Flight attendant Christine Angelica Dacera only wanted to ring in the New Year with her friends but ended up in a cold, empty hotel bathtub—unconscious and, later on, dead.
The news of Dacera’s death ignited outrage as calls for justice and hashtags related to the case trended on social media including #JusticeForChristineDacera.
The hashtag #StopVictimBlaming together with the words “cause of rape” and “death penalty” also stirred conversations.
“Stop blaming women for wearing what they want, for going to the parties and getting drunk. (Women’s) inability to say ‘no’ doesn’t mean ‘yes’,” a netizen wrote.
“No matter how close you are to your so-called ‘friends,’ don't trust them fully. Too many people take advantage of the trust they're given,” said another.
The conversation blew up even further after the Philippine National Police (PNP) released more details about the case, including the names of the suspects, to which some netizens noted and condemned as “trial by publicity.”
“#JusticeForChristineDacera yes, uncompromisingly, But convicting the wrong people would be a miscarriage of justice as well,” a netizen said. “So due process. Presumption of innocence. Even for men we’ve already adjudged as trashy. As we would want for yourselves.”
The victim’s mother, Sharon Dacera, told 24-Oras that her daughter called their family (who are based in General Santos City) past 12 a.m. on Jan. 1 and said she asked for permission to attend a New Year’s Ever party with friends and colleagues.
The grieving mother said through tears, “Bakit kailangan gawin ‘yun nila sa anak ko? I want to seek justice, justice for my daughter na sana hindi rin ‘yan mangyari sa anak nila… Sana hindi ‘yan mangyari sa kapatid nila, sa anak nila. Ayaw kong may mabiktima pa sila ulit.”
Meanwhile, Christine Dacera’s employer Philippine Airlines Express, said in a statement Tuesday, “PAL Express mourns the tragic death of Christine Angela Dacera last January 1 during New Year revelry in Makati City. She was an upstanding and professional PAL Express crewmember who will be sorely missed by her colleagues and friends.”
“We are extending support to the flight attendant's family at this most difficult time. Our desire is for the truth to come out in the interest of justice,” the airline company also noted.
According to initial reports, Dacera, 23, checked in at the City Garden Hotel in Makati City for a New Year’s Eve party with her friends Rommel Galido, Gregorio de Guzman and John dela Serna at around 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 1. Nine more people, who were friends of Dacera’s friends, were also reportedly invited in the party.
In the report, Galido said he found Dacera in the room’s bathtub and thought she fell asleep in there so he covered her with a blanket and returned to sleep. After a few hours, he found Dacera still in the bathtub and turning blue.
Dacera was then brought to the hotel’s clinic, where she was given cardiopulmonary resuscitation but remained unresponsive. She was rushed to the Makati Medical Center where she was declared dead on arrival.
In a report by the Philippine STAR, Makati City Police station chief Col. Harold Depositar said that the victim was pronounced dead due to ruptured aortic aneurysm. However, the station chief said that the aneurysm was only the secondary cause of death as lacerations were found in Dacera’s thighs and contusions on her knees.
On Jan. 4, Monday night, PNP announced that it had solved the death of Dacera, even though only three suspects were taken into custody—Galido, Dela Serna and John Paul Halili, who have been charged with rape with homicide.
Nine other suspects—Gregorio Angelo de Guzman, Louie de Lima, Clark Jezreel Rapinan, Rey Englis, Mark Anthony Rosales, Jammyr Cunanan, Valentine Rosales, a certain Ed Madrid, and a certain Paul—remain at large and are subject to follow-up operations.