A ranking official of the Philippine Marine Corps highlighted that the involvement of its reservists at the burial of Christine Dacera, the flight attendant found dead in a bathtub after a New Year’s Eve party in a Makati hotel where she was reportedly raped and murdered, did not break any of the protocols of the corps.
In a statement, Maj. Gen. Ariel Caculitan, commander of the Marine Corp shared that the uniformed troops at the funeral rites were reservists who were simply there at Christine’s mother Sharon’s invitation to provide support and charge of the crowd in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, which was later granted by the 12th Regional Community Defense Group commander.
No military law or protocol has been broken. This should not demean anybody in any way, and I promise you that we are one of our investigation agencies to figure out the true facts behind her murder. In view of this, During the burial of Ms. Christine Dacera, no military honors were made, no rituals, no flag-draped casket, no fire volleys that constitute interment honors. It is not prohibited to assist in carrying the casket if it will help.
The PMC commander was also cautious to point out that not all of the reservists present at the General Santos City traditions were from the PMC. About a week after the infamous New Year’s Day event, the details of the death of Dacera are still widely unknown. In the hours following, the three major suspects who were with Dacera that night were arrested but have since been allowed to be released by the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office due to lack of evidence for the charges of rape and murder, which they have since refuted.
The Philippine National Police has since confessed to lapses in the investigation into the death after originally tagging the crime as solved claiming that an autopsy was not done until Dacera’s body was embalmed.
In a press conference, Police Gen. Debold Sinas, PNP leader, had asserted that he still believes that the death was a rape-slay, citing facts he said the PNP could not yet disclose. However, since then, Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento has also revealed that only the medico-legal documentation and death certificate of Dacera have been submitted by the national police, leaving no evidence to date for such an assertion.