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January 12, 2021

NBI Assures Persons Of Interest In Dacera Case Of Fair Probe; PNP To Determine Lapses

NBI Assures Persons Of Interest In Dacera Case Of Fair Probe; PNP To Determine Lapses The family of flight attendant Christine Dacera weep as she is laid to rest in General Santos City on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. Screenshot from News5 video footage

The National Bureau of Investigation said on Monday, Jan. 11, that eight of the 11 persons being probed over the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera were represented by their lawyers after they were summoned by the agency.

Lawyer Ferdinand Lavin, NBI spokesperson and deputy director, said the legal counsels promised that their clients – Rommel Galido, John Paul dela Serna III, Gregorio De Guzman, Valentine Rosales, Clark Rapinan, Eduardo Madrid Pangilinan III, Jammyr Cunanan and Mark Anthony Rosales – would cooperate in the investigation.

Lavin told reporters that these persons of interest will be subjected to question and answer during the preliminary investigation set by the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

It can be recalled that Assistant City Prosecutor Joan Bolina-Santillan ordered the release of Galido, Dela Serna and Halili on Jan. 6 and asked the Makati City police to conduct “further investigation” due to “insufficient” evidence to back its charges that Dacera was raped and killed.

He assured those tagged in the alleged rape-slay of Dacera that they would be given the opportunity and the “equal chance” to be heard as part of the investigation process.

Lavin stressed “it’s too presumptuous” and “ too early” to say if a crime was really committed although he noted that the autopsy done on the remains of Dacera yielded “very interesting leads” and “encouraging results.”

The NBI wants “to know the truth,” he said, adding despite the odds, the results of the autopsy could be 80 percent useful for their investigation.

He explained that any alleged violation of the law must be compared with the scientific, forensic and testimonial evidence through eyewitnesses, if there were any.

The bureau will continue with its investigation even if some of the suspects fail to present themselves, Lavin said.

“If they ignore the invitation, then whatever pieces of evidence we have at hand, by the time we have concluded the investigation, then we will file a case if we see any violations,” he added.

Lavin said their trip to General Santos City to conduct the autopsy on Dacera was “worth it” because specimens were collected even if the body was “deteriorated,” decayed, “contaminated” and “compromised” as embalming was done before the first autopsy.

The NBI authorities conducted the autopsy on Dacera on Saturday, Jan. 9, a day before her burial on  Sunday, Jan. 10.

Even if the body had been embalmed, Lavin noted it was still possible to determine the presence and level of alcohol in the body through toxicology. The presence of illegal drugs in the body can also be ascertained, but not the level, Lavin said.

Forensic report out in a week

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Monday that the NBI is expected to release within the week its forensic results on the autopsy it conducted on the remains of Dacera.

Earlier, Guevarra expressed hope that the NBI would be ready with its findings in time for the preliminary investigation set by the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office on Jan. 13.

Aside from the forensic team, the justice secretary had ordered the NBI to conduct a separate probe to determine the cause of death of Dacera. The 23-year-old flight attendant was found unconscious in an empty bathtub inside Room 2209 of the City Garden Grand Hotel in Makati City on Jan. 1.

Aside from those in Room 2209, Guevarra said the “NBI knows the name of the person who registered at the reception and the faces/names of the other persons” in Room 2207 where Dacera and her companions also stayed.

The occupants of Room 2207 have also been asked to appear before the NBI to provide relevant information. Lavin refused to disclose their names.

Guevarra said it would be “more prudent to await further narrative accounts and the results of the NBI forensic examination” before making any further comments on the matter.

PNP probes lapses

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has tasked its Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) to determine any lapses supposedly committed by Makati City police in investigating the death of Dacera.

PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas said the DIDM has until Jan. 13 to submit its findings.

It was Sinas who declared the case “solved” on Jan. 5 after the Makati police arrested and charged Galido, Dela Serna and Halili.

“I have directed the DIDM to conduct a separate inquiry and recommend to us not later than Jan. 13 their findings on any liabilities of Makati police officers involved in the ongoing investigation of the Dacera case,” Sinas told reporters on Monday.

Sinas said the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group has also been made lead investigator of the case.

“However, this will be supervised by the regional director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO),” Sinas added.

The PNP earlier admitted that there were lapses in the investigation into the flight attendant’s death, most notably in the postmortem.

The NCRPO said they formed a special investigation task group to build an airtight case.

Read more: ‘PNP’s Alleged Bungling Of Probe Won’t Weaken Christine Dacera Case’; Suspects Deny Charges

‘I Become Like Kim Chiu:’ Suspect In Dacera Case Appeals For Help; NBI Summons 11 Persons

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