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2 men in Dacera case retract ‘powder drugs’ statement, say police forced them to make claim

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Jan 14, 2021 5:05 pm

Two respondents in the case of flight attendant Christine Dacera’s death have retracted their statement about the presence of “powder drugs” during their New Year’s Eve party, the event that preceded Dacera’s death.

It was earlier reported that John Pascual Dela Cerna II said in a sworn statement that a certain Mark Anthony Rosales brought “powder drugs” in their New Year’s Eve celebration. Rosales invited him to use the powder drugs, but he declined.

Rommel Galido, meanwhile, previously said that Dacera told him during the party that Rosales put something in her drink.

But Dela Cerna and Galido both recanted their statements on Wednesday, January 13.

In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Abby Portugal, one of the lawyers of five of the 11 respondents in the case, said her clients were pressured by the Makati police to make their earlier statement about the presence of the powder drugs during the party.

She added that her clients did not see any drugs during the incident.

“The powder issue insinuating drug use actually came from the mouth of the PNP Makati,” Portugal said.

Portugal added: ”It was added by them after subjecting the two detained to mental torture and misrepresentations that they will be released from detention and that no charges will be filed against them.”

Galido said he was “forced” to say that Rosales put something in Dacera’s drink.

“Fino-force kami na dapat magsabi, magturo kami ng someone kapalit ng kalayaan namin. Siyempre, wala akong alam kung anong dapat gawin. Gulong gulo ‘yung isip ko,” Galido said.

Meanwhile, in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Portugal said the police threatened that “they will rot in jail” if they don’t “point out to someone in relation to a drug case.”

"They do not think and we also do not think there was drug overdose. They didn't see anything in relation to drugs," Portugal said.

Portugal said two of his clients were not read the Miranda rights—a requirement during police arrests in the country—before they were detained.

Dela Serna Galido, and another respondent were detained by the Makati police over the death of Dacera, but were later ordered released by the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office for further investigation. 

Makati City police chief Police Col. Harold Depositar denied the allegations in a text message to ABS-CBN News. "There was no pressure, no torture. They were treated well. I even looked for a separate detention cell for the 3. They were not with ordinary detainees. I respected them and they know that,” Depositar said.