WE CAN only imagine what the family of Ashley Abad went through.
Shock when they learned about the “accident” that befell her. How could anything bad happen to her while in the company of a special someone who was supposed to protect her and keep her safe from harm? And why her?
Grief when their dazed minds cleared and the reality sank in. Their sweet little girl, so healthy and so full of life when they last saw her, was gone forever. Just how excruciatingly painful is it staring at the motionless body of a daughter whom you have nurtured and loved unconditionally for nineteen years? And how strong the regret that you were not there when she needed you most even if it was not of your own choosing? Tell me.
Frustration over their being unable to piece together what exactly happened on that fateful day. Insinuations that she had died after taking Ecstasy must have been particularly troubling. Not only had their daughter been permanently snatched from them, they now had to deal with the additional anguish in the thought that she may have died from an illegal drug.
Anger because the people who were and continue to be in a position to tell the truth have refused to do so. Ashley’s boyfriend and their mutual friends who were partying with them when she died have suddenly become scarce and unavailable.
Among all of them, Nel Spencer Tiu has the greater burden of telling Ashley’s parents why and how she died because he was her boyfriend. Did she really take Ecstasy? Where did it come from? Who gave it to her? Did she voluntarily take it or was she pressured into doing it? By whom? Did she suffer before she died? What were the last words that she uttered before she breathed her last? These are questions the answers of which the parents have a right to know.
Spencer’s reluctance is understandable from his point of view. He must have been advised by his lawyer not to say anything because it might incriminate him. If he admits that they all had Ecstasy, the police would most likely ask him more questions such as where and from whom he or his friends or perhaps even Ashley procured them.
But he could have told the story to Ashley’s parents directly. Doing so would have cost him nothing more than his already troubled conscience. Even if he admitted something, it could not be used in court against him. The parents would probably still have been angry during the time that he had approached them, if he had approached them, but a scolding would have been worth much more than possible criminal prosecution.
Which is the direction Ashley’s senseless death appears to be heading. The Abads met the President last week and he has given the police marching orders: prosecute all those who may have been involved in Ashley’s death. (He also took the opportunity to twit human rights advocates over their lack of action in the case, which was amusing, but that’s for another column.)
It’s another sorry chapter added to a sad tale but the greater tragedy is that it could have been avoided.