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?"

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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.

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.… Read more »

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.


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.


The philippines isn’t modern. The police officers are just there for the job.


Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

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… Read more »

John Apacible: a self-serving and aristocratic Pinoy.


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”…


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.

Gunther Benavidez
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
ice cube

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.


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.

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… Read more »