On January 4, 2020, news about the death of a young girl made local headlines after her body was found in the bathtub of a hotel room on January 1 at City Garden Hotel in Makati City. The victim was identified as flight attendant Christine Dacera, 23 years old.
Christine was a passionate flight attendant, as seen on the many Instagram posts she made dedicated to her profession.
Philippine Airlines, where Christine worked, described her as "an upstanding and professional PAL Express crew member" in their statement regarding her demise. The airline also vowed their support for Christine's family in their search for justice.
Christine and her family are originally from General Santos City.
In 2017, Christine graduated cum laude from University of the Philippines Mindanao where she took BA Communication Arts Major in Media Arts. She was also a beloved member of the university's dance company, the University of the Philippines Mindanao Dance Ensemble.
"Ms. Ica was an examplar of honor and excellence in balancing her academics and passion for performing arts," says UP Mindanao's Department of Human Kinetics in their statement.
Aside from her passion for dancing, Christine was also a beauty pageant contender, having joined Miss Silka Davao and Mutya ng Davao in the past years.
Family, friends, and netizens are now clamoring for justice to be served following the death of Christine, sparking online protests and trending hashtags such as #JusticeForChristineDacera and #StopVictimBlaming.
Christine's mother, Sharon Dacera, recalls how she trusted Christine's companions when she allowed her daughter to spend the New Year with them. "Since I really trust my daughter, [sabi] ko ‘Basta enjoy ka ‘te ha, enjoy enjoy lang ‘nak.’” the mother said, as per GMA's report.
According to Sharon, Christine called her at 12:34 a.m. as she and her three friends checked into City Garden Hotel. They were reportedly joined later on by 'strangers' and 'friends of friends.' Bottles of liquor were found in the room, and drugs or prohibited substances are also suspected to have been present at the party.
By midday of January 1, after Christine's unconscious body was found in the bathtub, hotel personnel brought her to the hotel clinic, and she was later on rushed to Makati Medical Center where she was declared dead on arrival. According to the police report, the cause of death was ruptured aortic aneurysm, but the victim also had lacerations and sperm in her genitalia, according to Makati City police chief Col. Harold Depositar. He added that there were also bruises, contusions, and scratches on her arms and legs, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports.
On January 4, The Philippine National Police (PNP) announced that the case was already "solved" after the arrest of three individuals suspected as perpetrators in the crime. They were charged with rape with homicide. Rappler reports, however, that nine other individuals allegedly involved in the crime have yet to be arrested. Some friends of the suspects have come forward on social media, claiming that many of them are gay, and could not have been involved in the rape-slay case.