Ateneo de Manila UAAP basketball player John Apacible could be charged for a number of offenses: driving under the influence of alcohol and assault being among the most serious of these.
In the Philippines, if you have a protocol plate, you’re allowed to drive drunk and do this for all to see.
From Yan Bote: “Along Timog Avenue in Quezon City. Plate number ACA-7111. Lasing na lasing yung driver tapos nanggulpi ng driver ng delivery van at nanghampas ng dumadaang kotse tapos nanggigitgit ng mga sasakyan. Di man lang hinuli ng mga pulis. Hinayaan pa magdrive kahit lasing at may mga nagrereklamo.”
[Tagalog portion translated: “The driver was very drunk and he beat up a driver of a delivery van and struck passing vehicles and cut them off [as he drove off]. The police made no effort to arrest him and allowed him to continue driving even if he was clearly intoxicated.”]
The video clip was originally published by automotive magazine site Top Gear Philippines on the 18th October 2015.
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The Apacible incident illustrates what is wrong with the Philippines on so many levels.
(1) Rude behaviour
The way Apacible behaved was quite typical — a feeling of entitlement on the basis of his being related to a government official, and a quickness to resort to physical violence.
(2) Toothless law enforcement
Under Republic Act 10586, persons caught driving under the influence of alcohol are subject to severe penalties. This law was enacted on the 27th May 2013 but it was only this year “fully-enforced”. According to Section 6 of the Act; it is the duty of a law enforcement officer who suspects a person in violation of this law to “bring the driver to the nearest police station to be subjected to a drug screening test and, if necessary, a drug confirmatory test as mandated under Republic Act No. 9165.”
Clearly, the police officers attending to Apacible did nothing of the sort. Just the same, Apacible’s behaviour could be interpretted as a “refusal to subject oneself to mandatory [alcohol and chemical] test” as stipulated in Section 8 of the Act which attracts punishment in the form of “confiscation and automatic revocation of his or her driver’s license, in addition to other penalties provided herein and/or other pertinent laws.”
(3) Disproportionately light sanctions applied by the Ateneo de Manila University
An official memo issued by the Ateneo on the 19th of October and signed by University Athletics Office Director Emmanuel Fernandez reads…
It has come to our attention that John Apacible, a member of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, behaved in an unacceptable manner during an early Sunday morning encounter. John deeply regrets his reprehensible behavior and sincerely apologizes to all parties concerned. Rest assured that the Blue Eagles Team Management as well as the Loyola Schools will deal with this regrettable incident appropriately and swiftly.
But a statement released by Blue Eagles Team Manager Epok Quimpo today alluded to disiplinary action not proportionate to the gravity of Apacible’s offenses to society…
John made a mistake and it will not be tolerated. This is his own doing which will result to disciplinary actions:
1) He will face game suspensions.
2) He will not be allowed to practice.
John apologized to the whole team including the coaching staff and management. His teammates will be supporting him through this trying time, more so in the faith that he will become a better Atenean. CURA PERSONALIS.
But it wasn’t his team that was directly impacted by his behaviour. Where is the apology to the public?
The Code of Discipline of the Ateneo is articulated in Section III of the Ateneo de Manila University Student Handbook (2102 Edition) and spells out the University’s expectations of how its students are to behave off campus…
Students should bear in mind that any of their off-campus activities should not directly or indirectly tarnish the name of the school, especially in reference to the values and the principles it stands for.
As a general principle, cases are considered major if any of the following conditions are present: against the laws of the land, endangering the life and safety of the members of the community, recidivistic, or against the core principles of the Ateneo de Manila University. Students can be suspended, dismissed or expelled for these reasons.
Part IV, Item B of the Code of Discipline includes expulsion as one of the penalties for major offenses. In this light, Quimpo may have to re-evaluate his public statement and defer to due process as described in the Student Handbook.
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This case will be a test of Philippine society’s resolve to live by the modern principle of rule of law. Filipinos should follow this case and remain vigilant and ensure that this incident is not reduced to another case of social privilege trumping the Law again.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.