MANILA, Philippines (Updated 6:35 p.m.) — The National Bureau of Investigation is conducting a separate and parallel probe into the death of Christine Dacera as the police probe into the flight attendant’s death comes under increased scrutiny.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra issued Department Order 006 on January 7 directing the NBI to conduct an investigation into Dacera’s death and filed complaints to persons to be found responsible of any unlawful act.
On Wedneday afternoon, the justice secretary was careful to say that he is only ordering the NBI, specifically its forensics team, to assist the Philippine National Police in determining the “true cause” of Dacera’s probe. Guevarra has yet to order a parallel probe then.
The Makati prosecutor’s office also ordered the release of three under police custody and referred the PNP's rape with homicide complaint against them for full blown preliminary investigation. The complaint against the eight others who, at that time, were deemed at large has also been referred for preliminary investigation.
When asked on what prompted the order of separate probe into Dacera’s case, Guevarra said on Friday that the initial investigation by the Makati police was "not thorough enough."
"From the DOJ’s viewpoint, the case build-up will be faster if the NBI acts independently. Note that the preliminary investigation has already been set on January 13," the DOJ chief said.
Guevarra also said he has ordered the NBI to immediately conduct its own investigation since "time is of the essence".
"The longer it takes to examine the remains of the deceased and gather pieces of other evidence, the more difficult it becomes to establish the true cause of her death and identify any person liable therefore, if a crime was indeed committed," he added.
Part of the resolution penned by Assistant City Prosecutor Joan Bolina-Santillan read: “At this point, the pieces of evidence so far submitted are insufficient to establish that she was sexually assaulted or raped. And, if sexual assault/rape was committed, who is/are the person/s responsible?”
Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento explained that the prosecution, at the time of the issuance of a resolution, cannot ascertain “whether there is crime or none,” noting that the medico-legal report the police submitted did not provide evidence that Dacera was sexually assaulted.
Dacera’s family has since sought for a second autopsy.
While Police General Debold Sinas, PNP chief, gave the persons linked to the case 72-hour ultimatum before a supposed “manhunt,” Malcontento has since asserted that the case is now with them.
Malcontento said that the prosecution’s order for preliminary investigation, to be held on January 13, will be followed.
The Dacera case is the latest high-profile investigation the NBI is handling in the past two weeks. The bureau has also been tapped to also look into the importation and inoculation of unregistered vaccines against COVID-19 and the reported sale of students’ sensual photographs to fund their distance learning education.
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com