Senator Manny Pacquiao and ACT-CIS Representative Eric Yap were urged today to withdraw the bounty that they had offered in exchange for the capture of suspects linked to the Christine Dacera case.
Lawyer Mike Santiago, the counsel of suspects Clark Rapinan, Valentine Rosales, Rommel Galido, and John Pascual Dela Serna III, said that the reward has put the lives of his clients in danger.
“That’s why we are actually appealing to Congressman Yap and also to Senator Pacquiao to recall the bounty being offered because this affects the safety and security of these gentlemen, these guys here,” Santiago said in an interview with the program Headstart.
He added that the bounties offered by Yap and Pacquiao were unnecessary, given that there is already a case filed against his clients. Yap offered a PHP100,00 (US$2,080) bounty, while Pacquiao offered PHP500,000 (US$10,399).
“Considering that there are people who are following them, there are those who are conducting surveillance and taking video outside their homes. So, we are appealing to them to recall the bounty,” Santiago said.
“And also there’s no need for the bounty because there’s already a case, a complaint at the Prosecutor of Makati and we are willing, our clients, to face this complaint,” the lawyer added.
An emotional Rapinan said in the same interview that he and his family are being stalked by strangers.
“This just happened just yesterday. It’s so hard. It’s hard to see your parents having a difficult time. Yesterday when we left our house, there were people who were following us, taking videos as we entered our car,” he said.
“My mother is so worried. It’s so hard to see them having a hard time. I’m scared,” Rapinan added.
Galido, Dela Serna, and another suspect named John Paul Halili were freed a few days ago by the Makati City police after prosecutors said that the pieces of evidence against them were “insufficient.”
The Philippine National Police is insisting that Rapinan, Rosales, Galido, dela Serna, Halili, and six other men raped and killed Dacera on New Year’s Day in a Makati hotel, saying that the victim had “lacerations and sperm in her genitalia.” However, an official autopsy, one conducted by the police themselves, did not mention anything about finding traces of semen but noted that there were abrasions and lacerations on Dacera’s private parts. The autopsy also stated that the official cause of the victim’s death was a “ruptured aortic aneurysm.”
The Dacera family has rejected the results of the police autopsy. Their lawyer, Roger Reyes, announced yesterday that he is seeking to have the medico-legal officer, Major Michael Nick Sarmiento, fired from the police force for his alleged bungling of the autopsy.
Reyes said that the autopsy “is not only inaccurate but possibly misleading.”
“What Dr. Sarmiento admitted [was that] he embalmed first, he ordered the embalmment [of the victim’s body] before ordering the medico-legal examination,” Reyes told the news program 24 Oras in English and Filipino.
“So the procedure was wrong. I’m not sure if it was just a mistake or he really knew that what he did was wrong,” he added.
This article, Lawyer urges Pacquiao, Yap to withdraw reward for Dacera suspects’ capture, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.