Suspect in Dacera case speaks up: I’m not hiding

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 6)— One of the suspects tagged in the controversial death of Christine Angelica Dacera on Wednesday insisted he is not hiding, saying he cooperated with authorities on that fateful day the flight attendant was found dead.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Gregorio de Guzman said he and his friends— who found an unconscious Dacera in the bathtub in a hotel room in Makati City — willingly went to the police station to give their statements.

De Guzman said he had waited for around four hours at the precinct, but was not sought for a statement at the time. He said his attorney, who was with him at the station, later asked the police if De Guzman could go home, with all his contact details already provided to the officer.

“I was with my attorney. After four hours, because I was so tired, my attorney just felt bad for me, so he asked the police if I could already head home, because they didn’t even ask for a statement,” De Guzman told The Source. “I gave them my information. I’m not hiding. I am simply following the instructions of my lawyer.”

“I’m not hiding," he declared. "Even though I just met her (Dacera), I care, because she’s still a human being, she doesn’t deserve what happened to her.”

On Tuesday, Philippine National Police chief Gen Debold Sinas threatened to “hunt down” the suspects allegedly involved in the New Year’s Day incident, giving them 72 hours to surrender. Authorities earlier arrested three suspects, who were also slapped with rape with homicide complaints, while eight others remain at large.

De Guzman, for his part, said he found the possible charges “absurd,” stressing that he and his friends even tried to save Dacera.

“What made them think that we could ever be capable of doing this?” De Guzman argued. “She was the only girl in the group, that’s why she was like the princess, everyone looked out for her.”

What happened that night?

De Guzman admitted there was alcohol during the New Year’s Eve party at the hotel, recalling that the last time he saw Dacera was when she gave him a tequila shot.

He, however, personally believes that Dacera was not raped. “To my knowledge, no. I don’t think she was,” he noted.

De Guzman also said he did not find any “signs of violence” upon looking at Dacera’s body — a statement that runs counter to an earlier pronouncement by the police.

READ: Foul play in flight attendant’s death? Initial exam showed suspects used ‘force,’ police say

“The first thing I would tend to notice was, was there any sense of violence or signs of violence when you find her, and there was none,” he stressed. “So I was by her knees and legs, and I didn’t even notice any bruises… The thing is, the bruises could have come from maybe us lifting her out of the bathtub or us trying to put her in the wheelchair.”

Dacera’s family finds probable cause

Dacera’s family, however, said they still believe that the 23-year-old was drugged during the party, adding that authorities have found probable cause to charge the suspects.

“We have a dead body, we have injuries sustained by the victim in her arms and in her legs, which show and manifest some kind of resistance,” the family’s spokesperson, Atty. Brick Reyes, said in the same program. “Probably in the chemical examination we will show that there had been some use of drugs. Ms. Christine was not the type to use drugs.”

The flight attendant's kin earlier revealed they sought another autopsy in a bid to dispute initial findings of authorities that she died of natural causes.

‘Due process’

In light of the case and the cloud of confusion surrounding it, De Guzman appealed to the public to refrain from spreading false information.

“We were there for her till the very end,” De Guzman said. “And also, her friends deserve better than this. They already lost a friend, they already went through the trauma of trying to take care of her limp body, and now they’re in jail."

“Let’s do due process of law and the investigation," he added. "We have been participating willingly.”

His mother, singer Claire dela Fuente, also appealed to the public to not quickly judge the persons of interest, saying all evidence gathered are not yet final.

“This is unfair because this is like a trial by publicity,” Dela Fuente said. “Let’s not put innocent people to jail."