The Christine Dacera case is blowing up—as it should
If you don’t know the name Christine Angelica Dacera, you should. If you’ve been living under a fog of naivety (self-imposed or not), here’s the short version of why her face has been plastered across social media: She attended a New Year’s Eve party and was found unconscious in a bathtub on January 1, she was declared dead on arrival. She was only 23 years old.
The cause for her death was originally declared a ruptured aortic aneurysm. The Makati City Police chimed in with foul play because “the victim had lacerations and sperm in her genitalia.” And for some strange reason, the people of the internet have put the supposed rape on Dacera’s shoulders. Why was she partying so hard? Why was she with strangers? Why wasn’t she wearing more clothes?
The rape with homicide charge was filed on Monday, January 4, against 11 individuals who were with Dacerna, three of whom were her friends. Now the PNP has stamped the case “solved” in a statement that read: POLICE SOLVE NEW YEAR RAPE-SLAY OF FLIGHT ATTENDANT.
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If you’re as into murder-mysteries as I am, you know a case is not solved until the assailant is tried and found guilty in court—and likewise given a sentence to carry out. And if you’re a feminist, who believes that the rape of someone is not a testament of the victim’s person but is more about those around her, then this will anger you. It should anger you.
Why the fuck are they saying the case is solved when it clearly isn’t? Especially when only three out of 12 suspects are in custody? And why are people still blaming the victim for a rape? By definition, a rape is without the consent of the victim.
But before our heads get away from us: the PNP statement. I did some inquiring and was told that, technically, the PNP is done with their job. “‘Solved’ meaning they have been subjected to ‘inquest proceedings’ with the prosecutor’s office,” a lawyer familiar with the case told me. “Now the prosecutor’s office will determine whether there is probable cause to file the case in court.”
The lawyer I spoke to then went on to say that while “solved” is inaccurate in the general sense of the word, the PNP used their own internal language because “all the police has to do is file the case with the prosecutor’s office, then wala na sila gagawin [they have nothing else to do].” He went on to clarify: “[The case] is NOT solved under the law.”
Semantics, I guess. But frustrating nonetheless. Especially when you add in the personal accounts of the suspects (not to mention their SOGIE), which has only brought in more questions and has unearthed new evidence that counter the case. And another thing, why did the initial autopsy claim natural causes when there was so much to be found on Dacera’s deceased body?
Why are people still putting the blame on Dacera? As if all she needed to do was wear something else to stop her from getting raped and murdered. As if we should blame her for wanting to have a little bit of fun on New Year’s Eve. As if she was the one who invited all those strangers into her life that night.
Get off your high horses. If you, no matter where you are in the SOGIE spectrum, have gotten drunk at one point in your life and was friendly enough to make friends while you were out, this could have been you. There are no other factors to consider here: not her age, not her gender, not her occupation, not the clothes that she was wearing.
I don’t know about you, guys, but all I want is a little bit of justice and a clarity (and while I’m asking for things, some sensitivity, too).
Art Alexandra Lara