Dacera family sought another autopsy in bid to prove daughter did not die of natural causes

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Christine Dacera's mother, Sharon (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 5) — The family of flight attendant Christine Dacera sought another autopsy and are now waiting for the results, to dispute the initial findings of authorities that she died of natural causes.

The family's lawyers said the scene of the crime officer's medical examination did not include some of Christine's injuries.

"We are disputing the findings of the SOCO, 'yung post-mortem report na they claimed the cause of death was aneurysm," said Paolo Tuliao, one of the Dacera family's lawyers, in a press briefing. "They didn't specify sa report 'yung mga hematoma, 'yung mga bruises that were found on the victim's body, that's why we (sought) another post-mortem report from an independent medico-legal."

Dacera family spokesperson Brick Reyes said the results of the latest autopsy may be available by Wednesday.

However, a copy of the initial medico-legal report obtained by CNN Philippines, indicated multiple contusions and abrasions. The cause of death was "ruptured aortic aneurysm."

Earlier, Makati Police Chief Col. Harold Depositar mentioned that traces of semen were found on Christine's body but these were not noted in the report. Instead, the autopsy saw an abrasion and deep healed lacerations in Christine's private parts. 

Reyes said the injuries on Christine's legs and arms as well as her remains will serve as enough evidence to establish a probable cause for rape. He also claimed the crime was set up since a hotel manager was friends with one of the alleged perpetrators, though the family lawyers refused to comment on this allegation.

"They said she died of natural causes, a ruptured aortic aneurysm which appears in the certificate of death, but which does not include the other injuries she sustained," said Reyes. "It is not complete as far as we are concerned, that is why we requested for another autopsy."

Christine Dacera was found dead in a hotel bathtub after celebrating New Year's Eve with workmates. Christine's mother, Sharon, also identified her companions as her friends, as seen in photos of the event. Reyes also mentioned that Christine may have been drugged during the party, but they were only relying on the testimony of Rommel Galido, one of the arrested suspects.

Three people have been arrested and slapped with rape with homicide charges while eight remain at large, police said. Reyes said 11 suspects were identified in the Dacera family's complaint. 

Jose Ledda, another lawyer for the Dacera family, refuted claims that Christine consented to sexual intercourse.

"Kung consensual 'yan, kung kusa, ba't wala si Christine ngayon para sagutin 'yung mga tanong na 'yan?" he argued.

[Translation: If that was consensual, or voluntary, why isn't Christine here to answer your questions?]

Christine's case has sparked outrage across social media platforms, with netizens calling for the arrest of the perpetrators and denouncing rape culture.

The Philippine National Police has since declared the case "solved", as stated in its official Facebook page, but the Dacera family maintained that the investigation is still ongoing. Reyes said they are in the middle of inquest proceedings which may conclude in the next 48 hours.