By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY—Nel Spencer Tiu will surface at the proper time and in the proper forum, his lawyer said.
The police has been wanting to question Tiu over the death of his girlfriend, Ashley Abad, after overdosing on the party drug ecstasy.
Tiu’s lawyer, Orlando Salatandre, said his client is ready to face any case that the police plans to file against him in relation to Abad’s death.
In a phone interview, Salatandre said the non-appearance of Tiu despite several invitations by the Cebu City Police Office does not mean he is hiding something.
“It’s a matter of right. He may use it or he may not. But this time, he is invoking his right to remain silent, he is invoking his right against self-incrimination,” Salatandre said.
The police has failed so far to convince Tiu to come forward to help shed light on the case.
Abad died after collapsing in an outdoor concert at the Cebu Business Park last Jan. 19. Tests showed that Abad died of ecstasy overdose.
President Duterte has ordered Tiu’s immediate arrest after Abad’s family met the President in Malacañang last week.
Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, Central Visayas police chief, has warned that homicide charges will be filed against Tiu if he continues to snub the police.
Tiu was given until last Monday to show up but he hasn’t done so.
Salantandre said a case should be filed first before Tiu could be compelled to surface.
“They can build a case even without Tiu especially now that he is already considered as a person-of-interest. The non-appearance of Tiu will not hinder the filing of case. The police should follow the general rule, file a case at the prosecutor then we will explain our side,” he said.
Tiu opted to stay silent since so many accusations and insinuations have surfaced regarding Abad’s death.
“There is a proper time and proper forum to answer all the allegations,” the lawyer said.
Although the President has ordered Tiu’s immediate arrest, Tiu cannot be arrested without a warrant, he said.
“The incident happened on January 19 and warrantless is no longer applicable,” he said.
Salatandre also assured that Tiu was still in Cebu and has no plans of leaving.
“He is not leaving. That’s why I’m here because he is ready to face whatever case will be filed against him,” he said.