MANILA, Philippines — The hotel in Makati City implicated in the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera on Friday responded to the show cause order issued by the Department of Tourism to address allegations that it violated quarantine facility rules.
Dacera, 23, was found unconscious at a bathtub inside one of the rooms of City Garden Grand Hotel on New Year’s Day, following a night of revelry.
In his four-page reply to DOT, however, CGGH Hotel Officer-in-Charge General Manager Richard Reazon addressed the allegations that its hotel was used for leisure purposes, considering that it was listed and accredited as a quarantine facility.
As a quarantine facility, Reazon said that it is only accepting guests mandated by the government.
“We wish to assure your kind office that our establishment acts only with the utmost regard and respect for DOT and IATF’s regulations on accommodations,” the general manager said.
He said that since the hotel opened in June 2020, the hotel serviced thousands of returning overseas Filipino workers and other persons under quarantine.
Reazon furthered that it accepted three guests and is not informed that there were multiple guests in Dacera’s room.
The hotel said that none of the guests were made known to its front office manager, adding that during its initial review of the CCTV footage, “no obvious comings and goings were seen from any of the 3 rooms that would have roused the suspicion of our CCTV clerk, as their presence in any public spaces were brief.”
“It was only the following day (January 1st approximately 12 NN) when we received a health and safety incident that we came to know that more than one person may have occupied the rooms in question,” the general management said, referring to Room 2207 where Dacera was found.
Reazon further said the “bookings were made separately and under the different names, different accounts times.”
“During registration, they had declared at all times that only one person would be using the room. All three guests were accepted as corporate account guests of the hotel,” he said.
According to CGGH, corporate accounts pertain to “businesses that were within the immediate local vicinity of hotel or businesses otherwise permitted to book accommodations.”
CGGH also said that its own investigation showed that at least nine to 10 persons were “interspersed across three different rooms.”
“These visitors could only have gained access to guess floors with the aid of registered guests, in violation of hotel policies prohibiting such gatherings,” Reazon said.
Dacera’s friends, who were also respondents to a case earlier claimed that they booked the two hotel rooms, Room 2207 and 2009, with a help of CGGH hotel manager whom they claimed that they are friends with.
The witnesses also claimed there are 11 occupants in one of the rooms and an estimated of ten in the other room.
Despite this, CGGH, a four-star hotel maintained that its hotel is being used for quarantine purposes only.
“We also respectfully deny the charge that the hotel has allowed social events to take place within its premises in violation of relevant DOT and IATF Guidelines,” the general management said.
Only one restaurant Firefly Roofdeck, located on the 32nd floor is open to the public. The hotel said the same restaurant was open during the New Year’s eve until 11 p.m. only.
It said that the restaurant is following the IATF’s guidelines which include observance of minimum health protocols such as temperature check upon entry and 50% occupancy.
Other amenities such as its pools and spa have also been closed, according to the management.
The DOT last week issued a show cause order against CGGH and asked it to explain why its accreditation should not be revoked.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has repeatedly cautioned accommodation establishments listed as quarantine facilities that they are not allowed to take in guests for staycation purposes and are prohibited from operating their ancillary establishments such as spas, bars and gym, among others.
She also said events could not be held in a quarantine accommodation establishment.
Puyat said violators of the DOT’s guidelines could be meted fine, face suspension or revocation of its accreditation.
There are only 15 accredited accommodation establishments in Metro Manila that operate as staycation hotels, namely: Grand Hyatt Hotel, Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Okada Manila Hotel, Shangri-La at the Fort, Nobu Hotel, Joy Nostalg Hotel and Suites Manila, EDSA Shangri-La Manila, Solaire Resort, Hyatt Regency City of Dreams, Nuwa Hotel City of Dreams, The Peninsula Manila, Aruga by Rockwell, Sheraton Manila Hotel, Hilton Manila and Hotel Okura Manila.
Meanwhile, the DOT said it is not rushing the results of the probe into the Dacera case.
The DOT conducted a physical investigation last Friday, however, results are yet to be released.
“I was hoping sana to give the decision today but then we’re still finalizing it. This week we will be giving it. But definitely, the DOT will do what is right,” Puyat said during a press conference on Tuesday.
“This week lalabas na ‘yan (It will come out). Rest assured, the DOT will do what is fair and just,” she added.