Philippine judiciary

11 cleared of rape and homicide complaints in Christine Dacera case

Lian Buan

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11 cleared of rape and homicide complaints in Christine Dacera case

AIRPLANE CREW. Christine Dacera is a PAL Express flight attendant.

Christine Dacera's Facebook account

Makati prosecutors find no probable cause to charge Christine Dacera's friends with rape and homicide
11 cleared of rape and homicide complaints in Christine Dacera case

Makati prosecutors have cleared 11 men of rape and homicide complaints in relation to the case of 23-year-old flight attendant Christine Dacera, who was found unresponsive in a Makati hotel bathtub on January 1 after a party gone wrong.

In a 19-page resolution issued on Tuesday, April 27, the prosecutors said they found no probable cause to charge the 11 individuals of rape.

The complainant, Dacera’s mother Sharon, had submitted a medico-legal report supposedly showing “deep healed lacerations” in the young woman’s genital area.

The prosecutors said the report “is insufficient to prove that penile penetration or carnal knowledge was committed immediately prior to examination.”

The prosecutors said the analysis showed there was “no mixed DNA observed” in Dacera’s underwear.

“While it may be true that rape may be committed through sexual assault, however, the DNA analysis of the vaginal swabbing proved that no other DNA came in contact with the deceased, thus, negates the allegation of rape either by carnal knowledge or by sexual assault,” said the prosecutors.

The resolution was signed by Assistant City Prosecutor Joan Bolina-Santillan, and approved by Deputy City Prosecutor Henry Salazar and City Prosecutor Dindo Venturanza.

No ‘conclusive presumption’

Dacera and her gay male friends drank into the morning of January 1, 2021. Afterwards, the flight attendant had vomiting fits and fell asleep on the bathtub of the hotel room. The resolution narrated details of how her friends-turned-suspects tried to transfer her to the bed, until the afternoon when one of them woke up and saw Dacera’s lips turning black.

The complainants had also submitted a medico-legal report that showed the presence of semen in two of the beddings of Room 2209, the hotel room of Dacera and most of her friends. The other room, where Dacera went back and forth to join the party of other men – who were also mostly gay, according to the respondents – was Room 2207.

“The specimen subject of the medico-legal report was extracted from a white blanket and white beddings from Room 2009 without any indication that the beddings were specifically the ones used by the deceased. The mere presence of semen in these beddings does not prove that rape was committed,” said the prosecutors.

Dacera’s mother had also alleged that Christine’s drink was spiked, but a chemistry report did not provide “conclusive presumption,” said the prosecutors.

“The specimen in the chemistry report was taken from Room 2209 and not specifically from the deceased or from her clothing as to provide us with a conclusive presumption that indeed that the deceased or any of the respondents used fluoromethamphetamine or methampethamine or that the deceased’s drink was spiked,” said the prosecutors.

Those cleared of rape with homicide are: John Pascual dela Serna III, Rommel Galido, John Paul Halili, Gregorio Angelo Rafel De Guzman, Jezreel Rapinan, Alain Chen, Mark Anthony Rosales, Reymar Englis, Louie Delima, Jamyr Orris Cunanan, and Eduard Pangilinan III.

Other options

The Dacera family is said to be considering other “options” following the resolution issued by the Makati prosecutors.

“There are many options on our part. The Dacera family can go to the Department of Justice to appeal this dismissal or we can refile this cases, we can refile the drug case, we can refile the rape case,” said lawyer Brick Reyes, spokesperson of the Dacera family.

We are not going to say amen to this dismissal because we are looking for truth and justice not only for Christine Dacera,” he added.

This case highlighted the gaps of police investigation. Makati police quickly arrested without warrant some of the respondents, ordered a manhunt also without a warrant, until the prosecutors released them for further investigation.

The initial statement of the police that Dacera was a rape-slay victim even spurred a P500,000-reward offer from Senator Manny Pacquiao for the arrest of Dacera’s alleged rapists and killers.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed separate complaints for obstruction of justice against the same men, perjury against Galido, Dela Serna, and Darwin Joseph Macalla; and violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act for supposedly giving out party drugs against Rosales and Galido. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.