In their last video call before her daughter died, flight attendant Christine Dacera was with two longtime friends. However, hotel CCTV footage showed that the New Year's Eve party got bigger, this raised a "big question," according to her mother, Sharon Dacera.
That call at 12:35 a.m. of Jan. 1 was the last time Mrs Dacera saw her daughter alive. The next day, she was found lifeless in the bathtub of her room and police had filed rape with homicide complaints against three people who were placed under custody and named nine others as at large.
Dacera's mother said the family obtained the surveillance video from the City Garden Grand Hotel, where her daughter sought permission to spend New Year's Eve as the family is based in Mindanao.
"Doon namin na-justify na hindi lang apat andun sa room. Mas marami andun sa loob. It might be somebody invited. I don't know. That's the big question," Mrs. Dacera told CNN Philippines in a live interview.
Last video call
Dacera was at the City Garden Grand Hotel specifically to welcome the New Year and was not billeted there for quarantine, her mother said. Dacera works for Philippine Airlines unit PAL Express and City Garden is a designated quarantine hotel.
"I asked her, anak, where are you going to celebrate New Year's?" Mrs Dacera said. "Nasa hotel kami, Ma," she recalled her daughter as telling her.
Mrs. Dacera said her daughter was with three friends and there were four of them in total in the room. She said the two faces she saw in that 12:35 a.m. video call were familiar, though she doesn't know them personally.
"Knowing my daughter, trusting my daughter since she is alone here in Manila. Okay, sabi ko go ahead basta enjoy ka ha and ingat ka palagi. That's what I told her. That's why she's there at City Garden Hotel Makati," she said.
"After that 12:35 a.m. namin na pagkuwentuhan at video call, hindi na namin nakausap pa si Tintin. That was the last time we saw her," she said.
What happened in the hotel room?
Mrs. Dacera said one of her daughter's companions, who was included in the police complaint, told her that her daughter suspected that her drink was spiked. Police gave a similar account earlier.
The flight attendant told her friend of the suspicious drink at around 2 a.m., said her mother.
"It's her fellow flight attendant na kasama doon sa kwarto, trusted ng anak ko. She leaned on to that guy and she told him na parang may nilagay sa inumin ko parang sumakit ulo ko," Mrs. Dacera said.
"Hindi po yan sanay mag-inom pa. The innocence of my daughter, she really trusted that guy, para sa akin naman, yung ka-inosentehan ng anak ko, ginamit nila to their advantage," she said.
What is not clear at this time is what happened from 2 a.m. when Dacera told her friend that her drink could have been spiked to later that morning when her body was found in the tub.
Police said Dacera was with 11 men the night she died, including two under custody and nine who are at large. The third person under custody is the hotel's duty manager.