3 arrested in rape-slay of flight attendant

Metro Manila, Philippines— Authorities have arrested three suspects who are allegedly involved in the rape-slay of Christine Angelica Dacera, a 23-year-old flight attendant during a New Year’s Eve party in a Makati City hotel.

Makati City police chief Col. Harold Depositar said that a provisional charge of rape with homicide was filed Monday against 11 persons who were with Dacera, occupying two adjacent hotel rooms in Makati City, at the time of her death.

In a statement, the Philippine National Police said John Pascual Dela Serna III, 27; Rommel Daluro Galido, 29; and John Paul Reyes Halili, 25, were charged with the crime of rape with homicide during inquest proceedings at the Prosecutor’s Office in Makati City on Monday.

The PNP also identified nine other persons who were also with the victim during her stay at City Garden Hotel in Makati City and are now being hunted by authorities. They were identified as Gregorio Angelo de Guzman, Louie de Lima, Clark Jezreel Rapinan, Rey Englis, Mark Anthony Rosales, Jammyr Cunanan, Valentine Rosales, a certain Ed Madrid; and a certain Paul.

“Only three of them were Dacera’s friends. The others were practically strangers to her, as they were only known to her three friends,” Depositar noted, adding that everyone in that New Year’s party with Dacera was included in the charge.

Based on initial investigation, the victim and the suspects were at a New Year’s Eve party at the hotel. At past noontime of Jan. 1, Dacera was found unconscious in the bathtub of her hotel room. Hotel personnel tried to revive her before she was rushed to a hospital, where she was declared dead.

Asked for the initial basis of the rape with homicide charge, Depositar said: “The victim had lacerations and sperm in her genitalia.” He added that there were also bruises, contusions, and scratches on her arms and legs.

He said that Dacera’s death may have initially been found to be natural – from an aneurysm –but there were apparently factors that contributed to it.

It was the Makati Medical Center that had informed the Makati City police of Dacera’s death on New Year’s Day. Three friends and hotel staff had rushed her to the hospital after finding her unconscious in an empty bathtub of their hotel room.

In a statement, the victim’s employer, PAL Express, vowed support for the family of Dacera in their cry for justice.

“We are extending support to the flight attendant’s family at this most difficult time,” PAL Express said. “Our desire is for the truth to come out in the interest of justice.”

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