THE lawyer of Nel Spencer Tiu, who is accused of being involved in the death of his girlfriend Ashley Abad, urged police to “follow the rule of law” and not to resort to illegally arresting his client.
Lawyer Orlando Salatandre told SunStar Cebu that it had almost been a month since Abad died but despite the police’s pronouncements, no complaint had been filed against his client and his friends who were with Abad when she collapsed at an open-air concert at the Cebu Business Park last Jan. 19.
Salatandre said it would be better for the police to file the complaint as it would give his client the opportunity to answer all the allegations against him.
“We will stick to the rule of law. If they file the charges, we welcome that. By filing charges, it will give my client the best opportunity to answer them. Once the charges are filed and my client is given the opportunity to answer them under oath, both parties can no longer make any insinuations outside of their written affidavits,” Salatandre said.
Police had announced they planned to arrest Tiu and some of his companions who allegedly gave Abad the party drug that ended up killing her.
The lawyer said there was no need for his client to surrender to undergo investigation as there was no formal complaint against him.
“A warrantless arrest should not be done since this (Abad’s collapse) happened on Jan. 19 and it has almost been a month since the incident. They might as well file the complaint through regular filing before the prosecutor’s office,” Salatandre said.
He also assured authorities that his client was not planning to flee the country.
Salatandre said he met Tiu last week to discuss matters of the case. He said Tiu and his family planned to issue a statement before the media within the week.
Senior Supt. Royina Garma, Cebu City Police Office director, confirmed that Salatandre visited their office on Monday, Feb. 11, following their call to his client to appear before them or be subpoenaed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 7.
Garma said Salatandre told them he was waiting for them to file charges against his client.
Meanwhile, Police Regional Office 7 Director Chief Supt. Debold Sinas admitted they could no longer force Tiu to appear before them for an investigation.
But Sinas clarified that they wanted Tiu to cooperate to determine who gave the party drug to Abad.
Sinas said they could still charge him and his companions for contempt of court and homicide for Abad’s death.
“If he still refuses to cooperate, we will file the case against him through regular filing. We will then wait for the warrant then arrest him. Once the warrant is out, then we will use the full force of the law against them. We are experts on that, don’t worry,” Sinas said in Cebuano.
The police official also admitted that they could not prevent Tiu from leaving the country as there was no hold departure order issued against him, but he assured that Tiu was still in Cebu. (JKV, AYB of SuperBalita Cebu)