Christine Dacera's family seeks immediate relief of medico-legal examiner

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 9) — The parents of Christine Dacera are seeking the immediate relief of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) medico-legal officer who handled their daughter's body following her death.

Jose Nestor and Sharon Dacera filed an administrative complaint this week against PMAJ Michael Nick Sarmiento for gross negligence and gross incompetence in the "irregular and inaccurate" preparation and submission of a medico-legal report and death certificate in relation to their daughter's demise.

The complaint recounted that the younger Dacera was declared dead after being rushed to the Makati Medical Center on New Year's Day. Her body was then placed temporarily in a refrigerator facility in the hospital before being transported to the Rizal Funeral Homes in Pasay City around 9:30 a.m. the next day. Sarmiento then "prematurely ordered" that the 23 year-old's body be embalmed "without the conformity of the family and without having first conducting his medico legal examination," it read, noting he admitted in an interview on Wednesday himself that he committed a lapse by doing so.

Metro Manila police chief Vicente Danao Jr. likewise confirmed on Friday that the younger Dacera's body had been embalmed before the police were able to conduct an initial autopsy.

"As an experienced medico legal examiner for many years with SOCO, examining probably hundreds of cadavers, elementary common sense requires that a medico legal examination be first conducted on a cadaver before you embalm it," stated the complaint. The prior removal of several organs, draining of the deceased's blood and injection of chemicals may destroy any evidence relevant to the examination's supposed findings, it added.

The complainants also noted Sarmiento likewise admitted failing to secure blood samples, as these were no longer available given the embalming.

With this, the complaint stated the "subsequent medical examination report and Certificate of Death were irregular, inaccurate and misleading" considering the deceased's body had been embalmed even before a medico-legal examination could be conducted.

Apart from these, the complainants also stated under causes of action the death certificate stating the flight attendant's cause of death was natural, that is, a "ruptured aortic aneurism" after her body has already been embalmed and without taking into consideration other injuries, abrasions and bruises in the arms and legs of the deceased.

"In view of the foregoing, the undersigned Spouses Dacera most respectfully move that the Philippine National Police (PNP) order the immediate relief of PMAJ Michael Nick W. Sarmiento as Medico-Legal Officer of SOCO," the complaint read.

The complainants likewise stated they reserve the right to file proper administrative, civil and criminal charges against Sarmiento for his "irregular actuations."

Justice Secretary Menardo Gueverra has directed the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a separate investigation on the flight attendant's controversial death. The bureau was earlier instructed to assist the Philippine National Police in their probe amid conflicting reports on her demise.

CNN Philippines correspondent Rex Remitio contributed to this report.