Does Ateneo Blue Eagles player John Apacible deserve to be forgiven for his violent rampage?

What sorts of police do the Philippines deploy? If there is anything to be learned from the case of Ateneo de Manila University star basketball player John Apacible who went on a violent drunken rampage in the wee hours of last Sunday, it is that Philippine Police officers do not make us feel safe.

A video captured by the primary object of Apacible’s fearsome rage that night provides a disturbing account of just how inutile Filipino police officers attending to the incident were.

It is quite evident that the officers tolerated being disrespected by Apacible who easily brushed them aside as he pressed forward in his attack. The person taking the video footage can be observed retreating from Apacible as these officers put in a spineless effort to restrain the Ateneo Blue Eagles forward who towers six feet and four inches and likely packs enough punch in his arms to knock the teeth off anyone who gets in his way.

Just the same, police officers are expected to disarm and immobilise anyone who they deem poses a threat to other people. During the melee caught in that video, Apacible had clearly crossed enough lines to warrant a more, shall we say, physical approach to restraining him. For one thing, he was already caught driving while intoxicated and should have been, right there and then, placed under arrest. The police officers had let that one slide. But one would think physically assaulting a police officer would attract zero tolerance. In this case that one slid past as well.

Well, gee whiz.

How much latitude does one give this boy?

It seems the Ateneo itself is in on the softly-softly approach to dealing with Apacible’s inexcusable behaviour. An image of what looks like an apology letter issued by Apacible was posted today on the ADMU Facebook page. The letter reads in poorly-written Tagalog…

Ako po ay humihingi ng tawad sa nagawa ko nung nakaraang araw. Alam ko pong ako ay nagkamali at dahil dito sobra po akong nahihiya sa aking pamilya, team, school at sa lahat ng naapektuhan nito.

Inisip ko lang ang aking sarili at nakalimutan ko po ang aking mga responsabilidad. Handa po akong tanggapin ang anumang maaring kalabasan ng aking pagkakamali.

Muli, ako po ay humihingi ng tawad.

Translated in English…

I am asking for forgiveness for what I did the previous day. I know I did wrong and because of this I am exceedingly ashamed of myself before my family, team, school and all who were affected by my actions.

I was only thinking about myself and forgot about my responsibilities. I am ready to accept any consequences arising from my mistake.

Again, I am asking for forgiveness.

The best and most sincere way to atone for one’s crime is to serve the time. Interestingly enough, Apacible made no acknowledgement in the above “apology” statement of his violation of the law (disrespect for the state), his assault on the police officers attempting to restrain him, and his attemped assault on the cameraman and the passing vehicles he allegedly struck during his rampage.

Zero tolerance is exercised by police forces in most modern countries when it comes to dealing with violent people.
Zero tolerance is exercised by police forces in most modern countries when it comes to dealing with violent people.

Indeed, above all else, any wrongdoing that impacts the community is a state matter and falls squarely within the shoulders of the Law to deal with. The sanctions effected by the Ateneo is a private matter between Apacible and the University. But whatever “justice” the Ateneo ultimately delivers does not in any way change Apacible’s accountability to the state and the Filipino public.

While there are dozens of mainstream news channels reporting on the disciplinary “action” taken by the Ateneo on the matter, there is hardly any information about what the Philippine Police have to say about the incident and the poor form of their police officers attending to the scene. This small incident represents a microcosm of everything that is wrong with law enforcement in the Philippines — from the substandard quality of the police officers themselves to the more macro dysfunction in the way the law is selectively applied based on the social status of the accused.

More importantly, Apacible’s behaviour exhibited in the above video is clearly an insight into the very foundation of the perverted values upon which the crooked, self-righteous, and self-entitled way many wealthy, powerful and influential people in the Philippines may have been raised. If the Philippines’ criminal justice system and the Philippine Police fail the Filipino people they supposedly serve and grant Apacible a Get-Out-of-Jail pass, they will demonstrate the extent to which their institutions have been wholly complicit in turning Philippine society into the criminal society that it is today.

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43 Comments on “Does Ateneo Blue Eagles player John Apacible deserve to be forgiven for his violent rampage?”

  1. I don’t subscribe to the notion that police officers should be law enforcers. They should be peace keepers.

    Nonetheless, I do agree that they should have did what was needed to calm that drunk driver down and prevent him from driving. Then invite him to the precinct.

    1. Aren’t Police officers “Law enforcers”?IT is thier job to “enforce” the law. You cant keep the peace without enforcing the law SPECIALLY in the Philippines. Wake up dude!

      1. “Aren’t Police officers “Law enforcers”?IT is thier job to “enforce” the law. You cant keep the peace without enforcing the law SPECIALLY in the Philippines.”

        You need to study the history of the police system.

        They are not, originally, law enforcers.

        Read up, dude!!

    2. I think you’re mistaking “law enforcers” and “law makers”. Legislators are makers. Makers of what? LAW. Police are enforcers. Enforcers of what? The LAW written by our legislators.

      On the other hand, the school has and should have NO SAY as to what proper action the state and the government would give to Apacible. The government should apply the laws made regarding the matter, take the no prisoners approach, just let him do the time for EVERY offense incurred.

    3. Invite him to the precinct? You must be “iffing” drunk yourself. That a-hole should have been handcuffed and thrown to the wolves for their feast.

      1. You need to think before you speak.

        Read the part before “invite him to the precinct”.

        Then reevaluate your stupid response to me.

        1. I did! And u really think this a-Hole, self-proclaimed “councilor” is going to show up at the precinct? For what..photo shoot!? The Pulis could not even made him to calm down or obey their orders…Come on Man!!!

  2. This is the norm in the Phil. If you flash the “I’m a star” or “I’m poor” card, they’ll often just let you go.

    There was a night, a motorcycle driver came driving towards my car on an impending head on collision. I quickly swerved out of his way only to have him slam on the side of my car. I didn’t make it – my car was a broken mess.

    We later found out the driver was drunk, didn’t have a helmet on, had no license to drive, and was just months into paying installment for his new motorcycle.

    The barangay captain calls us over to settle matters and the punch line was a shocker – they wanted me to pay for hospital bills coz the guy (a bloody mess himself) is poor, merely living in a pigpen house.

    You already know whether he served jail time or not. So don’t blame me why I keep clamoring for an iron-fisted ruler for this country. I’ve simply had enough guys.

    1. If there’s one thing where Filipinos practice “Zero Tolerance” the best, it’s for not letting any iron-fisted ruler to govern us, and that’s just sad.

    2. The barangay captain calls us over to settle matters and the punch line was a shocker – they wanted me to pay for hospital bills coz the guy (a bloody mess himself) is poor, merely living in a pigpen house.

      Really? the nerve! You might end up being asked to pay for the damages of the motorcycle because he “is poor, merely living in a pigpen house”.

      Why not scare them and move the case to the court. Normally, those involve in such incident goes to the barangay captain to try to settle the case. Now, if the issue cannot be settle at the “barangay captain” level, then it can move to the proper court.

      1. And then what? When the case is settled and the court rules for zaxx, who pays? The government? I’m sorry, but his taxes still go towards paying for that smashed bike, and zaxx hates paying for anyone’s shit, even if he happens to be poor. The fact that he won’t be alone in paying for the bike doesn’t mean jack.

        Then who else pays? Probably the poor guy himself — except that the barangay captain himself said the guy can’t pay the hospital bills. So what happens?

        Maybe zaxx here will take the law into his own hands — except that the law will not be the laws of the courts, them having failed to wring anything substantial from the poor guy, but the law of retribution.

        So much for the rule of law — but maybe that’s the law zaxx wants to see implemented if ever a dictator overthrows the democratic government and rules by his self-righteousness.

        1. Base on zaxx’s story, I’ll say that the motorcycle rider was the one responsible on the accident he brought upon himself, considering he is

          – drunk (this alone is enough to make the rider liable)
          – without license
          – without helmet (his injury would have been reduced if he wore one)

          Moreover, the rider should be responsible enough not to drive drunk as drunkenness impairs judgment and slows down reaction time.

          The rider is poor and unable to pay his hospital bill, so what? He, on his free will, rode the motor drunk. This sort of accident won’t happen in the first place if he didn’t drive in the first place.

        2. Onesimus your summary is as cute as the baby face Avatar you got there.

          Well maybe the guy has a death wish with a checklist :
          Drive drunk [ chk ]
          Drive at night for minimal visibility [ chk ]
          No helmet for maximum injury [ chk ]
          No license for maximum jail time [ chk ]
          Use new motorcycle I can’t even pay for [ chk ]
          Cause as much trouble to a hapless random victim [ chk ]

          This is class-A perfect storm stupidity – only in the Philippines!

    3. So you’d rather let the guy die as fit punishment?

      I’m genuinely curious if you’re gonna go that low in your thirst for vengeance. You lose your car, he loses his life — not quite a fair deal since he’s poor and obviously of far less worth than your car — but I reckon butchering a few more people with combined incomes that match yours and then poof — vengeance sated, and a brand new Jaguar (with human skins for seat coverings) to boom under your iron boots. Starting with the family, of course, for how dare they live on with their breadwinner floating in the Pasig (him being thrown there as an example to the poor / to avoid paying for the wake and funeral or cremation).

      Had enough yet? Wanna go medieval and bring in your favorite dictator? I’ve read my Defoe the other day; surely us Dives can pour ourselves shot after shot of whiskey as we see the diss- er, I mean, the poor suffer agonies that will make us tittle with such delight.

      Want more?

      1. I think OnesimusUnbound is trying to say that the captain made a bad call of asking Zaxx to pay for the motorcycle driver’s medical fees, it only shows that the barangay cannot handle this case well, therefore should’ve elevated in proper court.

        It shouldn’t be in Zaxx’s conscience if he dies (or died, i don’t know) because what happened was an accident that wasn’t even his making in the first place. Being poor is not an excuse for being stupid, what the driver did was stupid, and he got hurt for being one. If Zaxx paid for it (which I don’t know if he did), he then just tolerated stupidity. There’s a reason why there are government hospitals around, they treat and cure those who can’t afford to pay. The baranggay or government should have punished him accordingly (after treatment of course).

        1. It won’t be in zaxx’ conscience if the poor guy died straightaway.

          It won’t be in zaxx’ conscience if he didn’t pay for the guy’s treatment and he died later on in horrible screaming agony — if he knew the extent of the latter’s injuries and thus deemed him unsavable after consultation with doctors.

          It would be in zaxx’ conscience if he didn’t pay for the guy’s treatment and he died later on, if he knew that the injuries that the latter sustained were grave but still treatable.

          I would likely call him a big flopping dick for that last — but I don’t like eating iron myself.

      2. The guy should have thought of all the possible consequence before deciding to drive his motorcycle drunk.

        That is what is missing with the pinoy society, accountability for actions/decisions made, from the highest office on the land to the lowly drunk motorcycle driver. Only by being held accountable for one’s action can this country move forward.

        1. So begs the question to those who think that the police are suppose to be law enforcers:

          Should they also enforce such stupid laws?

        2. @toby even if a law is stupid, as an enforcer, you should abide by it (as mentioned in the movie starring Raymart Santiago, Iskalawag) ang batas ay batas (old school lol). Doing the opposite would break the chain of command, the order, deeming the “law” pointless because the enforcer didn’t do his job and that’s the bottomline. The rules regarding the matter is not stupid, it was taken lightly and was ignored.

          And as for your historically driven info about the police, how can the police act as keepers of peace and order without following certain protocols? The rules of law is there as their tool, you can’t just flash a peace sign to people and expect them to stand down. We can only learn from the past, so you can’t use an information that was true back then as it’s been updated due to evolution. The military and police both have very different yet somehow similar functions. You won’t expect a military soldier do the traffic (unless you’re inside their base) as you won’t expect a police fight a war overseas.

        3. @catalyst

          when did I argue against protocols?

          and no, if the law is stupid, enforcing it becomes unethical

          just like ‘doing my job’ is not a excuse for committing unethical acts, obeying a stupid law cannot be justified by ‘doing my job’.

          blind obedience to the STUPID pro-squatter law is just downright unethical.

          why?

          because it enables theft and the violation of the basic human right to private property.

        4. Drunk driving is solely a Pinoy affliction how?

          No, wait, lemme rephrase that — drunk driving is solely a Pinoy affliction WUT!?

    4. Squatter mentality. In a free market, someone’s “poverty” is NOT somebody else’s accountability.

      Consider too:

      (Point 1) Insurance companies will normally not pay claims to claimants found to not have complied with safety measures stipulated in the policy or mandated as part of the Law of the state. In this specific case, the Philippines has a law mandating motorcycle riders to wear helmets. As this person was in violation of that law, his claim to insurance benefits is automatically voided. And this is one involving a prior agreement between the rider and an insurance company (say, for argument’s sake, this person is insured).

      (Point 2) The rider does not have any prior legally-binding agreement with the aggrieved party (in this case Zaxx) as both parties did not know each other prior to the accident. So Zaxx does not owe anything to the rider. Also, Zaxx, presumably driving a vehicle registered with the LTO will have paid premium on the mandatory Third Party Liability (3PL) insurance policy which will be in effect for the year. So if the rider has claims against Zaxx, he should direct it to the underwriter of Zaxx’s 3PL policy. Which, funny enough, leads the rider back to Point 1.

      Ha ha! 😀

    5. NO Drunk Debating too guys! I don’t think GRP will not pay for your broken PC/smartphone screens. Or does GRP have 3rd party liability? 🙂

      Hey thanks for the in-depth analysis on my little mis-adventure (conscience, insurance, vengeance,..) – I didn’t think of it that deeply.

      I was just like “DUH?????”. I even had to pay installments for my P12,000 TV set (yes I was that poor years ago) and you expect me to dish out money for your stupidity?

      Here’s the final punchline: My party walked away with the guy’s cheap cellphone – as his payment for my car’s damage (it was hardly enough to cover anything actually).

      Not the ending you may have expected, but we just had to teach the guy a lesson. Really hope it sank in!

      Well flashing “Poor” card doesn’t work if you have “Stupid” card all over your face. 🙂

      And they say it’s “More fun in Zombie land”.

      Let it go… Let it go….

      Grimwald, we need a Hitler-calibre leader. Do you know anyone who’s like you but is willing to run for president?

    6. I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you zaxx.

      What you describe happens all the time, every day. Just today I was driving on Quirino Avenue and some fuckhead on a bicycle transporting some crap was driving on my lane against the traffic. And that’s when I blow a fuse, because I know what happens when you run that stupid asshole over. It’s your fault, he is so kawawa because he has no money! FUCK THOSE PEOPLE! Since when does being poor allow you to break the law and just do what you please? Don’t pay a single centavo for the guys hospital bill (people like that are better off dead anyway) and most certainly you don’t pay for damages to his shit bike. You should get it confiscated and sell it to cover the cost for the damages on your car. One more thing, you Barangay Captain is an idiot of the highest order! If I were you I would have told him to go fuck himself.

  3. He apologized (if true) and admitted his mistakes. The next thing to do is face the consequence of his act and accept responsibility/accountability. After that we can talk about forgiveness.

  4. For the historically ignorant, FYI:

    Law enforcers, originally, where the military.

    The police system was invented primarily for the purpose of controlling unruly crowds. In other words, to maintain the peace and order.

    1. Let me pull classic Webster’s dictionary on the word “Police”
      : the people or the department of people who ENFORCE laws, investigate crimes, and make arrests

      Yeah, sorry you’re in the wrong here. They ain’t the UN Peacekeepers. It’s their JOB to impose the law. Perhaps stop subscribing to the #blacklivesmatter rhetoric and actually remember what a standard police force is obligated to do.

  5. A system of justice does not need to pursue retribution. If the purpose of drug sentencing is to prevent harm, all we need to do is decide what to do with people who pose a genuine risk to society or cause tangible harm.

    There are perfectly rational ways of doing this; in fact, most societies already pursue such policies with respect to alcohol: we leave people free to drink and get inebriated, but set limits on where and when. In general, we prosecute drunk drivers, not inebriated pedestrians.

    In this sense, the justice system is in many respects a battleground between moral ideas and evidence concerning how to most effectively promote both individual and societal interests, liberty, health, happiness and wellbeing.

    Severely compromising this system, insofar as it serves to further these ideals, is our vacillation or obsession with moral responsibility, which is, in the broadest sense, an attempt to isolate the subjective element of human choice, an exercise that all too readily deteriorates into blaming and scapegoating without providing effective solutions to the actual problem.

    The problem with the question of moral responsibility is that it is inherently subjective and involves conjecture about an individuals’ state of mind, awareness and ability to act that can rarely if ever be proved.

    Thus it involves precisely the same type of conjecture that characterizes superstitious notions of possession and the influence of the devil and provides no effective means of managing conduct: the individual convicted for an offence or crime considered morally wrong is convicted based on a series of hypotheses and probabilities and not necessarily because he or she is actually morally wrong.

    The fairness and effectiveness of a system of justice based on such hypotheses is highly questionable particularly as a basis for preventing or reducing drug use related harm.

    For example, with respect to drugs, the system quite obviously fails as a deterrent and the system is not organised to ‘reform’ the offender much less to ensure that he or she has ‘learned a lesson’; moreover, the offender does not get an opportunity to make amends or even have a conversation with the alleged victim.

    In the case of retributive justice, the justice system is effectively mopping up after the fact. In other words, as far as deterrence is concerned, the entire exercise of justice becomes an exercise based on faith, rather than one based on evidence.

  6. The Drunk Dude is old enough to know, what is wrong and what is right. He should face criminal charges in court.

    The Police are afraid to arrest people with political influence. If Apacible would have been an ordinary citizen, like the rest of us. He would have been , “binugbog ng mga Pulis”. He has to be treated with “kds’s glove, because , he is an influential person.

    This is the Aquino Justice system. One justice for the ordinary people. Another justice for the influential people. It is called: “selective justice”…

  7. I think the police who were there should be given desk jobs instead. They did not do justice to their uniform.

    They were practically reduced by Mr. Apacible to mere barangay tanods or dumb usizeros.

    I think what should happen next is to hear those police make public apology like Mr. Apacible for they could have made a big difference had they controlled the situation and assert their authority.

  8. In my opinion, some of the barricades of our law enforcement and military personnel to perform their duties well are the following:

    1. wrong judgement from the majority – since the thinking class are few and the rest are not. Imagine how these people will react, they will definitely place our police in negative light.

    2. Media – media will sensationalize the issue and will make headlines like “Cager binugbog ng mga pulis” etc. Close minded Filipinos will interpret it as police brutality. These kind of people does not read the whole story but the headlines. We will then hear 2 news articles on late night news one in local news and another in sports news.

    3. CHR – When the chaos of the 2 starts CHR will issue charges to the responding officers. In a policeman’s career once you have charges, promotion and benefits are stopped until the case are settled, given the lousy pace of our justice system, it is very unfair to the officers.

    With these, our law enforcement officers will think twice before making an aggressive action to the situation.

    This issue is somewhat old, we already have similar issues like the masseratti owner beating an mmda officer and other similar issues.

    If he is a threat to the society, he will be definitely a threat to the sport.

    I am wondering why the sanctions given to him by the school are light, is it because the don’t want to lose this and the following season?
    I hope the article presented would be seen by the ateneo administrators to reconsider their sanctions.

  9. There’s another reason why police simply let a lot of scumbags off the hook. If the Phil incarcerated every possible offender, there would not be enough jails to contain them.

    And who will pay for the board and lodging of these prisoners? you – the tax payer.

    Maybe we should just allot an entire island to become one big prison cell – there they can all live in anarchy in a jungle – survival of the fittest.

    We can also send them to freezing Mongolia as free labor for this low-population country.

    We should bring back the death penalty to make room for the constant stream of newcomers into our penetentiary system.

    This will contribute greatly in easing the horrendous traffic.

    Who’s saying GRP isn’t giving solutions?

  10. Meme time pnp

    When you loose your credibility so much you cant even do what’s right.

    Seriously though invest in non-lethal deterrents for these upscale a-holes. I would have liked to seen this guy get tased or pepper spray.

  11. All I saw in the video was a barking idiot. Nothing more. Drunk? There’s a legally allowable amount of alcohol in the blood stream if you’re going to get behind the wheel and it wasn’t determined if that was exceeded. It’s a good thing this happened at a young age for this guy para mas maaga siyang maitutuwid.

  12. Like the late great Lee Kuan Yew said about our forgiving nature: “It is a soft, forgiving culture. Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, still be considered for a national burial. Insignificant amounts of the loot have been recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in politics.”

    So if the Marcoses can come back, engage in politics, and tell audacious lies like “Had my father continued to rule, we would’ve been the next Singapore,” then John Apacible can also walk away scot-free from a far less reprehensible crime.

    Just listen to the words LKY used to describe Marcos: “PILLAGED”, “LOOT”. GET THAT IN YOUR HEAD BEFORE YOU TELL PEOPLE TO GET REAL, #GRP=MARCOS_IS_THE_SOLUTION!

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