MANILA, Philippines — The provisional charge of rape with homicide against 11 men in connection with the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera is not yet lost even if the Makati prosecutor’s office tossed back the case to the police for further investigation, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said yesterday.
“The suspects are not yet off the hook,” PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said in a television interview, adding that investigators need to determine “how the crime was committed.”
Usana on Friday admitted there were lapses in the probe of Dacera’s death. Among these lapses was that an autopsy was not conducted before her body was embalmed.
The PNP earlier said Dacera was raped and killed by the respondents, based on the initial assessment of Makati police chief Col. Harold Depositar that there were lacerations and contusions on her body as well as seminal fluid in her genitals.
However, police investigators were not able to substantiate their complaint with the necessary pieces of evidence.
Usana urged the respondents to come forward and give their side of the story to the authorities if they have nothing to hide.
“This will help find out the truth,” he said.
Usana said the respondents can shed light on whether there was foul play in Dacera’s death or if she died of natural causes.
Meanwhile, some of the respondents appealed to two lawmakers to revoke the bountry offered for their arrest.
Lawyer Mike Santiago, who represents some of the respondents, called on Sen. Manny Pacquiao and ACT-CIS partylist Rep. Eric Yap on Friday to recall their offered bounty of P500,000 and P100,000, respectively, saying “this affects the safety and security of these gentlemen.”
He told ABS-CBN News Channel there was no longer a need to offer a bounty because “there is a complaint before the office of the city prosecutor (in Makati City) that we are willing to face and answer.”
Clark Rapinan, one of the 11 men charged in Dacera’s death, said he has been fearing for his life and for his family since they surfaced.
“When we left our house, a car followed our car and caught us on video,” he said.
He and four others – Gregorio de Guzman, John Pascual dela Serna III, Rommel Galido, and Valentine Rosales – insisted that they and others, whom they claimed to be all gay, did not rape Dacera and that her death due to a ruptured aortic aneurysm meant she died a natural death.