Christine Dacera’s mother Sharon on Tuesday insisted that her daughter was raped and her friends could have done more to prevent her passing.
The elder Dacera, a flight attendant, questioned the medico legal report that said that her daughter died of aneurysm as she was "healthy."
"Para sa'kin ni-rape po ang anak ko. 'Pag nakita mo yung katawan ni Christine, if you are the mother you will surely feel the pain suffered by Christine from them but my daughter cannot speak anymore because she died," she said.
(For me, my daughter was raped. If you can see the body of Christine, if you are the mother you will surely feel the pain suffered by Christine from them but my daughter cannot speak anymore because she died.)
"Doon sa medico legal ma’am kita ko yung laceration ng anak ko, bruises ba't di nilagay doon? Di ko to tanggap itong autopsy na ginawa nila."
(I say the laceration and bruises of my daughter, why did they not put these in the medico legal report? I don't accept the autopsy they conducted.)
The 23-year old Dacera was found unconscious and without a pulse in a bathtub in a Makati hotel around 12:30 p.m. on January 1 after a night of partying. Her friends said they tried to revive her and brought her to the Makati Medical Center, where she was later declared dead.
But Sharon said Christine's friends should have brought her to a clinic when she experienced vomiting at around 2 a.m. on New Year's Day.
"Sana nung nalaman nila nagkasakit-sakit ang ulo nga anak ko, meron namang clinic siguro ang hotel para magpatawag siya sa information desk. Usually merong ganun, bakit di niya ginawa? Talagang krimen, patay na anak ko. Talagang may krimen," she said.
(When they knew Christine was having headaches, they should have called the information desk, there's probably a clinic at the hotel. Why did they not do it? It's really a crime, my daughter is dead. There was really a crime.)
Sharon said she believes her daughter's drink was "most probably" spiked.
"Most probably meron talaga kasi kilala ko si Christine hindi ganyan yung anak ko. Siguro, ni-take advantage din nila yung pagiging mabait at probinsiyana ng anak ko na Christine really trusted them so much. Sabi ko, as a friend sana di nila binetray nang ganun si Christine," she said.
(Most probably something was put in her drink because I know Christine, she's not like that. They probably took advantage of her kindness and being from the province. My daughter really trusted them so much. I hoped they did not betray Christine like that as her friend.)
The Makati City Prosecutor has ordered the case investigated further and ordered the release of 3 suspects in Christine's death.
But all the men earlier implicated in the case had already denied they had something to do with their friend’s death, and appealed to lawmakers to recall the bounty placed on their heads as they vowed to respond to the rape complaint filed against them.
According to Sharon, Dacera, a graduate of the University of the Philippines-Mindanao, was affectionate and her siblings miss her so much.
"Usually tumatawag ako sa kaniya. 'Yes, hello mother earth,' 'yun ang mamimiss ko kay Christine. Malambing si Christine talaga ma'am kaya once ko lang pinatingin yung mga kapatid niya sa kanya," she said.
"I'm still (grieving) for the loss of Christine and then seeing her little sister and brother to (grieve) is so hurting on my side, I don't know how to bear the pain."
Sharon said what her family wishes now is to give justice to Christine.
"Managot ang dapat may gawa at pagkakasala sa pagkamatay nga anak ko, yun ang hustisya para sa’kin," she said.
(Those who are behind Christine's death should be held accountable, that's justice for me.)
"That’s the very best we can do for her para magkaroon siya ng peace kung saan man ang anak ko (to give her peace wherever she is)."
Sharon thanked those who have assisted them and prayed for Christine.
"Kahit papaano nai-ease ang pain namin (Somehow it eases our pain). Please keep praying for Christine’s justice, that’s’ the very best I can give to my daughter even if she’s now in heaven," she said.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday raised concern over the assumption of liability of flight attendant Christina Dacera for her death inside a Makati City hotel.
“The CHR is deeply concerned and alarmed by the victim-blaming and gender stereotyping amid the investigations in the killing of Christine Dacera. These acts disrespect the victim and cause further anguish to her family. Similarly, the alleged perpetrators who are members of the LGBTQI+ community are negatively affected,” Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit said.
Dumpit is the focal commissioner on women and LGBTQI+ issues.
“As the Gender Ombud, the Commission takes this occasion to reiterate that victim-blaming is unacceptable, especially in cases of gender-based violence. Instead of responding to the act of violence in this case, as well as addressing the root causes of the human rights violation, victim-blaming is a violation of a woman’s dignity and shifts the focus of the investigation on what the victim wore, the company she kept, and the places she went to,” the commissioner said.
“It trivializes the violence and demonizes the woman, as the blame cast on her creates the perception that ‘she had it coming,’ making her unworthy of protection and remedies. It must be remembered that the crux of gender-based violence cases are the acts of violence committed by the perpetrator, and never the character of the woman. We must all strive to stop victim-blaming,” she added.
She said “undeniably,” rape is a grave and serious human rights violation requiring urgent and immediate response from the State.
Citing the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Committee, the CHR said in investigating and discussing circumstances surrounding an alleged case of rape, all forms of victim-blaming are unacceptable, she emphasized.
“We remind the public that victim-blaming and reliance on gender stereotypes impact access to justice. These ultimately deny women protection from violence,” Dumpit said.
As the CHR continues to monitor the circumstances surrounding the death of Dacera, she said “we note the rampant gender stereotyping against the alleged perpetrators. Some of the alleged perpetrators came out explaining their side, including revealing their sexual orientation. This has led to comments like ‘kahit bakla yan, may instinct yan… Lalo na if under the influence of intoxicating alcohol,’ intimating that men, regardless of sexual orientation, would prey on women once drunk.”
“While it is true that the crime of rape can be committed regardless of the sexual orientation of the perpetrator, in this particular case, the premature announcement of rape and murder is simply irresponsible and reckless,” she added.
The CHR said there must be a thorough investigation of the case before coming out on media.
“If rape was indeed committed, then the same must be addressed and justice must be served. However, later reports of the police tend to cast doubts about the commission of rape. If the initial report did not jump into a hasty conclusion that it was a ‘rape-slay case,’ the otherwise private lives of the victim and the alleged perpetrators would not have been thrust to the limelight,” she noted.
“There would have been no need to talk about Christine’s actuations.
There would have been no need for the alleged perpetrators to disclose their sexual orientation in desperation to defend themselves,” she said.
She said justice is achieved by bringing the true perpetrators to account, and not by pinning down persons of interest who may later on turn out to be innocent for the sake of having someone to blame.
In all cases where human rights violations occur, the State is mandated to conduct a thorough, prompt, effective, and impartial investigation.
“In this case, the determination of the real circumstances surrounding the death of Christine Dacera remains wanting. As we seek truth and justice, the Commission reminds everyone that true justice rests on the respect for all persons involved in the incident. Justice will never be delivered without due process and the rule of law,” she added.