ateneo is in a real bind. atenista the 10-year old 4th grader amiel alcantara who was killed in campus. atenista rin the kid(s?) of theresa torres na nakadisgrasya kay amiel.
of course obligado ang ateneo na alalayan both the family of the victim and the family of the victimizer. the family of the precious amiel because, hey, what a terribly painful death and what a painfully grievous loss, which could have been avoided if ateneo’s traffic & sundo system weren’t so messed up. the hapless single mother and her kids because, okay, it was an accident, malinaw na hindi sinasadyang matapakan nang mariin ang accelerator at hindi agad nakuhang mag-preno.
the ateneo community is clearly on damage-control mode. official statements ask for prayers and privacy for the affected families pending an investigation. an atenista blog prays for healing and asks that the community
… take a conscious effort of going beyond the graphic details of his death. While the tragic circumstances force us to focus on this aspect of his death, we also like to form a more optimistic image in the minds of many of our young impressionable students.
but how can healing happen if the community is asked to gloss over the graphic details of amiel’s death on grounds that negative images are not good for impressionable minds? that’s like shifting to denial mode, escaping from reality, hardly behavior worthy of a highly regarded educational institution.
amiel’s family should not be expected to forgive and forget for the sake of ateneo and the community. “malalim ang sugat,” said pepe alcantara on anc. for such a wound to heal, both ms. torres and ateneo must pay. it doesn’t help that ms. torres is out on php 42,000 bail.
ms. torres has finally apologized, and rightly so, but that does not make her any less blameworthy for amiel’s death and she must suffer the consequences. kawawa naman ang mga anak niya, yes, but it’s no excuse to let ms. torres off the hook. that would send the wrong message all around. ateneo will just have to help the torres family deal with the situation.
the fact is, if ms. torres had behaved like a mother should, attending to her kid/s instead of taking the driver’s seat, the accident would not have happened. there is also talk that she had a cellphone in hand just before she accidentally stepped on the gas — if true, then this is a good time as any for a law criminalizing texting or phoning when one is at the wheel, if only within campus for starters.
as for ateneo, parents have long been concerned about the children’s safety but the admin has been deaf to complaints and petitions. now they gotta pay. besides settling with the alcantaras, it’s time to give up lots of nice openspaces to parking lots and, maybe, as an atenista mom suggests, make that entire area in front of the grade school a pedestrian area.
no room for evasion or ambiguity here. amiel’s tragic death must be faced squarely or there will be no healing, and no end to the bad karma.