Hotel denies violating IATF protocols as DOT, Makati City threaten to revoke business permit over Dacera's death

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 8) — City Garden Grand Hotel claimed it has no liability on the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera after she and her friends spent the night there to celebrate New Year at the property being used as a quarantine center, a Tourism official said.

Department of Tourism National Capital Region director Woodrow Maquiling, Jr. said Friday the agency is conducting further investigation on the Dacera case after the Makati hotel responded to the show cause order on Thursday.

DOT demanded on Tuesday a written explanation from City Garden Grand Hotel as to why Dacera and her friends were allowed to check in on New Year's Eve even if the property is a designated isolation facility.

"It's a four-page reply but in essence, sinasabi nila na that they have not violated any IATF policies or department orders, or they are compliant," Maquiling said. "They were trying to justify the accommodation of those guests involved there. In effect, sinabi nila na they did not accept guests for leisure purposes."

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the DOT earlier announced that hotels which are being used as quarantine facilities cannot accommodate staycation guests to limit exposure and possible infections.

Visitors allowed?

While the stay of Dacera and of her fellow flight attendants may be justified by saying that they are essential workers, initial facts of the case showed that Dacera and her friends checked in to the establishment as private guests.

"We're looking at that aspect as well because we have to establish the booking dates, the history of the booking because it appears so that this particular booking was only made for this particular purpose, which is the New Year's Eve celebration of the group," the DOT official said.

TIMELINE: The Christine Dacera Case

Even if Dacera's group was staying in the establishment as permitted guests due to their jobs, Maquiling said it is still the hotel management's duty to ensure that minimum health standards are observed. Security camera footage showed that Dacera was visiting two rooms back and forth that night.

The target is to complete the DOT probe and submit the recommendation to Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat if the agency should revoke City Garden Grand Hotel's license to operate as an accommodation establishment.

Makati City steps in

The Makati City Government also demanded an explanation from the City Garden Grand Hotel regarding the mass gathering and alleged violation of quarantine protocols over the Dacera case.

In a January 6 letter, City Business Permit and Licensing Office head Atty. Maribert Pagente issued two show cause notices to the Makati hotel to explain why its permit should not be suspended or revoked for violating DOT, IATF, and city regulations on the general community quarantine.

READ: PNP identifying other men who stayed in adjacent hotel room on the night of Dacera's death

The second show cause notice warns the hotel of possibly losing its permit to operate over a citizen complaint that the hotel falsely advertised online a New Year Buffet dinner last December 31 at ₱3,500 per head, which included an overnight stay –– something the property is currently not allowed to offer, Pagente said.

The complaint was originally sent to the Department of Trade and Industry and referred to Malacañang's Presidential Complaint Center and to the city hall. The DOT said it is also probing such complaints, adding that there were reports that weddings are being hosted in the property.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Carolyn Bonquin contributed to this report.