One of the men charged with the rape and murder of a flight attendant who was found dead in a hotel room after a New Year’s Eve party says he can’t have done it as he is gay.
Police in the Philippine city of Makati have charged 11 men in relation to the death of Christine Angelica Dacera, 23, whose bruised and lifeless body was discovered in a bathtub at the Garden City Hotel on January 1.
The PAL Express flight attendant had been celebrating the new year at the lavish hotel before she died.
Eleven men, who had been at the party with her that night, have been charged with rape and murder. Their charges are provisional while police await toxicology results.
But one of the men said he and his co-accused couldn’t have raped and murdered the young woman as they were all sexually attracted to men.
Gregorio de Guzman told local media everyone with Ms Dacera on the night had been members of the LGBT community.
“Every one of them was gay,” Mr de Guzman said, according an English translation by ABS-CBN News.
“My impression of her is she likes to hang out with us LGBT members. She’s comfortable with us. The entire time she was really comfortable with every one of us.
“For me, I’ve never had sexual relations with a woman. I’ve never been aroused by a woman. Always a man. Many can testify to that.”
Ms Dacera, from General Santos City, was rushed to hospital by three friends who found her unconscious in the bath on the morning of January 1.
They had performed CPR but she failed to respond and was declared dead on arrival at Makati hospital.
“Lacerations and sperm” were allegedly found in the victim’s genitalia and her body was covered in scratches and bruises.
An autopsy showed Ms Dacera’s death was caused by a ruptured aortic aneurysm.
Makati police chief, Colonel Harold Depositar, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer the deadly aneurysm may have been caused by very strenuous activity and a high level of alcohol toxicity.
“For sure, there was force inflicted on her body because we found contusions in her leg and knees, and there’s an abrasion in her thigh,” he said.
He added that semen had been found “in multiple places in the hotel rooms.”
But Ms Dacera’s family is pushing for a second autopsy after claiming the first one was incomplete, ABS-CBN reported.
A lawyer for Ms Dacera’s family said they believed the young woman was drugged and abused before her death.
They claimed Ms Dacera “had already experienced intoxication and complained that her drinks appeared to have been spiked” during the New Year’s celebrations.
“We also believe that maybe the aneurysm was a proximate cause but it is also very possible it was triggered by the assault prior to her death,” the family’s lawyer, Brick Reyes, said, according to The Inquirer.
The 11 men suspected of being involved in Ms Dacera’s death have been given provisional charges as police are still waiting for results of toxicology tests.
Colonel Depositar told The Inquirer most of the men were “practically strangers” to the 23-year-old.
“Only three of them were Dacera’s friends,” he said.
“The others were practically strangers to her, as they were only known to her three friends.”
Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights said it would also carry out its own investigation into Ms Dacera’s death.
PAL Express, the Philippine airline Ms Dacera worked for, has issued a statement following her death.
The company described the flight attendant as an “upstanding and professional PAL Express crew member who will be sorely missed by her colleagues and friends”.
“PAL Express mourns the tragic death of Christine Dacera last January 1 during New Year revelry in Makati City,” the statement said.
“Our desire is for the truth to come out in the interest of justice.”