Dacera's aunt Rhona Rosario.
"Ipapasa-Diyos ko na lang sila kung sino man sila because we’re still grieving," Sharon Dacera said of the possible suspects.
(I entrust them to God whoever they are because we're still grieving.)
The University of the Philippines-Mindanao graduate was found unconscious and without a pulse in a bathtub in a Makati hotel around 12:30 p.m. on January 1 after a night of partying.
Her friends said they tried to revive her and brought her to the Makati Medical Center but she was declared dead on arrival.
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-slay case.
The flight attendant's friend, Janessa Rillota, hit the media for how it "framed our friend."
"She is more than just a headline. She is not a story. She is not a glitch. She's a real person. She is a friend. She is a sister, a daughter, an acquaintance," said Rillota, who attended the burial of Dacera at the Forest Lake Memorial Park in General Santos City's Barangay Apopong.
"Someone we love who deserves to live. We will not be silenced and we will not let this be ignored or forgotten after this burial."
The Makati City Prosecutor has since referred the case for further investigation and ordered the release of 3 suspects in Dacera's death.
The men implicated in the death of Dacera had already denied they had something to do with their friend’s death, and appealed to lawmakers to recall the bounty placed on their heads as they vowed to respond to the rape complaint filed against them.
The Metro Manila Police is working to identify the group in the second hotel room that Dacera visited prior to her death, according to its spokesperson Lt. Col. Jenny Tecson.
"Continuous pa rin po ang ginagawa natin. Kaya kung sinuman po sila, magtungo lang po sila sa malapit na police station. Kung meron silang kinalaman, pumunta lang po sila satin," she told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(Our investigation is continuous. So whoever they are, they can go to the nearest police station if they have information.)
"Ginagawa naman po natin ng paraan na magkaroon ng air-tight case."
(We're doing our best to make an air-tight case.)
- with reports from Wheng Hidalgo, ABS-CBN News