2 respondents ‘to rot in jail’ if they won’t link drugs to Dacera case – lawyer
MANILA, Philippines — Two respondents in the case involving the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera who earlier recanted their statements were allegedly threatened by police that they would “rot in jail” if they will not tag someone for drug use in the case, their lawyer said Thursday.
Lawyer Abigail Portugal, the counsel of five of the 11 respondents in the Dacera case, claims that respondents John Pascual “JP” dela Serna III and Rommel Galido were pressured by the Makati City police to implicate someone in the use of illegal drugs during the New Year’s party in the hotel where Dacera was found dead.
Dela Serna III and Galido earlier recanted their statements that illegal drugs were used during the New Year’s Eve party.
“They were interviewed without the presence of a counsel and they were read promises, a misrepresentation that if they would not point to someone in relation to a drug case, they would rot in jail,” Portugal said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
“Because rape with homicide is non-bailable,” she added.
She also said two of her clients were not read their Miranda rights before their detention.
“if you could read the statements made by my two clients, you would see that they were not informed of their Miranda rights, which is very basic in the custodial investigation,” she said.
INQUIRER.net contacted the Makati City police for comment but has yet to receive a response as of writing.
In a later interview with reporters, however, Metro Manila police chief Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. said the Makati City police chief had denied claims they pressured the respondents.
“Well, as per information coming from the chief of police [of] Makati eh wala naman ganun nangyari [nothing like that happened],” Danao said.
Dela Serna and Galido were previously detained by the Makati City Police but were ordered released by the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office, which returned the rape with homicide complaint back to the police for lack of evidence.
“They only want the truth to come out; they also want to find out what happened to Christine, so they are now telling the truth,” Portugal said.
Asked what could have been the Makati City police’s alleged motive to supposedly pressure the two respondents, Portugal surmised that it could be to “tie them up” to a drug case should authorities not find evidence of rape.
“We do not know what’s the intention of the police; maybe it’s to tie them up if they could not find rape, they would tie them up with another case, for example, the drugs case,” she said.
“In the medico-legal and first autopsy report, there was no a sign of rape or homicide and based on the death certificate and medico-legal, the reason for death is a natural cause, ruptured aortic aneurysm,” she added.
The Makati City police said there was foul play in Christine’s death, prompting them to file a provisional charge of rape with homicide against 11 people who were with the victim on New Year’s Day. Dacera’s family also insisted that the 23-year-old flight attendant was sexually abused.
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