Question to activists: After resorting to violence against Sec Butch Abad, what next?

I can understand the rage felt by those UP students who mobbed Department of Budget Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio ‘Butch’ Abad in mid-September. The behaviour of these activists represent an explosion of pent-up anger over what many believe to be an astounding case of wholesale national thievery that will likely go unpunished.

Came very close to being seen as the victim: DBM Secretary Butch Abad
Came very close to being seen as the victim: DBM Secretary Butch Abad
Abad is widely-regarded as the architect of the notorious Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which was allegedly used as a mechanism to channel funds illegally to the pet projects (and, allegedly too, into the bank accounts) of Senators and House Representatives in exchange for their “cooperation” in Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III’s personal campaign to impeach then Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.

However, because the beneficiaries of this alleged thievery — Philippine Congress — are themselves the primary channel through which any punitive action against Abad and his boss Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III could be effected, there is no more than the slimmest of chances that this case will ever be resolved and the perpetrators ever brought to justice.

What are we in power for? This question has become synonymous with Philippine Congress. In the Philippines, thief and judge are both powerful and friends, while the ordinary Filipino taxpayer sits outside of that circle of friendship. Those UP students who had nothing left except their rage perhaps represented a microcosm of the Filipino people’s only “option”.

However, the key argument against the way these UP students conducted themselves before the Budget Secretary on that night on the 17th September 2014 is that they resorted to violence. Vencer Crisostomo, chairman of Leftist group Anakbayan and a former chairman of the militant League of Filipino Students (LFS) himself confirmed the group’s use of violence in his account of the incident posted on Facebook. The protesters, Crisostomo wrote, “hurled crumpled paper” at Abad and “threw coins and mamera at him.” Crisostomo also related that as Abad boarded his vehicle, “a student got close and grabbed him from the back by his collar.”

Anakbayan leader Vencer Crisostomo(Source: Twitter profile)
Anakbayan leader Vencer Crisostomo
(Source: Twitter profile)
So one wonders then: If these students had managed to get their hands fully on Abad, what would they have done? An angry mob catching up with the object of their rage is not often known to lead to a pleasant ending. Fortunately for Abad, we will never know the answer to that question.

Unlike in societies where there is no freedom of expression and where the law does not protect the rights of dissenters and people who find themselves in the custody of the police, the Philippines has a working criminal justice system and a Constitution that guarantees these rights. So one can argue that these UP students did have a choice — a choice to demonstrate their protest of the government’s alleged thievery within the framework of the very law that guarantees their right to do so.

But when these students resorted to acts of violence against no less than a Cabinet Secretary of the Republic, they crossed a couple of lines. The first is a legal line — i.e., the government would have well been within its rights to have these students arrested and charged for endangering the life of a Cabinet official. The second delineates their moral ascendancy — if Abad had been hurt as a result of the actions of these students (making it easier for his camp to paint him as a victim), the cause they were championing would have been undermined as a result.

The thing with violence is that there is no going halfway. Only a fool would throw little pebbles when faced by a rabid dog. Any violent measure you take against a foe who could kill you should go the whole nine yards. That means, if you plan to fight said dog, it would be in your best interest to be armed with something that could actually kill it.

When you choose to use violence against your government, you better make sure you plan to go the whole nine yards to overthrow it and crush it completely. If you choose to break the law to further your revolt, make sure your objective is to win said revolt so you could replace the law you violated in order to achieve that victory.

That way you’d be able to answer this simple question with a lot more conviction after an incident such as the one involving Abad in the UP Diliman campus that night:

What next?


The Philippine Constitution affords every Filipino the right to demonstrate their grievances against the government over a variety of legal means. In that light, every activist needs to ask himself the important question first before going about their protest activities: How far am I planning to take this?


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22 Comments on "Question to activists: After resorting to violence against Sec Butch Abad, what next?"

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Jim DiGriz

“Sometimes you have to pick the gun up to put the Gun down.”
― Malcolm X

Johnny Saint

‘I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.’

Mahatma Gandhi

Hyden Toro203

Abad deserved that treatment. He is a Thief, together with his Boss : Aquino. The grabbing on his collar is just a show of FRUATRATION on the thievery happening in our government.

Next time: throw rottten eggs and rotten tomatoes on him. He is Rotten…he deserves those rotten things…

Marki Lomibao

“Kapag inagaw ng lalaking may baril ang tinapay mo, anong una mong aagawin? Yung tinapay, o yung baril?”

There is a protest fatigue now. Yes, people are angry about DAP issue. But, that was months ago. Filipinos have short memory and shallow grasp of national issues. I must admit that when I learned that some UP students angrily protested against Abad, it made me to smile. Kudos to students, so to speak. But, then again these are leftist students. They eat, love, live protesting against the government. It wasn‘t the whole UP student body. Abad is a wise crook. He knew that people would easily forget and forgive. It is just a matter of time. Look at the… Read more »
florinda perez

Is Violence the last answer to the pent up anger and deep Frustrations of the so called Peace Loving Filipinos, against the Monumental Corruption of the whole Philippine System?

I can relate and understand these Frustrations, must I resort to Violence? Perhaps If I live in the Philippines 24/7 and is subjected to these corruptions in every step of my daily life, I too, might take my protest further. Something got to change in the Philippine system, the Peace Loving Filipinos is a volcano waiting to erupt!


Throw him at the nearest garbage heap, like in Ukraine…

I too was glad to see these students “maul” Abad. That guy is just too smug and needs to be taught a lesson and stopped. He deserves to be ousted from his post and put in jail … if not killed… ok I said it. But the duty for that does not lie with the leftist students. (Though I dare say that if he set foot in PUP, his fate would have been worse.) The duty to oust this government lies with those out of college, working and no longer living with their parents. The question is how do we… Read more »

We need more of this. Government should fear the people. But why is it that no one has done this to Estrada, Revilla and Enrile?


This shit also happened in ukraine.. well, not exactly but the ukranian people fighted for the good government.


Furthering protest doesn’t have to lead to violence. If they really do care about their protests, it won’t be a half day event. Protest until the whole world hears them.

Siguro naman pag nangyari yun, mahihiya na ang mga taong gobyerno. Sana gayahin nila yung protest sa Hongkong ngayon.


Hong Kong. This is how you do it

Macho Filipino blah blah blah going to have a picnic in the park or put a picture on Facebook.

Whatever despicable words that will be thrown at Filipinos the real fact remains: that majority in this Hell of a country are pure unadulterated self-centered undisciplined cowards who never have the inborn capability to see beyond what their own piss can reach, especially if it is based on the real concept of right and wrong. HongKongDong says that “I know dogs that live better than 90 % of the people living in that slum lord country”, is as fact. Observing the mindset of most people it seems that dogs are behaving like people while people behave like dogs. With one… Read more »