Christine Angelica Dacera:  “more than just a headline”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 January) — “She is more than just a headline.”

This is the message of grief-stricken friends and relatives of Christine Angelica “Ica” Dacera, a flight attendant and UP Mindanao cum laude graduate who was found dead in a Makati hotel room noon of January 1.

There is more to Ica than what people know about her through the media as an unfortunate case of a party gone wrong.

Christine Angelica Dacera’s graduation photo. She finished her BA Communication Arts at the University of the Philippines in Mindanao in 2017, cum laude. Photo from Remembering Christine Dacera FB page

Police had initially said her case was a rape-slay, the autopsy indicated ruptured aortic aneurysm but her mother Sharon does not believe it was aneurysm that killed her.

Ica was subjected to the public’s unwarranted scrutiny, from people rambling about theories to victim-blaming. Investigation on her death continues in pursuit of  justice and truth.

Who was this dreamer from General Santos City whose life was snuffed out at 23?

Ica joined the Philippine Airlines (PAL) as a flight attendant in 2019,  after she moved to Manila from Davao City where she finished BA Communication Arts, Major in Media Arts at the University of the Philippines Mindanao, Cum Laude.

In its statement, the airline company said she was an “upstanding and professional PAL Express crew member.”

Gloryrose Dy Metilla, who met Ica while she was creative director of the UP Mindanao Dance Ensemble, recalled that Ica’s dream was to become a flight attendant and she was happy that she was able to reach her dream.

Her mom Sharon would say her daughter wanted to be a flight attendant so she could tour her family to destinations across the globe. Ica was the second among four children of Sharon and Jose Nestor Dacera.

According to the University of the Philippines Mindanao Dance Ensemble, where she was a member, Ica was “a kind-hearted soul who exuded greatness and excellence not just in her academics but also in her craft.”

Metilla described her as “not only beautiful but also had a shining glow, an aura that brightens up the mood.”

She said Dacera was always early during rehearsals  because she enjoyed dancing and being with her dance colleagues. She would also co-organize outings and surprises with them.

Aside from dancing, Ica also tried modeling, and joining pageants.

Kendall Abrio, Ica’s friend from their UP Mindanao days, described her as a smart, funny, loving, and easy-going friend. Another friend, Jamie Gundaya, said Ica was “a filial daughter, a loving sister, a model student, an inspiring dancer, and a reliable forever friend.”

Abrio hopes the public would stop using Ica as a cautionary tale since it is a form of victim-blaming. She also said that they tried their best to keep mum about Dacera’s death a day after they were informed but because of people meddling and gossiping, her death became subject to public scrutiny.

She said people have been focusing too much on Ica that they forgot about other issues like the problems in our country, including the justice system.

“We refuse to let the circumstances of her death define who she was in life – endlessly forgiving, sincere, hardworking, and excellent in everything she puts her heart to,” Gundaya said.

Ica’s remains were buried on Sunday at the Forest Lake Memorial Park in General Santos City. (Nicole Baulos Burlas / MindaNews)