Sinas wants own men investigated for bungled probe on Dacera’s death

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    PNP chief Debold Sinas has ordered a probe against Makati City policemen who allegedly bungled the investigation into the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera at a Makati City hotel last January 1.

    Sinas, who announced last January 5 that the case has been solved with the arrest of three alleged suspects, said he has directed the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, to submit the result of the probe not later than tomorrow, January 13.

    “I have directed (the DIDM) to conduct a separate inquiry and recommend not later than January 13 their findings on any liabilities of Makati City police officers involved in the ongoing investigation of the Dacera case,” Sinas said.

    The probe is separate to the investigation being conducted by the Special Investigation Task Group Dacera on the criminal aspect of the case. The investigation of the task group, which includes the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, is being supervised by National Capital Region Police Office chief Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao.

    A separate probe is being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation on orders of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

    Guevarra yesterday said he will not release any information on the probe being held by the NBI.

    Police initially filed charges of rape with homicide against 11 alleged suspects in the case but the Makati City Prosecutors Office dropped the charges for insufficient evidence.

    Prosecutors also ordered the release of three suspects the police initially took into custody and gave the police until January 13 to complete the probe on the case.

    The Dacera family has asked the PNP to relieve officials involved in the investigation, citing their sloppy work, particularly in the conduct of autopsy on the remains of the 23-year-old victim.

    Police said initial autopsy showed Dacera died of ruptured aortic aneurysm or massive internal bleeding. Police later said they are still investigating if the death of Dacera was a case of rape with homicide.

    Sinas said he ordered the probe despite not receiving any formal request from the Dacera family to do so.

    “We are investigating, the DIDM is conducting internal inquiry about it. Whatever will be the recommendation of the Directorate for Investigation and Detection Management, I am going to evaluate it and compare notes with the director of the NCRPO,” said Sinas.

    “We are still collating pieces of evidence, especially statements from the would-be key witnesses,” said Danao, adding they are also waiting for the result of the forensic test.

    “All of these will be properly submitted before the fiscal during the preliminary investigation. If we cannot beat the time on January 13, we will be asking the fiscal for an extension,” Danao said, adding he is hoping the PNP can get statements from witnesses and evidence to come with a strong case.

    Guevarra had said that the initial investigation conducted by the Makati police was “not thorough enough,” prompting the inquest prosecutors to refer the case for further investigation and release three of the 11 allleged suspects.

    He said the NBI has “invited to appear today to provide any relevant information” the occupants of Room 2207, the other room of the City Grand Hotel in Makati repeatedly visited by Dacera hours before her death on January 1.

    Dacera’s companions at Room 2209, where they were staying to welcome the New Year, earlier said they were introduced to occupants of Room 2207 by a common friend.

    “The NBI knows the name of the person who registered at the reception and the faces and names of the other persons in Room 2207.The NBI will come out with the forensic results in less than a week,” Guevarra added.

    NBI investigators extracted tissue samples from Dacera’s body in Gen. Santos City on Saturday, a day before she was buried.

    The commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps justified the role of Marine and other military reservists in the burial of Dacera last Sunday.

    Maj. Gen. Ariel Caculitan said Dacera’s mother, Sharon, requested the military to deploy reservists to help principally in crowd control during the burial of her daughter amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Caculitan issued the statement after the Philippine Marines and the military were bashed on social media for appearing to have extended military funeral honors for Dacera.

    Caculitan denied this, saying: “The actual honors and taps bugle honor was not rendered and flag was not given as usually given to our reservists, no gun salute. No military honors were rendered during the burial of Ms. Christine Dacera. No ceremonies, no flag-draped casket, no volleys of fire that constitute interment honors.”

    He insisted there was nothing wrong with reservists providing help in carrying the casket of Dacera. – With Ashzel Hachero