The Ateneo and La Salle administrations’ failure to protest human rights violations

Administrators of two elite Philippine schools seem to prove what some have been suspecting all along – that the teachers in the country are teaching students what to think instead of how to think. Before the first encounter between the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) and De La Salle University (DLSU) in this year’s UAAP basketball season held recently, the heads of the adminstrations of both schools issued memorandums asking students and spectators alike to wear black during the game “to express [their] solidarity with victims of human rights violations and with all others struggling to uphold human rights in the country.”

ateneo-dlsu_wear_black_gameThe directive was an epic fail. Only a handful of spectators wore black. This is also a failure on the part of the administrators to read the sentiments of the public, which includes their own students. Worse of all, they were trying to inject politics in a basketball game that’s supposed to foster first and foremost, sportsmanship. It’s such a shame the faculty members were promoting partisanship instead. It’s a good thing most people saw through the agenda of these faculty members.

The administrations of the two schools also complicated matters for themselves when they suggested that wearing black also meant that the wearer is opposed to the possible burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The school administrators were including too many issues in one protest. Some critics said these school administrators looked desperate because they were trying to use a captive audience to rally their causes. They probably knew that organising a street rally would be difficult nowadays seeing that rallies have become passé thanks to the embarrassing failures of previous people power revolts that did not bring about real change in the country.

What is so baffling is the fact that there were so many victims of human rights abuses during former President BS Aquino’s term, but the Ateneo and La Salle administrators did not ask basketball fans to wear black during games in the past to express solidarity with victims of human rights violations and with all others struggling to uphold human rights in the country. No wonder some people find their request so lame and lacking in conviction.

If these school administrators were really serious about upholding human rights, they would have spoken out during BS Aquino’s term too when the Lumads, indigenous people of Mindanao, were being massacred in their own lands. There was also the Kidapawan farmers who were gunned down during a protest against a lack of government help during a prolonged drought. Incidences of murders perpetrated by “riding-in-tandem” assassins were already rampant during BS Aquino’s term too. It’s not like they only started happening when Duterte took over the Presidency. But some people make it look like “extra-judicial killings” only started in the last few months.

As a matter of fact, BS Aquino’s human rights record was considered a failure by Human Rights Watch in a report published January 2016:

An international watchdog condemned the human rights record of President Benigno Aquino III, saying he has failed to make the reforms needed for a lasting legacy.

In its World Report 2016 released on Thursday, January 28, Human Rights Watch said there has been “no real progress on justice for serious abuses” committed under the Aquino administration.

It added that with just 5 months left in the President’s 6-year term, his performance when it comes to human rights has been “disappointing.”

“Since his election, President Aquino held out the promise of a rights-respecting Philippines for which he has sadly been unable to deliver,” Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.


Human Rights Watch said 65 leftist activists, human rights defenders, and alleged supporters of communist rebels were killed in the first 10 months of 2015 alone, according to data from local groups.

Since Aquino rose to power in 2010, nearly 300 have been killed.

Justice remains elusive as well, said the global watchdog, because “killings implicating the military and paramilitary groups almost never result in prosecutions.”

Academics from elite schools like the Ateneo and La Salle should be smart enough to realise that protests about issues should not be forced upon others. If people want to wear black and make a statement, they can do it on their own and if others want to join them, that is well and good. How the respective administrations of the AdMU and DLSU did it was a bit pathetic. It was akin to begging people to join their cause. But the timing was bad. They should have known not to mess with basketball fans and their basketball game. As they say, sports and politics don’t mix.

[Photo courtesy Manila Bulletin.]


Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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28 Comments on "The Ateneo and La Salle administrations’ failure to protest human rights violations"

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Dear Ateneo & DLSU admins, why don’t you teach your students on not to take drugs, how to make changes & progress in our country & help the poor & marginalized people instead of making a protest against our current president? So this is the reason why our country didn’t progress very well because you’re using your freedom of speech & expression in a wrong way, in other words your spreading hateful & ignorant expressions. Move on guys, and please instead of making a protest on it, why don’t you help our president on bringing down the drug problems like… Read more »
Aquino had donated a huge amount of our taxpayers’ money, stolen by Aquino thru DAP, PDAF, Pork Barrel, etc…to Ateneo and La Salle ! It is not surprising they are giving back the favor in return. During the Aquino era, there were: the Hacienda Luisita massacre of his peasants/serfs; the Mendiola massacre;the Maguindanao Journalists massacre; the Chinese Tourists Luneta massacre; the Lumad massacre; the Mamapasano SAF massacre , etc… No one encouraged no one, to wear Black. These were gruesome massacres…done during the Aquino era ! It is obvious the Ateneo and La Salle academics are politicizing their students. They… Read more »
The professors of both universities let their students speak for themselves. Both universities teach their students SOCIAL JUSTICE AND TRANSFORMATION where we put others before ourselves. I am a freshman Atenean and I have not experienced being brainwashed to “worship” the Aquino’s. We are free to think and uphold our beliefs. We students rallied against Lumad killings. We mourned for the death of Kidapawan Farmers. We are informed of the success and even the failures of PNoy and we do not despise Duterte’s goal of bringing positive change because we also want change just like the rest of our fellowmen.… Read more »

I don’t exactly know what the Ateneo & DLSU people did to read such a negative write-up about them.

Did they violate any law or ethics or something in expressing their thoughts on issues that are relevant to everybody? I don’t think they did.

As I see it, they were just exercising their right of free expression. 👮


As Manila Times columnist Bobi Tiglao wrote

In the three decades since Marcos fell, the Ateneo has not produced a single piece of scholarship that would contribute to our balanced assessment of the Martial Law era, which its president during those years, Fr. Joe Cruz, enthusiastically supported. Yet, they have been sending the message that since they are academics, they have studied objectively the Marcos era.


In the country called the Failippines, of so-called “Ivy League” schools, they become free the day they decide to go to hell.


Ateneo, LaSalle, and other elite schools in the country or abroad, are where the oligarchs, politicians (regardless of their party affiliation), and drug lords send their kids to receive their education on how to acquire and maintain their superiority over the masses. So why would these schools protest against human rights violation?

If anti-Duterte critics could come up with better solutions to the drug proliferation problem, they would have already prevented it from worsening during BS AbNoy’s (and De Lima’s) time. But, they fail to convincingly demonstrate either the aptitude or, at least, genuine inclination to really solve the drug problem. Instead, they’ve been strangely silent & seemingly oblivious to its urgency & magnitude. Neither have I seen nor heard from them any equal (if not greater) concern for the rights of victims harmed by these drug criminals——and this is why their real intent remains suspect——It got blatantly obvious that their concern… Read more »