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FALSE: Christine Dacera recognized as new Filipino saint

At a glance:
  • Claim: Christine Dacera has been recognized as a new Filipino saint.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: As of Tuesday, February 23, there are only two Filipinos who have been canonized as saints – Lorenzo Ruiz, who was canonized in 1987, and Pedro Calungsod, canonized in 2012.
  • Why we fact-checked this:  Two posts have gained a combined 11,200 reactions, 1,575 comments, and over 16,000 shares as of writing.
Complete details:

Facebook posts claim that 23-year-old Christine Dacera, the flight attendant who was found dead in a Makati hotel bathtub on New Year's Day 2021, has been recognized as a Filipino saint. 

On February 20, Facebook user "Sing" posted a photo of Dacera with a text that claimed she is the "IKATLONG SANTONG PILIPINO (the third Filipino saint)." The caption also said that “Christine Dacera is the newly canonized saint from the Philippines, Christine is the Patron Saints of Flight Attendants and Party Goers. She is the third recognize (sic) saint from the Philippines." This has been taken down as of Tuesday, February 23.

Another Facebook user posted on February 19 a screenshot from MANGKZ_PH @morts saying that “Christine Dacera is the first Pinay saint of the 21st century.” It also claimed that her sainthood has been granted by the Vatican. 

Overall, the two posts have gained 11,200 reactions, 1,575 comments, and over 16,000 shares as of writing. In the comments section, some netizens believed the claim and went as far as seeking intercession.

This claim is false.

Rappler found no documents or related reports from the Vatican's website, the Catholic Church in the Philippines, and other trustworthy news organizations to support this claim. 

The investigation being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) into the death of Dacera is still ongoing as of writing. Earlier, the police prematurely said, without basis, that she was a victim of a rape-slay. But crime laboratory findings released later showed that Dacera died of natural causes, ruling out homicide. 

As of February 23, there are the only two Filipinos who have been canonized as saints. These are Lorenzo Ruiz, who was canonized in 1987, and Pedro Calungsod, canonized in 2012.

A BBC article said that the process of making someone a saint cannot normally start until at least 5 years after his or her death. The pope, however, can waive the waiting period as what happened in the case of John Paul II in 2005 and Mother Teresa in 1999.  

In official Catholic Church procedures, the pope officially lists a person as a saint in a ritual called canonization or the official process for declaring someone a saint. Those named “saints” are listed in the “canon” and are given a special day, called a “feast,” in the Catholic calendar.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), there are 3 basic steps to sainthood: a candidate becomes "Venerable," then "Blessed," and then "Saint." 

USCCB added that “Venerable” is “the title given to a deceased person recognized formally by the Pope as having lived heroic virtues."

The candidate is called “Blessed” if the “Venerable” helped produce at least one miracle through his or her intercession. The Catholic Church officially considers a person as “blessed” in a ritual called beatification. If a second miracle is attributed to a “blessed,” the “blessed” becomes a “saint.” – Jene Anne Pangue/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.