Duterte says teen's death in Sinulog Festival shows need to end drug scourge

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 08 2019 08:18 PM | Updated as of Feb 08 2019 08:58 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday revealed that he met with the parents of a teenager who died of suspected drug overdose in Cebu City last month. 

Police are looking into the death of 19-year-old Ashley Abad, who was allegedly given the party drug ecstasy during a concert on the eve of the Sinulog Festival.

"I’ve been repeating it all along. Do not destroy my country lalo na sa panahon ko. Do not destroy our children and our daughters," Duterte said in a speech in Legazpi City, Albay.

"Kahapon ‘yung kay Ashley, ‘yung bata na namatay. [Her] parents went there sa opisina ko... Kaganda ng bata, 19 years old, medical student. Ang human rights wala akong narinig sa mga p***** i**** ‘yan. Ilang pamilya ‘yan matatamaan? Ilang tao sa isang pamilya?"

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Duterte did not give more details about the meeting but he said Abad's case proves his point that the drug scourge must be eliminated because it destroys the youth.

Benny Abad, uncle of the teen, said they suspect that someone spiked his niece's drink with the party drug or forced her to take it since the teen was not a drug user.

The Abad family has yet to confirm whether drug overdose was the cause of the teen's death, he said.

"We are cooperating with authorities now to let them find the truth. We want them to find the truth and seek justice for the family," he said.

The teen attended a concert at the Cebu Business Park on the eve of the Sinulog Festival.

She was said to have collapsed in the middle of the event and was attended to by medical personnel of the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation. She passed away at the hospital on Sunday afternoon.

Central Visayas Police Director Debold Sinas said the teen's companions will be persons of interest on her death, including her boyfriend.