Respondents to file counter charges against Dacera family

Robie de Guzman   •   March 15, 2021   •   1956

MANILA, Philippines – Companions of flight attendant Christine Dacera at a Makati Hotel where she was found unconscious on January 1 will file counter charges against her family, their legal counsel said Monday.

Lawyer Mike Santiago, who represents five of the 11 respondents in the case, said his clients are contemplating filing perjury, and malicious incrimination or prosecution charges against the camp of Dacera for allegedly making unfounded claims against them. They will also seek moral damages.

Santiago said they will also take legal action against some personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for alleged injustices committed against his clients.

“We’re no longer taking this on the defensive side na lang. We will face also these accusers head on na lagi lang kaming depensa ng depensa eh,” he said.

“Ang kalaban namin is yung family and right now it seems tahimik na sila but bakit pati yung NBI ang daming nakikisawsaw sa isyu na ‘to? Ang daming kailangang tuonan ng pansin ng bansa hindi lang itong case na ‘to,” Alain Chen, one of the respondents in the case, said.

The NBI last Friday filed perjury, obstruction of justice, reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, and violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act against Dacera’s companions, hours before her death on January 1.

The NBI also recommended filing an obstruction of justice against their legal counsel, Neptali Maroto, and falsification of an official document by a public officer charges against Southern Police District medico-legal officer Michael Nick Sarmiento, who first conducted the autopsy on Dacera’s remains.

But the respondents questioned the complaints, calling it an overkill and the NBI investigation unfair.

“Sino ba ang kalaban talaga ng mga respondent? Una PNP pati si chief PNP up to the chief when he said case closed. Kala ko ba case closed na? Next, sino ba ang Dacera family ba? Ang PNP ba? NBI? All of the above?” Santiago said.

The lawyer said they are not inclined to enter into an amicable settlement.

Santiago also questioned the reckless imprudence resulting in homicide complaint filed against his clients as this only applies to erring drivers and doctors.

On the violation of the dangerous drugs act, the lawyer said his clients tested negative for illegal drug use.

Dacera was found unconscious in a bathtub at a Makati Hotel room on January 1 after a night of merry-making with friends. Her companions said they tried to revive her and rushed her to a hospital where she was later declared dead.

Her family believes she was drugged and sexually abused.

The PNP said in its medico-legal report that Dacera died of natural causes, ruling out homicide as the cause of death. The report stated that she died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm that was triggered by an increase in blood pressure. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

SC eyes releasing body cam guidelines by July

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court (SC) is eyeing to release the guidelines on the use of body cameras in police operations by July.

SC Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said the high tribunal will tackle the matter starting June 15.

“The proposed rule is to be taken up as soon we resume session on June 15. And our colleagues have submitted their respective inputs. Hopefully and I’m optimistic that maybe after 2 or 3 deliberations we will come up with the final version,” he said.

“Our judges know the responsibility that they have to comply with what the Constitution and the Rules of Court should provide. So, we hope that with the issuance of these rules on body-worn cameras, these issues will be addressed specifically. It’s in the works. By July perhaps, we will have the final version and we’ll approve it for implementation immediately,” he added.

The proposed body-worn cameras was recommended after reports of corruption and abuse by authorities. Based on the record of the Philippine National Police (PNP), there are over 7,000 cases related to suspects getting killed during the government’s anti-drug campaign.

PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has previously ordered the use of body-cameras during operations in the NCR. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

PNP assures no cover-up in Calbayog City mayor slay

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine National Police (PNP) assured there is no cover-up in the Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino slay case.

PNP Chief General Guillermo Eleazar reiterated that the PNP is not protecting the seven policemen allegedly involved in the death of Aquino in March.

The policemen have been charged with murder and frustrated murder by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

“Katotohanan at hustisya rin po ang aming hangad para sa insidenteng ito dahil kasama sa mga nasawi ay mga tauhan namin. Parusahan kung sino ang dapat parusahan but in the meantime, let these cases take their course in the proper forum,” he said.

(We still seek truth and justice for this incident, our men were also killed. Let those accountable be held accountable, let these cases take their course in the proper forum.)

Eleazar said he also directed the Regional Director, Police Regional Office 8 and Director, Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) to place implicated PNP personnel under their restrictive custody. The cops were charged based on witness testimonies, CCTV footage, and information collected from a seized cellular phone.

Whistleblower PMSgt. Jose Jay Senario said Aquino’s political rival were in cahoots with cops and plotted to link Aquino to illegal drugs. On March 8, Aquino and his companions were fatally shot on Laboyao Bridge. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

3 drug personalities killed in drug buy-bust; P68M worth of shabu seized

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 11, 2021

Three drug personalities were neutralized in a drug buy-bust operation launched by the Philippine National Police and and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operatives in Cebu, Cityon Thursday evening (June 10).

PNP Chief General Guillermo Eleazar identified one of the suspects as alias Levon.

Anti-illegal drug operatives encountered Levon and his two unidentified male cohorts during a drug buy-bust operation at Brgy. Campo 4, Talisay City and Brgy Tap-Tap, Cebu City around 9:00 p.m. of June 10, 2021.

The encounter led to an armed confrontation which resulted in the deaths of the three drug suspects.

Recovered at the crime scene were 10 large packs containing suspected shabu weighing 10 kilos with estimated standard drug price of P68 million and two firearms.

Eleazar assured that the PNP will continue its fight in curbing illegal drugs.

“The Philippine National Police remains steadfast, under the PNP Intensified Cleanliness Policy, in fighting the bigger war on illegal drugs without let-up. The PNP offers no compromise for anyone found to be involved in illegal drugs activities. We remain constantly working with PDEA to crush the real enemy,” he said. AAC

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