MANILA — The persons of interest in the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera were not coerced or tortured to give testimonies pointing to the alleged presence of "powdered drugs" hours before she died on Jan. 1, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday.
The lawyer of two men implicated in the 23-year-old’s death earlier said in an ANC interview that her clients were threatened by the Makati police to pin the incident on someone or else they would rot in jail.
Makati City police chief Police Col. Harold Depositar had denied the allegations.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief BGen. Vicente Danao Jr. questioned the timing of the men's allegations against the police, noting these were not mentioned in various interviews granted by the group prior to Wednesday's preliminary investigation.
"Unang-una, they’re coming out… (in) different social media. Same story sinasabi nila. Wala naman sila kinuwento na nabugbog sila. Bakit ngayon, may bugbugan? Whatever reason, sila ang nakakaalam," Danao said.
(They did not mention before that they were beaten. Why are they saying this only now? They are the only people who know the reason behind these allegations.)
Danao said the respondents could be held liable for perjury because they were under oath when they made their initial statements.
The PNP is still in the process of gathering additional evidence that could shed light on the cause of Dacera's death and the circumstances leading to it. It is also inviting potential witnesses.
"Isa yun sa amendment namin, (that is one of our amendments) 8 additional names dun sa complaint. From 11 to 19. We are still waiting for them to appear. You don't have to be afraid if you have got nothing to hide," Danao said.
The PNP has been criticized for its supposed mishandling of the incident. Netizens slammed PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas after he declared and insisted that Dacera’s alleged rape-slay case is already "solved" despite lack of clear findings.
An initial medico-legal report cited ruptured aortic aneurysm as the cause of Dacera's death. All men considered by police as suspects said they did not and had no reason to inflict harm on their flight attendant friend.