‘So now, it will be the police’s turn to debunk their tale, further complicating the investigation.’
IT will be long before Filipinos are able to forget the strange case of Christine Dacera, the 23-year-old beauty, flight attendant, full of life and promise of a successful career ahead, but was snuffed at an instant of gay merrymaking one New Year’s eve revelry.
Her absurd story attracted the public’s interest from the start: a single girl partying with 11 men in a medium-sized hotel room in Makati. This at once seized the imagination of Filipino news followers and netizens forever glued to social media.
Many thought that the Makati Police was remiss in providing a thorough and impartial investigation on the case, with police chief Col. Harold Depositar announcing that it was a “closed case” as early as January 4 as if he had a deadline of sorts. Of course, the bulk of news followers on social and mainstream media did not believe him, and neither did PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra. Why would Sinas continue to issue an ultimatum to certain persons of interest to give themselves up, and why would Guevarra send the NBI to join the investigation, even as far as taking tissue samples from Christine’s cadaver in General Santos City?
To his credit, the police chief was just following the PNP manual, he explained. In their book, if there is a suspect or suspects in a perceived crime, and these suspects have been haled to the prosecutor’s office with the filing of charges against them, then the case can be categorized as “closed.” You see, the police have another official meaning for certain words in the English language.
The latest twist in this real-life telenovela is the claim by respondent Rommel Galido that he was “forced and intimidated” by the police investigators into lying and accusing hair stylist Mark Anthony Rosales of spiking Christine’s drink. Galido earlier said that Christine confided to him that she felt dizzy and her head ached. The girl, Galido said, thought that Rosales put something in her drink that made her feel sick.
Galido confessed he was too stressed out, afraid, and confused, and that the police were putting words into his mouth. They were told by investigators to point at someone to blame in exchange for their freedom, and he named Mark Anthony Rosales, who was not among those in custody, although Christine never mentioned Mark’s name. Earlier, JP Dela Serna III, another respondent in the case, retracted his statement identifying Rosales as having brought party drugs and offered it to the others.
Lawyer Mike Santiago did not mince words in condemning the police: “Not only that they were pressured, they were intimidated, they were manipulated.
Words were put into their mouths. They were subjected to psychological warfare because they lacked sleep, they were under duress.”
Perhaps the police wanted to “solve” the case at once, calling it a “rape-slay” when not all facts have been established, and filing cases at the prosecutor’s office hastily, now that their bosses (President Duterte, Secretary Año, General Sinas) are all eyes on them. Quick resolution of the case, although with collateral damage to some individuals, would earn the police medals, decorations, and promotion.
But now those who gave false testimonies under duress upon their guidance are retracting and telling the truth. So now, it will be the police’s turn to debunk their tale, further complicating the investigation.
Now resting in peace, it seems Christine still has miles to go before she sleeps.