Dacera case: Sinas orders relief of Makati’s top cop, medicolegal officer

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Debold Sinas on Wednesday ordered the relief of the Makati City police chief and a medicolegal officer of the Southern Police District (SPD) over their alleged lapses in overseeing the death case of flight attendant Christine Dacera.

PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said in a text message that Sinas has earlier pronounced “having approved the recommendation of DIDM [Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management] for the relief f[rom] posts of the [Makati] COP, the medico-legal chief [of SPD] and the investigators of Makati city police pending admin investigation of their lapses po.”

Usana, however, explained Metro Manila police chief Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr. will decide whether to implement the PNP chief’s relief order against Makati City police chief Col. Harold Depositar and Police Maj. Michael Nick Sarmiento, one of the medicolegal officers of SPD.

Sarmiento is also facing an administrative case filed by Dacera’s family, who accused him of directing the embalming of 23-year-old Christine’s body and conducting a medicolegal examination on or extracting forensic samples from her even without their consent.

The Makati City police earlier filed a provisional complaint of rape with homicide against 11 persons it believed were responsible one way or another for the death of Christine, who partied with friends at a hotel on New Year’s Eve. Christine was discovered unconscious in a hotel room bathtub on January 1. The Makati Medical Center declared her dead on arrival.

But the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office returned the complaint to the police, citing insufficient evidence to establish that the alleged victim was raped and killed.

Last week, the PNP moved to reset the hearing on the alleged rape-slay of Christine as they await the medical reports required of them by the city prosecutor.