NBI forensic exam in Dacera case done, says DOJ chief

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 18 2021 05:19 PM | Updated as of Jan 18 2021 05:20 PM

NBI forensic exam in Dacera case done, says DOJ chief 1
Courtesy of Christine Dacera Instagram page

MANILA - The National Bureau of Investigation had finished its forensic examination of Christine Dacera's specimens, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Monday.

“The NBI has completed its forensic examination of tissues obtained from the subject's remains. It is currently coordinating with the Makati Medical Center on related issues,” Guevarra told reporters in a message, without disclosing the results.

“I will leave it to the NBI to release the results… I will not pre-empt the NBI. I believe they will disclose their findings pretty soon,” he added.

The tissues, Guevarra said, refer to those from certain organs as well as Dacera’s urine, which the NBI forensic team collected in General Santos City on Jan. 9, a day before she was laid to rest.

The NBI recovered 3 boxes of biological samples, including about 100 ml of urine.

The re-autopsy was conducted 8 days after the 23-year-old flight attendant was found unconscious in a bathtub at the City Garden Grand Hotel in Makati City following a night of partying.

Her friends rushed her to the Makati Medical Center where she was declared dead on arrival.

The PNP medico-legal report indicated she died due to ruptured aortic aneurysm. But Makati City police decided to file rape with homicide complaints with the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office against the 11 occupants of the hotel's Room 2209, who were all Dacera’s friends and are self-confessed members of the LGBT community.

Instead of filing a case in court, the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office said the evidence was insufficient to charge the 11 respondents and ordered a preliminary investigation into the complaint, as well as the release the 3 respondents held in police custody.

The NBI stepped in after Guevarra found the police investigation “not thorough enough.”

The NBI’s recovery of urine from Dacera’s body raised questions about the credibility of the investigations, as copies of the PNP medico-legal report that surfaced online showed her urinary bladder was supposedly empty at the time of the first autopsy.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun said it is a question of who between the PNP and the NBI was telling the truth, and who was backed up by proper documentation.

NBI deputy director Ferdinand Lavin insisted it was still possible to recover urine from a dead body.

Adding to the questions is the PNP’s admission that the first autopsy was conducted after embalming, a process that involves the draining of blood and introduction of formalin-based fluids into the body.

The Dacera family has filed a complaint for gross negligence and gross incompetence against Police Maj. Michael Nick Sarmiento, the PNP medico-legal officer who conducted the first autopsy.

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Guevarra said the NBI would now look into phone records of those tagged in the alleged rape-slay.

“The NBI digital forensic team will now proceed to examine the data in the mobile phones of the persons of interest,” he said.

The list of persons of interest has now expanded from those occupying Room 2209 to those in Room 2207, which Dacera visited on the night before she died.

All the occupants of Room 2207 have presented themselves to the NBI.

Guevarra confirmed that some of the persons of interest had gone through drug tests.

“I understand that some of them have undergone drug testing, and the rest will also be tested. I’ll leave it to the NBI to divulge the results,” he said in response to a query from ABS-CBN News.

On Friday, Valentine Rosales or Alain Chen, one of the occupants of Room 2209 and one of the respondents, shared on Facebook pictures showing he and 4 other respondents tested negative for drug use.

The 4 other respondents who also underwent drug testing were Jezreel Rapinan, Rommel Galido, John Pascual dela Serna III and Gregorio Angelo de Guzman.

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