Military honor in the Philippines is dying


By Joe America

My bias is that of an American soldier, trained under the hot, humid Missouri sunshine, taught to forgo personal comfort for success of the unit, taught to kill with a rifle, bayonet, grenade, cannon, or bare hands. Taught that victory and honor are more important than life. Taught to leave no man behind.

Americans worship their troops about as much as they worship Jesus, I’d guess, for the troops are the saviors of democratic principle, of freedom, the right to speak, and fair dealing. They live by honorable principles, they follow orders, they serve at great sacrifice. They die for us.

The schools in the US that train military officers are the best of the best, West Point, the Naval Academy, and the Air Force Academy. They pick smart, strong young men and women and teach them how to command. The regular troops also get the best training in the world. Their regimen is disciplined and rigorous and honed by 100 years of best practices, improved armaments, and tests in the battlefield. Wins, losses, do it better next time.

Philippine Military Academy

The Philippines also has an excellent military officers school, the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). It’s curriculum is modeled after that of West Point. It leads with the right idea, for sure:

Core values: Selfless service to God and country. Honor. Excellence. 

The fundamentals of PMA are great, the rigorous selection and training, strong discipline, the military lessons taught, the brains and the brawn. Its heritage is strong, anchored by the courage and valor of men who fought during World War II. President Magsaysay, a former mountain rebel, knew something about that. And American soldiers hold great respect for the bravery and sacrifices made by Philippine troops under fire. They fell, together, and they won, together.

But today, more than a half century later, there is a hole in the PMA output somewhere. I don’t completely understand it myself, but something is wrong.

The problem occurs when military school graduates are selected to fill key Philippine National Police (PNP) slots.

Let’s step back a bit and gather some context.

The Philippine National Police Academy

There actually is an Academy devoted entirely to training of police leaders, the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), but it has never earned the respect accorded military leaders [“PNPA grads vs PMA grads“, Inquirer].

Before dismissing the PNPA as irrelevant here, let me undertake a brief digression into its values. The stated Vision and Mission of the school are as follows:

Vision:  The Philippine National Police Academy, for the glory of God, shall be the primary institution to develop knowledge, skills and the virtues of Justice, Integrity and Service.

Mission: To provide comprehensive education and training programs to transform cadets into God-center, community –responsive public safety officers trusted and respected by the people.

Two points: First, the PNPA web site is housed at subordinate to the Department of Education, I suppose, with its mission drawn from the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG). It is a civilian charter. Second, God plays a prominent role in motivating the school, but I don’t know who this God is. Is He the Father of Jesus? Does He believe in service or slaughter? Why are so many police engaged in killings outside the law? Is it an Old Testament Police Force (OTPF), aimed at punishing the miscreants who dally in drugs?

Are the police glorifying God when they are in the field, do you think?

Are they trusted and respected by the people?

Frankly, I think that neither God nor the PNPA have much influence in guiding the police once they are on the job, today, in 2017.

Power, conveyed from the officers above, and Greed, move in.

The police are under military leadership

The Chief of Police, under direction of the President, has the responsibility for appointing his deputies. The Chief can choose those officers with military training at the PMA, or those who attended the Philippine National Police Academy and rose through the police ranks based on service. It rankles the PNPA graduates, but the Chief generally favors PMA graduates, and the current Chief is no exception [“Bato chooses PMA upperclassmen as PNP deputies“, Inquirer].

If there is a culture at the top of the PNP today, it seems from my desk to be a combination of military (discipline and obedience) and self-service (power and greed). Somewhere along the way, the pure military ideals, glory to God, service to nation, gaining the people’s trust and respect . . . and honor . . . got yanked from the culture.

It’s perplexing in the extreme. I see officers in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as holding different values than the PNP leadership. They draw their officers from the same Philippine Military Academy, but hold to their service and honor charter. Perhaps their association with the US military tradition is stronger, or the forces of greed are not so prominent. They are not bribed or enticed to join the dark side by local political bosses or drug lords, as are the police chiefs.

I learned during the Mamasapano hearings that the generals are committed to carrying out successful military missions. Passionately, honorably, bravely.

I fault Senator Poe, who led the Senate investigation, for undermining that integrity. She insisted on laying bare on the public stage the military tactics and the personal emotions of men dealing with battlefield failure, and tried to assign it as political blame against President Aquino. She could benefit by a stint in the army, I think, or a couple of courses at the PMA.

It seems to me that the generals of the AFP are more diligent in granting glory to God and more honorable in serving the people and their nation than their counterparts at the PNP.

Perhaps the problem within the PNP is that it is a tribal force, too much under the influence of local politicians or tough regional commanders. Today, local police commanders seem to be engaged in drugs and killing across the nation. It is horrifying, the way they consider citizens to be the enemy, either for doing drugs or trying to stop the cops from dealing drugs (as witnesses). It is horrifying the way they execute people at will. With impunity granted by the President.

The breakdown of honor within the PNP stains the nation’s military integrity so badly. It appears from the outrageous number of killings occurring under the encouragement or watch of the PNP that, not only would the PNP leaders leave a comrade behind, they’d shoot him if he blinked wrong. Furthermore, they’ve left a whole lot of Filipino citizens behind. They do this when they mark innocents, by lack of due process, as the enemy. As targets.

That’s why I say military honor in the Philippines is dying. Those who know right from wrong, who serve to protect Philippine citizens and the law, are serving different masters. Power. Greed.

And I worry that it is not just within the PNP.

I recoil inside, my military upbringing slapping me in the gut, when I see Philippine military officers raising their fists in a power salute, joined with the President. I know that they have forgotten to defend ALL the people they are tasked to keep safe. They are playing politics, not patriotism. They are playing power and favor, not honor and service.

The President is wrong, as Commander in Chief, for putting them in that awkward position.

The raised fist has no national recognition or authorization. It is not a salute, of respect. It is a claim . . . of power . . . and a demand for obedience.

A military unit is only as strong as its weakest element, because that is where the enemy is sure to attack.

When honor is weak, if the honorable allow that weakness to persist, they fail, and fall, right along side the dishonorable.


139 Responses to “Military honor in the Philippines is dying”
  1. josephivo says:

    As a teenager I liked scouting a lot, being trained under the cold, wet Belgian sky, taught to forgo personal comfort for success of the unit. I liked it so much that I was afraid I would like the army too but I didn’t want to be taught how to kill with a rifle, bayonet, grenade, cannon, or bare hands. So 2 years of foreign aid service were the only alternative to avoid conscription, hence 2 years of teaching in Congo.

    Opportunity creates the thief. Police operate within the public, soldiers operate in military camps or far away, high in the hills.

    Critical mass. One rotten apple isn’t a problem if there are thousands of shiny ones on your shelves, even with two or three, you still will be able to sell apples, but there comes a point that nobody will stop at your shop. The police passed this critical point. Proof:

    A few years ago I was stopped by a traffic enforcer at a crowded public marked where he was trying to untangle the daily tricycle and jeepney loading and unloading, counterflow and crossing, jaywalking and the occasional car that tried to find a shortcut. I was waiting for getting the permission to cross, after a few minutes I moved (a little) closer, than he saw me as a kano, stopped what he was doing, came to my window, “driver license please?”, “why?”, “you hit my leg so bad, I can’t continue my job”, “???”.

    Only one way to argue, “what can I do?”. “We go to the hospital, the doctors will tell me what to do.” So we went to the nearest hospital where we did not stop at the reception, no stop at the doctor’s secretary but strait inside a doctor’s office. He explains the “accident” and the doctor looks at his leg, noting to be seen, but “I’ll have to make an X-ray to be sure it is save to send him back to work and I’ll prescribe some antibiotics to avoid complications.”, “????” The area the officer indicated as painful was just above his ankle, my car bumper at knee height.

    Convinced now that I hadn’t been dreaming and that I was 200% innocent I refused to pay 2500 peso for the doctor and the additional tests, the antibiotics I had to settle with the officer. So to the police station we went. Wait, wait, wait, then a senior officer came, had to explain everything, he advised that I could settle the case amicable or that he could charge me for wounding a traffic enforcer. Refused to do so. Arguments back and forth.

    Got really upset, red and loud. If they can scam, I can too. So I dropped on the floor with a heart attack. Panic, they rushed me to the hospital in a police car but I could convince them I had the right medicine at home, so they drove me home, they waited outside, I took 2 SM lights as medicine, called my lawyer who advised me to settle the case with the argument “it is more fun in the Philippines but it costs a little”. Good advice.

    They drove me back to the station, a lot of excuses from both sides, “I’ll pay 500 peso for the inconvenience I created”, no need “my niece works in Belgium, say hallo when you return”. Left the police station with a marvelous story to tell back home and a lot of new “friends”.

    Lessons learned. Everybody knows what is going on. They see every day what is happening, they see the lifestyle of bosses and colleagues, and don’t most get there cut of what is harvested? Some are at the initiating side, some are at the “look in the other direction” side. Principles are for the elite.

    I didn’t bother too much and considered it as their extralegal income to complement their meager salaries. But with the EJK’s I’m really worried. Are Duterte and dela Rossa that naïve?

    • No, they aren’t.

      Need creates its own value system, for sure. I do wonder if the AFP top brass are resigned to their fate, that the honorable profession for which they toiled and perhaps risked their life, is gaining the reputation of a street walker, or worse.

  2. NHerrera says:

    Your note on the “raised fist” by the military officers in lieu of the traditional military salute sums it up for me — that military honor is dying in the country. Nothing like a graphic example of the death of honor. “Heil H…”

    • NHerrera says:

      By the way, birds of a feather — I saw a picture of Trump with raised fist too (I don’t know for what occasion, though.)

  3. Back to the time of Aguinaldo, where the army was “feudal”/tribal? Heneral Luna did manage to enforce one uniform but did not have the full support of the President when it came to being the Supreme Commander, loyalties were regional and some generals had their own flags…

    As for ideas of sovereignty, I recently read something interesting in a book by Prof. Vicente Rafael – that the idea of sovereignty in the Malolos Republic was a Spanish one. Absolute and if necessary above the law, something reflected in recent pronouncements of Duterte about going around the Constitution if “martial law is needed”. I wonder how much of this (old) Spanish idea of authority remained in the back of people’s heads inspite of theoretical (but short) Americanization.

    So there are the three layers: native/Malay, Spanish/colonial, American/colonial when one looks at the influences that shape the Filipino attitude to state, honor and authority. The American layer is the thinnest, many aspects of the Spanish layer almost indistinguishable from the native one now..

    Native sense of honor is personalistic – “you insulted me, I will wait for you with a bolo or a gun”…

    Spanish colonial sense of honor by those in power is absolutist – “you dare disobey, I will find punishment, and if I have to bend the rules for that I will”. A Belgian like josephivo gets this kind of game instinctively (same historical rulers) and plays it back, native cops can save face and laugh..

    Unlike Indonesia and Malaysia, the Philippines did not have long periods of Indianized and Muslim influence. The real ethics of rajas and sultans do have an idea of a state and caring for the whole. Philippines basically stayed – datus and their personal entourage, the rest must adjust or suffer…

    • That makes a whole lot of sense, Irineo. But it also means that the West Point curriculum at the PMA is largely for effect or show, and doesn’t mean much. And that one poor kid they threw out a couple of years ago for an honor code violation (on a complaint from other students) was just throwing a virgin into the volcano to appease the honor god, or tribal masters at the time.

      • And don’t forget the Marcos regime which seems to have solidified the many negatives. It really didn’t seem to have disappeared and had just continued festering inside the system. Yes, even with the PMA.

        It is simply a case of “power intoxication”. And from what I’ve seen and heard, this is something that new recruits experience early on. For some, this is even the reason for entering in the first place. Just look at the specialty car plates with “PMA”, “PNPA”, etc. A simple thing but it seems to show a lot. It is not just a show of pride but more of a show of power and status. Mostly for the gain of an unfair advantage. And to be honest, this is what many people usually only see: The perks of status and seldom the purpose of the uniform. Just reduced as a means to an end.

        But there are cases that people do retain a proper sense of purpose. But they really suffer the risk of burnout as they would then have to navigate the hierarchy very carefully as it does seem to be hostile them.

        It’s a sad thing really.

        But mind you, this problem with power didn’t just move in along with the current admin as from what I can infer from the post. People wouldn’t be calling them ‘buwhaya’ since way back then if it wasn’t. ‘Huilidap’ also seems to ring a bell?

        But do note that I’m not absolving them of responsibility as they really do need to do something about it. But if there is one thing that should happen, a follow through is something that is very important. But that is something that I really seldom see.

        Though it does make one wonder: How big of an influence do the police and military have over the government? No matter the administration, they do seem to have a ‘special’ place in the seats of power.

  4. NHerrera says:

    May be, Joe, as in other areas we have gone past “honor” as we knew them or as the Samurai display honor, enough to commit sepuko to redeem a measure of honor if stained. We are now in post-something, post-honor or the latest phrase applied here — alternative honor.

    • NHerrera says:

      Alternative honor displayed by two Deputy Immigration Commissioners to meet with Jack Lam’s emissary Sombrero for 8 HOURS, and after one of them brought the money handed over, kept it for TWO WEEKS — and declared, only after a cctv video showing them carrying the bags of money — that they accepted the money to use as evidence of bribery. That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is ALTERNATIVE HONOR.

    • Yes, I agree. It is the era of gameplaying, I think. Amoral rationalization of manipulations and lawbreaking. I suppose Revelations is fast approaching, with the breakdown of the climate and values. The seasonal winds this past few days have been incredibly violent, felling a neighbor’s tree and taking the power out for a time. I think the word of the day is “harbinger”.

  5. edgar lores says:

    I am following the Australian Open, which is an alternative reality that is far, far away and far, far apart from the disordered world of state-sanctioned violence and police killings.

    In the last several years before I retired, I worked with a state-wide, state-of-the-art police application used to report, manage and resolve police incidents. The application was interactive, primarily showing a map of the state. Like Google Map, one could zoom in and out to particular towns and cities, down to streets and alleyways.

    Superimposed on the map were incident IDs and the locations of police cars. All police vehicles were equipped with GPS-enabled laptops. One could select a particular incident and look at all the details, including the police personnel who responded to it. One could also select a police car, and identify the personnel and the incidents to which they responded. Station commanders would be in communication with all of their personnel and vehicles at all times. All of this was in real-time.

    But one could also pick a day and time range, and replay the movement of police cars… including all audio trails.

    Thinking of the tokhang-for-ransom incident, I cannot see how this could happen if the PNP were equipped with the software application I described. All police personnel movements would be trackable. I am aware that in this case, the police used the victim’s SUV but still the police had to use their own car to get to the victim’s residence, and to follow or escort the SUV to the PNP headquarters.

    I am sure the police application has seen some advances and improvements since I worked on it, but it shows the possibilities of how technology can be used to properly manage the police force to fulfill their duty to the public – and maintain their honor.

    • edgar lores says:

      P.S. Looks like a Williams sisters’ final and a Federer-Nadal final are possible. Gadzooks!

    • Only a few America police departments are doing this , and even if their GPS system is on, analyzing movements and trends tend to only happen ad hoc piece by piece as individual investigations unfold.

      The sense of privacy superseded use of GPS although now with the advent of body cameras, GPS doesn’t seem like an issue of privacy any longer; so the next is analysis, and without dedicated analysts , using meta-data generated from such systems is nil—

      though at the national level meta-data is very popular.

      I’d add the tactical benefits of GPS will pay for it in spades, easier to deploy, ie. establish perimeters. Google glass attempted to sell their tech to police departments specifically for active shooter situations, or Bombay type attacks… probably too expensive.

      In the mean time, I think encouraging businesses and homes to outfit the outside of their home with cameras, like dash cams (looping HD cameras that can be re-set every night if nothing of significance happened), OR a Nest type camera, that comes with 30 day to 90 day data retention at their off site servers, ie. online.

  6. Reza says:

    OK My biggest perplexity -and I’m not even getting started with the article- How on earth did “God” get into so many lines of the PMA and PNPA?! Good point Joe, is this God the Father or God the Son?! Cuz that really matters when you drag God into this debate! Does this exclude Allah? or Buddha? In other words are you making your National Police an institution of exclusion, racism and bigotry, telling your Moro citizens and Chinese citizens they have no rights? no roles no representation in the national arena? All this when your constitution clearly declares the official separation of Church and State?! Are you saying that your entire law enforcement establishment is violating the constitution in broad day light and has done so from its very inception?! See these are serious violations of the constitution to be tackled by the people and their houses of reps and yet 100 years into nationhood and nobody has ever bothered to fix these paradoxes! So until we fix the bigger more fundamental misunderstandings of rights and obligations towards the nation, we cannot conclude discussions on morality.

    • edgar lores says:

      The vision and mission of the PNPA are carried forward to the PNP’s philosophy — “Service, Honor and Justice” — and core values — “Maka-Diyos, Makabayan, Makatao, and Makakalikasan.”

      It seems quite clear that the present police hierarchy has identified “God” to be no other than the President.

      And as to the violation of the Constitution, the President is carrying on the time-honored tradition.

  7. popoy del r cartanio says:

    This is not out of topic but a long one. Juan Flavier did medical public service. He authored books on Doctor to the Barrios which catapulted him to the Philippine Senate. Come to think of it, I could have written: Tales of a Servant to the Public Service for a chance to be elected Captain of our Barangay. I will share here paragraphs yet to be written in the imagined Chapter titled: Ang Mga Alat Sa Buhay Ko. Here are the positives.

    Policemen in my short pants youth are called ALAT. Kanto boys will say: Pare INGAT MAY ALAT. Don’t know if the term was honorable or smacks of filth and disgust. Now I conclude ALAT was a cautionary word to behave or else; just like being warned in the Aussie’s outback: be careful of dingoes. But at that time too in the Big Apple before Giuliani, the cops were called PIGS.
    From all my unwritten tales may be totalled eight; six were about good, only two will be bad; one of which as student was traumatic enough to make me prejudiced against all Manila cops for life. Ironic it was that for two years I was passing almost daily by a flagpole where at its base was etched: GO TELL THE PASSERS-BY, THAT IN THIS LITTLE WORLD MEN KNOW HOW TO DIE. For salience to those words, the Mamasapano whatever was light years away.

    Of course, here are the short good tales! I borrowed my younger brother’s Willys Jeep. I like to treat my very young family to good lunch with the famous quikiam at the Carvajal Chinese Restaurant in Binondo, when a policeman told me to alight and talk to three policeman riding a delipidated jeep with no plate number. One asked as he examined my driver’s license : “Do you know it is illegal to park in this street? Do you have business or do you work?”

    To which I answered: “Sir, I am a teacher.” Where?”
    “ In UP Sir.” More friendly chatty questions now, when suddenly almost hysterical cries from a girl came from the direction of our jeep.
    “Your daughter is crying, better go now, but don’t park in any streets in Binondo again.” To which I replied: Thank you very much Sir.
    Back to the jeep, my wife told me, Mavic who was then may be 4 years old, was so scared the Police will arrest and get me, she went hysterical. To this day I am not sure which got me off the hook: UP’s name or my daughter’s hysterical cries.

    Next tale: In EDSA down the approach to Q Mart, a motorcycle cop with his bike parked on the middle island flag me down and signalled me to approach him. I asked him meekly: “Sir, Anong ginawa Ko? Anong violation ko sir? To which he replied authoritatively: “Color coding ka, look at your plate number.” To which I exclaimed parang OA pero sincere: “Oh my God, nakalimutan ko sir. Magbibigay ako ng eksamen sa estudyante ko sir. Nasa kotse ang mga test papers, kukunin ko sir. I was thinking I was so afraid I could get stopped and make lagay many times before I reach home when I heard him ask: “Saan ang eksamen, anong eskuela?” “Sa UP Diliman, sir.” “Saan ka nakatira?” “Sa ano Sir, malayo sir.”

    I was looking down (walang maraming panlagay kasi) the Hagad cop was looking at me. After a while, he said: “Okay you go. Just remember color coding. Pag uwi mo, pass by Katipunan tuloy sa C5, Pag may humuli pa sa ‘yo sabihin mo (pointing at his nameplate) hinuli na kita, okay na.

    On the north of the Pasig River, driving the borrowed jeep, a policeman out of nowhere stopped us and asked for my drivers license. “Ikaw ba ito? “Yes sir.” Kilala mo ba ang city prosecutor dito? “Younger brother ko sir.” One way street ito, di mo ba nakita yung DO NOT ENTER sign? “Two way naman ito dati sir.” “sigi, you may go.” “Salamat po, sir”.

    • popoy del r cartanio says:

      To continue my comments

      Last Brush with PNP cops overseas: One day in the approach to the Central HQ of UNTAET in Dili, Timor Leste. “Good Morning, Kabayan! Peacekeeper dito Pulis sa atin.” Medio nagulantang; “Good morning din Kabayan. Nagtatago ka ba? Ginulat mo ako, bigla kang lumabas diyan sa likod ng halaman.” Nakangiti, sabi ko: Sori, ha” Naisip ko kasi, ating pulis nga pala ito, meron mahilig magtago.

      One more tale in the same UN HQ place: I was circling, peeping the inside of an India made, UN official vehicle when two burly civilians approached from behind me, smiling: Masama yan ganyan kabayan, pulis peacekeepers kami. Anong problema? Feeling relieved, I said: Kabayan, ayun susi ko, nalimutan ko, di ako makapasok, Pag inereport ko yan sa Obrigado Barracks, kalahating araw bago mabalik sa akin yan.” “No problem kabayan hanap lang tayo ng alambre, Buksan natin yan Okay ka na.” After 4 minutes I was happily driving back on the left side of the road to the Civil Service Academy in Comorro, Dili. One more tale?

      We, Pinoys were having barbecue party in the backyard of my rented house. I was listening learning from Cambodian, Vietnamese, African etc, experience of UN OFWs. Mga Pare ko, dami yatang pinatay dito sa tinitirhan ko, parang may nagmumulto, palaging may lumilitaw sa panaginip ko, anong gagawin ko? “ Madali yan Pare.” Blah, blah, blah. To a security man: “Pare bakit dito ka nagdya-jogging tuwing umaga, dami naman magandang fresh air na lugar? “Nagche-check lang kasi hindi mo alam dating rebel area ito, may kapit bahay ka pang rebelde. Iba na yung safe.” “Salamat Pare.

      TSISMIS: Pare na meet mo na ba yung close in security ni Princess Diana, nandito siya sa HQ Volunteer din siya. Nakaligtas, nabuhay daw siya dahil siya lang ang naka seat belt noong mangyari ang vehicular accident sa Paris. To a beauty volunteer from Nairobi, Kenya: “Do you like the music of our PhilBat Band during parties?” Answer: “Not really. Their music is not danceable.”

      To a PNP cop: “Oy Captain dito ka rin pala, anong gawa nyo dito, nagtratrapik ko rin ba?” Natapos mo na ba ang Masters mo?” “ Sa office naman ako sir. Pagbalik ko enroll ulit ako sir. Ikaw sir magtuturo ka pa rin pagbalik?” “Seguro, pero as temp professorial lecturer na lang.

      To another PA-AFP former student “Oy Captain, di ba ang Philbat peacekeeping nasa field sa Manatoto, Kailan ka pa? Anong ginagawa mo dito ? “
      “Bago pa lang Sir. Monitoring duties kami, Sir.” After joining a Spanish sardines in open tins and rice still on the caldero dinner with PMAyer grads captains of PhilBat, my former student graduate of Duntron Military Academy down under said : “Hatid ko na kayo, Sir” handling to me a paper bag. “ O ano ba ito, bawal ito. Ayoko,” “Sigi na Sir, kape at asukal lang yan, binili ko sa commissary yan, di bawal yan.” So okay, thank you very much.

      One Sunday morning in the patio of the Sao Paolo Catholic Church (built daw by Indonesia for the Catholics) watching a Phil Bat Fierra dislodging young women dressed for church: “Pare, are these chicks really soldiers, they look like smart college girls?” “They are real soldiers Pare. One is even rumored to be engaged to one of our civilian volunteers.” Well, Pare in our big houseboat I saw one blond female US Marine. The Aussies have a few of them Pare ko.” Obregado Pare ko.

      The point of my public servant tails este tales no matter how boring should send a message that Filipinos, best as good Filipinos, whether immigrants or OFWs should feel safe and helpful, este full of help needed or not from their kababayans.

      should I also tell short tales from the PMA during the late fifties?

      • popoy del r cartanio says:

        The last brush with a retiree cop. After attending a seminar (I can look for my certificate) sponsored by the Supreme Court on Mediation as an inexpensive way of meting and getting justice, I designed a mediation course for members of Lupon Tagapamayapa of Barangays which was approved and implemented for all Barangay Lupons of a City. Having no educ background and experience on mediation, I chose to lecture on the topic: Critical Thinking and Thinking Outside the Box.

        During a coffee break a participant whom I know, approached me and whispered that a retiree policeman Lupon member is very angry with my lecture. I asked him why. Bothered and worried I also asked him to point the participant to me. What made him angry were my examples for outside the box thinking. I said that confronted with the need to mediate problems of wife abuse, there’s also such a thing as husband abuse, that increasing wife abuse, think also of unreported increasing cases of husband abuse. That on the problem of controlling or eradicating crimes in the country, think of what will happen if all policemen are put in jail and releasing all prisoners.

        Thinking outside the box eh? Preposterous? Looks crazy now to me to say all the prisoners must be released for the health and safety of the jailed policemen. I thank God I ain’t lecturing them andragogic uncommon sense no more. Sorry JoeAm if I have taken this particular forum space to the moon—outside the box where there could also be sense of humour.

        • NHerrera says:

          Popoy, salamat sa storya. Ingat lang uli sa mga ALAT pagnagbakasyonn ka sa Pinas, maski nagturo ka sa UP nuon. Mas may problema nga ngayon kung sasabihin na nagtuturo ka sa UP. Ay mali, ang leftist na UP kasapi na pala ngayon.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Thanks for the stories Popoy.

  8. I can totally confirm popoy’s rendition of the Philippine military and its leaders.

    And as to the question of whether or not military honor in the Philippines is dying , I’d say something that never was, cannot die. Maybe the Americans attempt to build a West Point in Northern Philippines was still born from the git-go—- OR as Ireneo said, just wasn’t feasible based on Philippine society and its breakdown.

    Honor’s one of those hard to define word. Whatever it is (i’m still trying to figure it out myself 😉 ) , I do know that one feature of this concept HONOR is consistency. There’s a lot more features that make up this concept, but for me, consistency is up there.

    HONOR is also a noun and verb, it can be bestowed by others and it can be generated from self, harking back to Machiavelli’s LOVE and FEAR, wherein love is generated by the populace (at least in politics) and FEAR generated by the sovereign. So HONOR is different in that it can come both from within and from without.

    After consistency, the next feature would be coverage, ie. there’s small honor, like walking around in your uniform and understanding you’re part of a tradition ; and there’s big honor which presupposes self-sacrifice at any moment. Now small honor and big honor aren’t mutually exclusive, it’s just that for many it takes time to understand that the two are related.

    What I saw in the Philippines (and other 3rd World countries) is exactly what Ireneo described. It’s essentially small honor with very small coverage and lack of consistency. Mainly because within the PMA and PNP Academy are simply as Wil wrote about, are simply more frats.

    Which all goes back to thinking small, sense of self is hierarchical , so when an officer is absent or a strong willed senior NCO is nowhere near , those below just stop dead on their tracks, no initiative because the common leadership style is to dominate, not to mentor. And this style is self perpetuating, ie. When I get my turn I’m gonna screw the other guy.

    Maybe the Philippine military and police just hasn’t been tested the way European and American militaries have (also Australia, but fighting for North America and Western Europe), so the traditions being mimicked just don’t ring true, like that pic of Bong-Bong Marcos in a top had next to a Rolls-Royce 😉 .

    What the Philippines has though, and this where and why their military and police are joined at the hips (not so here, per ) is the continuous counter-insurgency footing. And this is where the Philippines can learn so much from the Israelis, and indeed there are already lots of Filipinos serving in the IDF (thanks to the Oslo Accords in the 1990s 😉 )

    I tend to agree with DU30’s anti American military stance , like a prostitute addicted to crack with a crack dealing pimp (who used to be very physical, but now just smooth talkin’ w/ plenty of crack 😉 ) . So maybe the AFP should get its training and interaction (not from the American military, but… ) from the IDF. The IDF too are constantly sucking on the teets of American taxpayers , though they are not as dependent , they are more like highly skilled courtesans who can speak 5 languages.

    Maybe it is as simple as re-modeling the Philippine military to another military with an honorable tradition , Israel (not American or European). They are more practical when it comes to military and policing, no need for high falutin’ , if it works it works , if it doesn’t it doesn’t. In a span of 2 generations they are the experts of counter-insurgency.

    In conclusion, the infusion of military honor died when the Americans left (died at birth); but as another country has shown , all this high falutin’ stuff about military honor is over-rated. The point is to have a military and police that’s effective, that means leadership training, taking initiative, learning from mistakes, freedom to make mistakes, etc. etc. The high falutin’ stuff can come later , for now focus on leadership.

    • Although I am fine with PH rebalancing to be assured of independence and sovereignty, and closeness to the Cash Cows China and Japan, requiring some separation from the US, I’d say the weapons support the US provides is invaluable, and perhaps at some future time could be a stop to full invasion of the PH as just another set of islands for China to acquire. However, to agree with President Duterte’s version would be to agree with pushing the US away because the communists want separation, and because President Obama’s remarks on human rights were personally offensive to the President. I don’t think that represents a rationale I would agree with. It’s like throwing out both the baby and the bath water. So the ends might be good, the thinking that got there was bad.

      • Joe,

        Whatever DU30’s agendas are , that’s political posturing ; I’m talking more on 3rd world military mimicry , and simply saying the IDF maybe a better model to follow here, a counter-insurgency type military/police culture and tradition.

        IDF is far superior, when it comes to selecting leadership potential , blowing traditional military schools like Sandhurst and West Point out of the water,

        • And I’m talking about what it seems to mean when someone seems to endorse the Duterte outcomes and methods. Dismissing it as political posturing avoids the issue.[edited]

          • You’re conflating two issues is why, Joe. Theres the political stuff and there’s the military stuff,

            I’m talking more about the military, ie. if the grand concept of a national military institution never took root (as per Ireneo’s post below) , essentially further relations will be skewed , imbalanced , talking past each other, even toxic because all the AFP (and PNP) will only care about is getting bigger and badder toys.

            Missing the fundamentals of policing and soldiering.

            As for the possibility of a China takeover, if there’s no military honor, and no understanding of the fundamentals, it’s already too late , like what happened to our tanks and weapons that we left behind for the Iraqi Army in Mosul, gone with the wind 😉 .

            • I’m not conflating two issues. I’m stating a disagreement on your apparent endorsement of Duterte’s separation with the US because that separation, in my opinion, is done for the wrong reasons, which may mean the security of the PH is compromised for specious purposes. Political and military merge with security. You are avoiding the issue. Deflection, I believe is the term being used here today.

              • Then my views re arming the Philippines and DU30’s reasons for separation , simply converge from two different points.

                That one point for me , militarily speaking is the non-repeat of another Mosul U.S. weapons give-away. I’ve been on record here insisting that the AFP (and the PNP) do not get bigger and badder toys from US,

                thats simply an extension of that view, Joe, with or without DU30’s politics, the AFP (and the PNP) at this point in time do not represent an equal ally, think Mosul and the Iraqi Army.

                Now Marines and Navy (and even Army ) based over there, I’m fine with. But without American personnel, no bigger and badder weapons should change hands, period.

                re your article, that’s my point Joe, things are already specious , even without the Chinese in the picture.

              • I tend to think seeking armaments from Israel is one of those idealogical amusing ideas that won’t happen because the PH would have to pay real money, whereas the US alliance was pragmatic and real and here now. Chosing an ideologically amusing solution over a pragmatic one seems specious to me. So does President Duterte’s reasoning. But you are entitled to your amusements, for sure.

              • Joe,

                The whole point of Trump’s administration is no more hand outs,

                so Israel would be the more realistic option 😉 . There’s no more Obama’s Asian Pivot, Joe, that’s gone, there’s a new sheriff in town— and I doubt he’ll send a Sec. Kerry to hand DU30 money for insulting the US.

                But we agree the AFP and PNP’s honor is dying and/or dead , with that how does a nation proceed? Whether Trump’s a one term wonder or two, I gotta feeling the Ron Paul view of the world will be here to stay.

                It is a quandary. You say, “Just tell me straight so I can move and invest elsewhere.” I say, It’s probably high time to go, Joe. 😉

    • popoy del r cartanio says:

      to sir LCpl_X January 25, 2017

      Unable to fully read and analyzed LCpl_X comments (meaty discussion piece) I just put and click my heels together, stand at attention then returned to parade rest again to show him I am awake.

      I got involved enough times directing strategic planning (institution soul searching is its metaphor). Let me nitpick the vision and mission of the PNP Academy. Before doing so, let me say I have only superficial knowledge about the Academy and its graduates, from info gathered from newspapers about its new graduates being apprehended violating the law and taking advantage of weak citizens.

      I know more of its promising beginnings through a colonel of honor who became its Superintendent. Col Vic D was teased by his AFP-CGSC Classmates because during exams, he forbids the cadets from looking left or right side wards but allowed them only to look straight ahead or look up when thinking. Cadet examinees are not allowed to go to the toilets, are required to bring one liter tin cans (tabu) where they should urinate. I suppose no female cadets then were admitted to the PNP Academy. A pity, a shame for the country that like T. Bautista, Vic D was snatched by death before they can sufficiently straighten the many crooked turns in the military environment. I was told both came from the Cagayan Valley region.

      I would have enjoyed joining the PNPA Faculty and Staff in a soul searching exercise. The VISION and MISSION are not sacrosanct and permanent and should be reviewed against current criteria after a thorough analysis of its SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) . Vision is where the institution wants to go; Mission spells out how to get there. PNPA is like a human finishing factory that must produce rationale beings whose performance and worth in society rises or fall on its duty to serve and protect citizens and country. As simple as that that sanctimonious words or jargon won’t do.
      Let’s repeat what JoeAm posted:

      Vision: The Philippine National Police Academy, for the glory of God, shall be the primary institution to develop knowledge, skills and the virtues of Justice, Integrity and Service.

      Mission: To provide comprehensive education and training programs to transform cadets into God-center, community –responsive public safety officers trusted and respected by the people.

      Does the written vision tells the Faculty and the Cadets where the Academy wants to go? And the Mission does it tell them how to get there? Where is the dictum of TO SERVE AND PROTECT which guide all policemen all over the world, so simple it is a command that contain the result : served and protected.

      No, I won’t offer a re-write. Bloggers need to contribute to the distillation of an undervalued state function.

      • popoy del r cartanio says:

        I suppose the simple philosophy of planning advocated by the late and former UP System EVP Dr. Noel Soriano will be salient and relevant to the PNP Academy:

        “To be useful, To be of service, to make a contribution, and To demonstrate distinctive competence.”

    • edgar lores says:

      “And as to the question of whether or not military honor in the Philippines is dying , I’d say something that never was, cannot die.”

      Right. This coming from a man who does not know the meaning of the term and struggles to define it.


      • parengtony says:


      • edgar, I think you missed the point.

        Courage is definitely a feature of HONOR, but honor is not necessary in courage.

        Which lends to my point , leave HONOR aside for now (whether we argue that it’s dying , or dead , or never there , is immaterial ) because it’s high falutin’ , work on tangible stuff first that’ll bring the Philippine military and police up to speed,

        HONOR is something for later , like I said it’s too abstract for now (especially in the Philippines, or the 3rd world in general 😉 ) , work with fundamentals ie. like the IDF, protecting and securing the populace, then maybe later on work on HONOR, as some military trait— personally,

        I think you’d have to institutionally (as a group) get tested first, then follows traditions, then culture, then honor. But you can’t put the horse before the carriage is my point, edgar— you have to earn your feathers first. Courage I agree Filipinos (and pretty much everyone really) have plenty of,

        it’s working as a team, and bigger… thinking as a nation.

        As for courage , similar sentiments were echoed by Vic Hurley in his book “Jungle Patrol” , I just think honor is something bigger than courage. Fundamentals in policing and soldiering is what I’m stressing here , then when there’s time discuss honor.

        p.s.~ don’t fall in love with fluffy words, it’s an old commander’s trick. Military folks know how to differentiate flattery from true words… I don’t doubt Filipino courage, but Gen. MacArthur’s words are hyperbole.

        These words ring truer when it comes to the military :

        • edgar lores says:

          “…(whether we argue that it’s dying , or dead , or never there , is immaterial…)”

          See the deflection right there?

          • Joe says it’s dying;
            I say it was dead to begin with;
            Ireneo says it was never there;

            So you’re taking the position that it’s alive and well, edgar? Go ahead , proceed. 😉

            • edgar lores says:

              …And we get another deflection: passing the burden of proof.

              Plus where did Irineo say “it was never there”?

              • “The real ethics of rajas and sultans do have an idea of a state and caring for the whole. Philippines basically stayed – datus and their personal entourage, the rest must adjust or suffer…”

                No idea of a state = no military

                no military = no military honor 😉

              • I’m simply saying it was dead on arrival, edgar— because the Americans did attempt ,
                read Ireneo’s 1940 vs. 1971 PMA class comment below , just never took root.

              • If you ask me, there was one Filipino who did try to form a Filipino state – President Quezon, from the moment he started campaigning for the 1916 Jones Law, then the years where he headed the Philippine Senate (1916-1935) and of course the Commonwealth which he became President of in 1935, whose institutions are basically still there until now, with a few additions here and there. But somehow his idea of a state did not transmit to a large majority, I have the impression that much left after the war was only lip service…

                the idealists nonwithstanding, but I do agree with LCPL_X that it isn’t the rhetoric that matters, it is the ethics that are practiced and these degraded significantly from the times of those who defended against the Japanese thru Martial Law until what one has today… somehow the idealists and true believers remind me of school principals where the kids only behave when they are watching, once they turn their back, no principles left at all… now that the last principal and true believer (Santiago) is gone, Lord of the Flies takes over.

              • Edgar Lores says:


                Rhetoric matters.

                Without rhetoric, how else will ethics be defined, much less communicated?

                Rhetoric is talk and true ethics is walking the talk. False ethics is talking but not walking the talk.

                But true or false, the talk always comes first.

                Without the talk, there is no path for the walk to take place.

              • Action comes first, edgar.

                Always has.

                Talking in terms of human evolution came much later on, early man had to kill and run and did whoopie , without concepts of honor , loyalty and love, they just did.

                The act of rationalizing came much later.

                So action first then all the theoretical stuff comes after. Read again ,

                josephivo’s comment re monkey see monkey do. 😉

    • Col. Jessup talked about HONOR, and see where it got him! 🙂 LOL!


      Closer Than Brothers: Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy – by Alfred W. McCoy

      An approach to the military and political history of the Philippines. Comparing two generations of graduates from the Philippine Military Academy – the classes of 1940 and 1971 – McCoy uncovers fundamental differences in their academic socialization and subsequent ascent to power.

      The gist being that the Class of 1940 appeared more professional while the Class of 1971 was politicized by Martial Law, among other things.

      Possibly there is an even stronger thread here… if one sees the idealism of the generation of Manong Sonny and Edgar, still shaped by the values taught in American-inspired schools, the jadedness of Karl’s and my generation, and the cynicism of the younger… there was indeed an idea of what the Republic (not only the military) was supposed to have been, but American ideas did not yet have deep roots in thin tropical topsoil. Possibly the entire generation of the founders were like on clique in spirit, but afterwards people went back to the usual way of doing things in the Philippines, until today’s complete muddle…

      • Ireneo,

        I can see that, ie. my grandparents and parents differ in worldviews, mine differ from theirs.

        Different branches of the military over here, feel differently about these abstract words, especially HONOR ,

        The Marines more than the Army, Navy and Air Force, talk about HONOR compulsively,

        but it’s not even featured in our Leadership traits, it’s too abstract is my point, hence focus on the measurables first , establish some sort of metrics and judge from there.

        Before we ding the AFP and PNP for lack of HONOR, let’s dissect results first, talk logistics and training , then talk about how they fit in politically ,

        otherwise it’s like planning for a fiesta in a Potemkin village. 😉

      • Thanks for that resource, Irineo. It confirms what others have said here and on Facebook. The deterioration in ‘honor’ or principle occurred during martial law, and President Duterte is using it.

      • Irineo, I have a question and some random musings, care to offer your take on it?

        To quote from the article of Teddy Casiño:
        “Under martial law, the military and police establishment reached the pinnacle of its power. It lorded over everyone and was answerable to no one. PC-INP officials eventually took over the vacuum left by the criminal syndicates supposedly dismantled by the Marcos regime. Thus did the culture of impunity spread like a virus infecting the highest to the lowest ranking member of the PC-INP.

        Unfortunately, the crucial participation of the AFP in the ouster of Marcos in 1986 ensured its insulation from public accountablity in the post-dictatorship years. Succeeding regimes allowed the AFP, including the PC-INP, to remain intact and essentially pardoned for its numerous crimes against the people. Hardly any of its officials and personnel were charged, much less punished, for their involvement in 14 years of fascist atrocities.”

        Assuming that the police and army had indeed retained their positions in power, well, given the regime change, wouldn’t it be very likely that lots of concessions towards them were made by the incoming regime after Marcos? Or in short, could it be considered that those two were actually the most powerful entities after Marcos? Because to be honest, it does seem that the police and military are seldom made accountable for their actions. And this continues up ’til now?

        And given this supposed concentration of power on these entities, an implication of that is that every administration could have possibly unwillingly played their game, dipping their fingers in the pie as was ‘necessary’, so that they could maintain and reach a position of power as well. But most of the time, it usually just ends in a deadlock because of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Compromising information and all that. So the problems never seemed to have disappeared?

        To quote also Bato from the recent probes:

        {“All indications point to an elaborate web of criminal activity by some police personnel operating under the cover of legitimate police operations,” he said
        The case, he said, should “should serve as an eye opener, not only for the PNP but for the entire justice system that are in need of legislated reforms.”}

        I don’t know about you guys but this is the first time I’ve heard someone from any of the admins saying that country’s justice system are in dire need of reforms. Coming from the Chief PNP himself even. So another question is: Will they actually follow through? But how does one break a stalemate like that without sacrificing one’s own image?

  9. chemrock says:

    On Tuesday a whiff of fresh air blew over the Philippines as the Kabayan party list threw their Representative Harry Roque out for his unbecoming manner of conduct in the Delima Congress Inquiry.

    The party leadership displayed honour when they kicked out the detestable Congressman. The media reported it as a matter of fact. I feel the media should glorify the event and make a big deal of it because it was a big deal for promotion of morality and honour in Philippines.

  10. josephivo says:

    Difficult to digest all the Vision, Mission, Leadership stuff. What I observed is that fish starts rotting at the head and that bottlenecks are at the top, again and again and again, good checks and balances and good education can dampen it a little bit, but the direction is always set at the top. More than all other stuff I have questions about the moral strength of e.g. the Estradas. GMAs and Marocoses of this country. Don’t know the PNP and AFP leaders, but assume they had a good feel for possibilities serving under a crooked president. People watch the feet of their bosses, not their lips.

    • There are two moralities in play, the people’s and the Constitution’s. The military/police are not operating under the Constitutional mandate, although their mission/vision says they are supposed to. Which morality is best for the Philippines? How do you get everyone aligned? If it is stacked with elite on top and no pretense about fairness or equality, that’s fine. Just tell me straight so I can move and invest elsewhere. Stop the pretense and hypocrisy.

      By ‘you’, I mean the National Government.

      • josephivo says:

        Whatever morality, you can talk about it or you can live accordingly. Children look what their parent do, workers look what their bosses do, so I assume that policemen and soldiers look what their sergeants and generals do.

        And morality cannot be split in segments, moral in the church and not in the bar (or the other way around), moral in my love for the country but not in my language, moral on Sunday and not on a Monday, all is impossible.

        And Filipinos are good in formulating lofty intentions, bad in implementing them.

        And civilization has to move on all fronts. Just strong morality and no political maturity and no progress economical and ethical and in health care and in education and in human rights… forget it.

  11. karlgarcia says:

    Military Honor is not putting the cart before the horse. How can the military be effective without honor?
    What point am I missing this time?

    • karl,

      Before HONOR, there’s the actual work to be done. Read the Marine Leadership traits above, if the AFP and PNP can say with a straight face that they’ve inculcated those traits to their officers and enlisted , then it’ll be time to talk about HONOR, until then think logistics and training.

      Maybe your dad can talk more on this disconnect between PMA 1940 and 1970 classes , but from what I saw , HONOR is the least of the Philippines concerns right now re the AFP and the PNP. Efficacy and competence first, then all the high falutin’ stuff.

      • Ireneo: “I do agree with LCPL_X that it isn’t the rhetoric that matters, it is the ethics that are practiced “

        josephivo: “Filipinos are good in formulating lofty intentions, bad in implementing them.”


        Maybe I’m going about this all wrong, and stepping on people’s toes in the process (sorry, edgar 😉 ) , but I’m basically trying to express what Ireneo and josephivo are saying above.

      • To the extent that honor and principle would not allow wanton killings outside the legal system, and would not brook corrupt cops, it is EXTREMELY relevant today. Right now.

      • karlgarcia says:

        To be honest my dad might agree with Joe on the dying military honor.He wrote many pieces about military honor, some published and some just stored or lost somewhere. One writeup he attempted to be published by the PMA alumni Association for their Class’s 50th anniversary(2009),but it was not published because it stepped on too many toes.(I think).

        About Military effectiveness, remember the too many Generals link I posted, if it may affect military effectiveness in the US, much more here.

        • I wonder if PMA class of 1949 would have seen the changes , ie. maybe it wasn’t under Marcos but a post-WWII reversion of sorts. And I wonder if there are Filipino officers that skipped the PMA all together and went straight to West Point (FVR did this , correct?) and if they saw things differently as well. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

          • karlgarcia says:

            Many officers graduated from USMA, US Naval Academy, Air force Academy, but they spend their plebe or first year in the PMA. Most of them consider themselves belonging to the class they joined as a plebe.

            As to if they see things differently? hmmmmmmmmmmm

    • edgar lores says:


      This link lists the core values of the marines:

      Among these are Courage, Commitment, and Ductus Exemplo.

      And what is the first core value to be seen?

      • I didn’t say we didn’t have it, edgar. I said we ourselves don’t know the definition of HONOR,

        Courage, Commitment and Leading by Example are easy enough to figure out 😉

        • edgar lores says:

          Third deflection… and you’re out!

        • Core values = rhetoric, lofty, high falutin’

          Leadership traits = ethics practiced, implementing , on the ground

        • LCpl_X, I think I’m also a bit lost on your claims because you said above, to quote:

          “Joe says it’s dying;
          I say it was dead to begin with;
          Ireneo says it was never there;”

          But then you say that we don’t know it’s definition. Hmm… So how do you define this thing that, as you’ve said, is dead in the first place? I don’t know if that was just a slip but you surely have your own views of it. 😉

          As someone who may share a similar mindset, let me drop the true neutral persona and vocalize my own view of ‘honor’. So for me, it is basically doing your job with gravitas, pietas, dignitas and virtus. Most military ‘honor’, especially from the west, does seem to stem from many roman virtues.

          But what is this ‘job’ then? Well, to put simply, it is ‘to serve and protect’. And this is where things start to branch out. The movie ‘A Few Good Men’ does seem to take the cake. So if I were to ask you, would you consider the ‘code red’ honorable? Probably gonna say you can’t answer as we can’t define honor, no? Hmm… So rather than define honor, how about I ask you what is not ‘honor’? That is probably better as we can much more easily define what a thing is not, no? So would you consider the code red as not honorable then? But answer would probably still then depend if your an ‘ends’ or a ‘means’ kind of guy. And you seem like more of an ‘ends’ guy, so if I were to hazard a guess, it wasn’t?

          But going to back to PH’s honor, I’d somewhat agree with the statement of Joe and Irineo. That it wasn’t there in the first place and that it is dying. But to somewhat rephrase it as I think that it’ll be painting the picture as either having it or not: It is existent but it really just didn’t flourish ever since. It is alive but it might as well be dead as the environment has always been quite hostile to it. Though it is supposedly one of the foundations of the entity, well, the results does indicate otherwise. As for why it is, I’d agree with Josephivo’s observation that the fish starts rotting at the head and that bottlenecks are at the top.

          And I’m cutting the reply short as it may become too incoherent. =)

          • ip,

            EXCELLENT! you essentially covered our conversation on “a Few Good Men” if we were to have it, perfectly!

            The only thing i’d add is that there wasn’t a Sgt. or a Cpl involved , if the LCpl (Hal) was in fact a senior LCPL, one of those LCpl never promoted or a Sgt/Cpl who was taken down a rank or two, then it would’ve made sense, been realistic.

            But remember “a Few Good Men” was a play first before a movie, so it’s more like a Greek tragedy (in the clouds), rather than biographical (on the ground). Sgt’s and Cpl.’s (and senior LCpl’s ) mete out the punishments (NJPs).

            Their take is essential, for any of this kind of drama to be considered realistic, because,

            So the portrayal of non-rates (Pvt. PFCs to LCpl’s) as robots , maybe true and realistic in the 3rd world militaries and police , but not so true in the West , the folks meting out the punishments would ‘ve been the last arbiters of what HONOR is (this is the point where this word becomes very slippery) and all that high falutin’ stuff , and every time it’ll boil down to “troop welfare” , ex.

            there was a documentary on Pat Tillman’s death (he’s the NFL star turned US Army Ranger) who was killed by friendly fire (his own platoon), investigation deemed it accidental… but between the lines, you can tell it was a similar drama as “a Few Good Men”, but unlike Santiago, Tillman was a the epitome of a soldier, only the guy was an action star (like Rambo), and ran to every gun fire he heard, thus endangering the rest of the platoon, so the platoon, his platoon, shot him.

            It’s really hard to argue Military and Honor when you address both, maybe IF you were just some guy frying bananas in the street, or a priest hearing confessions HONOR is an easier word to tackle (or in academia), but when considered as something part of the Military or Police, HONOR becomes this really slippery concept, ip… that’s been my point here.

            The first post I made above, you’ll see me attempt to define it, with consistency and coverage; you have your Roman descriptions, Joe said loyalty. But what I hope to have accomplished here is that “Military” Honor is not cut and dry (civilians like to think this word is crystal clear, but it’s not), in many ways it’s always an oxymoron.

            Joe: “To say we should ignore it because it is intangible is like saying the mortar that holds a building up is irrelevant. If people of third world nations don’t relate to it, maybe that is why they are third world.”

            To Joe and edgar, HONOR is what’s keeping everything together (back to our morality, immorality and amorality talk, right?). I’m simply saying it’s not that important.

            Where they end with a place w/out HONOR, I’m simply beginning. I’m saying OK, there’s no honor here, but you can still get things done,

            ie. Leadership training, and why I shared that youtube link above of Daniel Kahneman’s talk on his experience re Leadership in the Israeli Defense Force (i’m sure you’re a big fan of him also, ip, but did you know he was instrumental in Leadership training in Israel? I’m sure he’d also throw out HONOR as some form of illusion validity also, LOL! 😉 )

            Mortar, or actually mud/clay, in Iraq and Afghanistan is something you reapply over the course of your life, then your kids’ lives, and so on. You see mortar isn’t an absolute, it’s not a permanent thing, you’re constantly having to re-apply it.

            Of course mortar and cement being used in the West is far superior in quality so there’s this perception that it’s permanent, Rome’s Coliseum and the Pantheon are still standing.

            So if you’re like the West with really good mortar/cement mixes , or like the 3rd world with just mud/clay mixes , you can still get the work of policing and soldiering done … of course the ideal is to get the mortar/cement used in the Coliseum and Pantheon, but hey even if you just have mud/clay you can still have great cops and soldiers is my point here,

            Good work is still possible,

            by simply focusing on Leadership (get that from Israel, hell even Jordan , since what we are teaching seems not to be sinking in) , then training and logistics. 90% of soldiering and policing is repetition, yeah also pattern recognition and learning to listen to ’em hairs in the back of your neck , but the “core” of soldiering and policing, the everyday stuff, doesn’t require HONOR, so you can totally do your work without even having to think or try to define HONOR. That’s my point , ip .

            I’m beginning at the point of no HONOR.

            (eventually you’d want to aspire to get the good cement/mortar mix but for now you can still build great things simply with mud and clay 😉 work with what you got!)

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks Edgar, yes honor is the first core value.
        Lance if core values are just high fallutin, as an individual you have core values right,?
        Don’t tell me traits are more important for you.

        • karl,

          All’s important in the bigger picture. But Core values , will tend to be different from culture to culture— hence, focus on Leadership first (this tends to be uniform across, when applied correctly).

          Courage appears both in Core and Leadership because it’s physical, courage can be witnessed. Commitment is essentially Stick-to-it-ness , and is represented in Leadership, ie. Loyalty, Endurance, Dependability, etc. and Lead by Example is simply Monkey See Monkey Do, what josephivo wrote about,

          But notice how slippery HONOR is? ie. we’re back to moral, immoral & amoral, how does one know they’re right?, how about mission accomplishment?, troop welfare? where’s the balance? etc. etc.

          In short, yeah I have Core values, but from my experience in the 3rd world, it’s better to teach Leadership first and get a handle on that then continue or build from there.

          Core values, I would argue I got from my parents and grandparents, before I joined the Marines (though the Leadership by Example, mentorship stuff, I got from the Marines),

          but I saw very little of this in the 3rd world , and that view’s been confirmed over and over again from the comments in the ACLU article and onwards by you guys , the lack of morality lack of honor, etc. So all I’m saying for practicality’s sake , teach Leadership traits first, then

          expand on bigger concepts, etc. To me in the 3rd world the foundations the most important; IMHO i got my foundations growing up with distinctly Cascadian values. in the 3rd world survival trumps values.

        • edgar lores says:

          Core: “of central importance; basic; fundamental:”

          • edgar,

            Strengthening your core doesn’t happen over-night! You wake up one morning with a six-pack.

            • Edgar Lores says:

              Six-pack? And yet another deflection.

              • No i’m not being facetious here , edgar, whether you believe military honor exists in the Philippines , or not —- or dying, or dead-on-arrival or never there 😉 — like core strengths require a lot of exercise (see above photo— one does not get a six-pack abs over-nite!!! )

                But my point is that humanity has existed without six-pack abs (or even 8-packs, right karl? 😉 ) , plenty of obese and weak people have made do with what they had. So core values, like core strength , aren’t necessary (sure it helps, but not really necessary if non-existent), so push on without it,

      • NHerrera says:

        I read the link, and I got this under the heading of HONOR:

        A code of personal integrity, honor guides those who do the right thing when no one is looking. It is not only a duty, but also a distinction, as those who possess honor are held in honor.

        Good. It says that a Marine is taught (instilled) the core value of HONOR.

        • NH,

          Honestly , I think it was some 1st year 2nd LT. that wrote that, probably fresh from the Naval Academy, “Brad, youre in charge of our recruiting website now. the last guy that defined HONOR was some LCpl who was kicked out for watching too much porn in the office, see if you can cobble some definition, so the page at least looks populated!” ,

          life in HQ, NH! LOL! 😉

          • NHerrera says:

            “Populate” a Marine Document or Brochure. Hahaha. Another gospel from LCpl_X?

            Now don’t go around populating JoeAm’s page because of my comment. Cheers. 🙂

  12. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    Today’s Senate Committee Hearing on the so called “tokhang for ransom,” focusing on the kidnap for ransom and killing of Korean Jee Ick Joo, chaired by Lacson, did itself proud with sharp, well thought-out probing questions from Lacson, De Lima, Hontiveros, Bam Aquino, Poe. Even Sotto asked sensible questions. (Pacquiao did not ask questions; I forgot the motherhood statement he made.)

  13. gerverg1885 says:

    The way I see it….

    There is no sense of shame among many rogue men in uniform (police, specifically) whose views of their lives are entitlement to power and eventually to money that comes without effort.

    A classmate in high school casually told me about the 6K that he received daily from jueteng years before he retired as the chief of police in a 4th class municipality.. He even added that the earnings from the video karera went to the boys.

    That was in the early 2000s. It’s not hard to imagine how the provincial commander earned much higher and the higher ups, much more higher.

    With the demise of the jueteng, illegal drugs became a richer alternative and with the blanket authority given by the President. tokhang for ransom proved to be much, much richer than any source of income they could ever think of.

    I can’t help but wonder what more devilish ideas could they ever come up with…just to maintain their lavish lifestyles!!!!!

  14. Francis says:

    Some two-centavos words of a non-expert (I) with regards to all this:

    One can’t exactly say that honor doesn’t exist in the PH–or that the PMA is a farce. I mean—what of stuff like RAM? Regardless of the possibility some of coup plotters that came the ranks of those ambitious young turk officers may have had dubious intents at heart—the point is that the fact that the PMA proved to be a breeding ground for some reformers or those who at the very least liked to think that they were is a bit of proof that the PMA does ingrain some kind of idealistic values.

    And I suppose it does. Living under such a stringent honor code. Living through rough training. You’d have to be some really bad egg not to have some kind of honor ingrained in your being.

    I suppose the problem then isn’t that the PMA is not churning out graduates with values—but that those idealistic and wide-eyed graduates come into an environment that quickly turns their honor rotten. What makes the difference—I hypothesize—is not so much where the honor is ingrained, but what happens to the honor after the ingraining. The problem isn’t that you buy the fruit rotten at the supermarket. The problem is that you lack the fridge to keep the fruit fresh. So it quickly rots.

    Not everyone can be a saint. In a situation where all are bad—the few that are good have unenviable choices: to be defiant, fade away quietly from it all, or to engage in the bad itself in hopes of being the lesser evil. And not everyone can be so strong as to be defiant. The problem is the system—a system that tells you that “honor” means nothing in the “real” world. One has to make it in one’s self-interest to be good and honorable. Or minimize the self-interest people have in being bad and dishonorable. Which will require a complicated mix of policy that we’ll have to figure out ourselves—bits of pieces from abroad, indigenous/local concepts here and there…

    The answer—reforming the system and bringing honor to the fore—is complicated. It will not be solved by a silver bullet and it will require a marathon to solve. Someone has already posted the article about the in-built flaws of the PNP stemming from its roots as a tool for oppression and control under the Spanish Era and Martial Law Period. Perhaps it is time to start anew and create a new force from the ground-up? Or…is that not enough…? Perhaps it is necessary to have a massive holistic approach and build a model police force integrated with civil society and a reformed barangay system…?

    It takes a village to raise a child, goes the popular saying. It may take a reformed society to raise a good police force.

  15. edgar lores says:


    This forum is called “The Society of Honor.”

    One would expect that any contributor to this forum understands the word “honor.”

    On May 2, 2010, Joe America wrote on the importance of the word, which I will quote in full in the following three paragraphs:

    “Two values anchor the well-being of a nation. Wealth and Honor.

    Wealth is represented in the sum of all economic activity over the whole of history, the equity arising from money raised through taxes less money spent on infrastructure and services aimed at taking care of the people. Wealth-building requires high productivity to care for more people in a better way. Wealth is represented in the vibrancy of the business community and the availability of technology and financial instruments such as loans and investments. It is represented in stability and protection against disasters and nations or people of bad character. It is represented in jobs and opportunity and food on the table.

    Honor is represented in the moral fiber of the people, in trust, in honesty, in valor during battle, in dignity, in compassion, in bravery, in caring for those who can’t care for themselves: the children and the old people, the sick and the disenfranchised. Honor is represented in the will and courage to do the tough deeds necessary to protect one’s family, neighbors, and fellow-citizens; it asks that some give their lives to protect the greater community.” [Bolding mine.]

    From the first sentence of that last paragraph, we learn that honor has a prerequisite. This is the knowledge of morality, of diffrentiating right from wrong. To have honor, one must, first and foremost, know what is right and what is wrong.

    From the second sentence, we learn what honor is. If courage is usually understood to be physical bravery — that is, “the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery” — then honor is moral courage. It is the ability to act in accordance with what is right.

    And what is right?

    Within the context of the nation, what is right is defined primarily in the constitution and the body of law, and secondarily in culture. Where law and culture conflict, law reigns supreme.

    By extension, military honor is acting in accordance with what is right — militarily speaking.

    And within the context of the military, what is right is defined in the military code of honor.

    Primarily, the Philippine military code is embodied in the Honor System, of which the central rule is: “We, the cadets, do not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate among us those who do so.”

    (Note that this rule is from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.)

    In keeping with the last sentence of JoeAm’s discourse on honor, soldiers and policemen know beforehand that they may be required to lay down their lives “to serve and protect” the community.

    To emphasize the importance of honor and that it is a core value that must be taught first, let me quote the first paragraph on the PMA’s home page:

    “The development of character is one of the crucial aspects in the training of a cadet. It is a fundamental objective which the Philippine Military Academy strives to achieve through the Honor Code and the Honor System. This system is a unique system which is administered by the cadets themselves.”

    Let there be no doubt what honor is, what it requires, and how fundamental it is.

    In case you missed it, let me repeat: Honor is an “anchor to the well-being of a nation.” I would add, honor is an anchor to the well-being of a man.

    He who mocks honor is — indubitably — without honor.

    • “— then honor is moral courage. It is the ability to act in accordance with what is right.”

      When there’s an absence of moral courage, what do you propose people do, edgar?

      • And who gets to define what is right?

        Do people stop in their tracks, to wait for people to define this, or to they continue, and push on through? hmmmmmmmmmm… 😉

      • edgar lores says:


        • How do you teach it, and most importantly how is it learnt?

          • edgar lores says:

            How do you teach it? Rhetorics, Ductus Exemplo, and corrective training among other methods. But primarily by talking and walking the talk (the lips and the feet as Josephivo would say).

            How do you learn it? Generally by listening/reading, observing, sifting, accepting, integrating and practicing.


            Really, LCpl_X, must we provide all the answers? Think, man, think. Figure out things for yourself.

            Here is a clue. Remember this truth diagram?

            This was embedded here:

            Vis-a-vis the diagram, you missed this point in

            “3. I think the main reason for the confusion and difficulty in making judgments is context. If the context is not defined, then there will be no agreement; discussion will be aimless and meaningless. But if a context is defined and agreed upon, then all things are possible. Truth is possible. Absolutes are possible. I would go as far to say as: truth and absolutes are contextual.”

            Your confusion arises from the notion that because morality is not objective truth, it is relative (true) and, therefore, not valid (untrue). (Mind you, on this issue of whether morality is innate, the jury is still out in the scientific community. The morality gene has not been discovered.)

            But intersubjective truth is valid. And, yes, intersubjective truth operates within the limits of a culture. Nevertheless, there are moral truths that transcend cultures.

            Important: almost all fields of human endeavor, including science and math, are largely based on intersubjective acceptance. Law, schools of philosophy, and organized religion are intersubjective. (To the faithful, their particular religion is objective.) In science, the acceptability of a hypothesis is based on its descriptive power (or coherency) and predictive power.

            Is the Big Bang absolute objective truth? It may be, it may not be. However, it is the best explanation of cosmological phenomena within the context of our current understanding of the universe.

            Amorality, in denying right and wrong, inevitably leads to nihilism. And nihilism to confusion and chaos. Nihilism is without honor… because it recognizes no virtue.

            You say training for leadership must come ahead of the core value of honor. But what is the value, the end of training for leadership?

            Again, I ask the question: if you believe in nihilism, why engage in discussion?

            If you come here to find a way out of your confusion and seek the light, then listen and learn.

            • “I ask the question: if you believe in nihilism, why engage in discussion?”

              I didn’t say I was nihilist , I’d categorize myself with Spinoza/Einstein in the bottom right (along with Thomas Paine, i’d add) ; though i’d also relate with Machiavelli, but personally I don’t read him as Nihilist , I lump him with Spinoza and Paine.

              “But what is the value, the end of training for leadership?”

              First and foremost it’s all about competency ,

              ie. the person who can wax philosophic to the wee hours of the night, doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be able to get the work done. You can write treatises til your nose bleeds but if you can’t move people and get things to happen here and now, then that’s not competency—- though I am fully aware that ideas can go into hibernation and have an impact in a different time and place, but for the purpose of leadership training, the priority should be competence.

              “How do you learn it? Generally by listening/reading, observing, sifting, accepting, integrating and practicing.”“primarily by talking and walking the talk”

              Now we get to the good part, how are these high falutin’ stuff practiced on the ground in the 3rd world, like the Philippines? Examples time, edgar 😉

              Is this walking the talk, talking the walk? or just getting walked.

              Or how about this, just walking?

              What I’m asking is what examples have you in the Philippines, edgar?

              Are there schools, churches, the PMA, individual households, actually transmitting the stuff you’re talking about? Who’s walking and who’s talking in the Philippines? Remember, we talked about this in josephivo’s Filipino philosophers articles, we here attempted to make a list, and sadly, no one came to mind.

              I get your graph and all that stuff, but who’s in the Philippines to translate all that? OR is this just another case of wishful thinking, which I’m also a fan of, but the point here is translating this into action. So give examples, edgar.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Competency in what and for what purpose?

                As to examples, I’m sorry. I have done the base work of rejecting amorality. You figure out the rest.

              • Competency for work, ie.

                if military then the ability to set up an ambush; set up supply lines, resupply via all transports; planning; after action reports; preventive maintenance; physical fitness; combat medicine, etc. etc.

                if law enforcement then the law; evidence; use of force; communications; crowd control; investigations; writing reports; crime prevention; infiltration; interdiction; combat medicine, verbal judo, etc. etc.

                fundamentals of the job, if you notice with or without HONOR those i’ve listed above can still proceed, without competence though nothing gets done—- kinda like talking for talking’s sake. 😉 or Rhetoric as Ireneo described.

                Things still has to get done, edgar, if you can stick your HONOR curriculum within the above list , sure— but it’ll be hit and miss if it takes root or not, no way really to measure it; competence though you can measure.

              • edgar lores says:

                If you take just one activity, say “after action reports” in the military or “use of force” in law enforcement, there is honor involved.

                I do not know the details, but in either activity there are guidelines. Within each scenario, following the guidelines and keeping within the guidelines is an act of honor.

                If you write an after action report but deliberately insert a lie in it… then you have lost honor. Similarly, in the use of force, if you apply inappropriate or overwhelming force… then you also besmirch your honor.

                The EJKs in the country testify to my contention in both scenarios.

                So you see even in these little details, honor is involved.

                (Irineo used the term “rhetoric” in its worst sense and not in its best sense. He should have used “sermonizing” or “empty talk” and I would have agreed. I have logically addressed this point and there has been no rebuttal. )

                If you look at your Leadership Traits, honor is there in a single term or in a combination of terms.

                o The single term “Integrity” is a synonym for honor.
                o The combined concepts of “justice,” “unselfishness,” even “dependability,” and certainly “courage” equate to my definition of honor as “moral courage.”

                Honor is measurable not in units but against a standard. It can be quite obvious whether a person or action possesses the quality. For instance, I can state that the President does not possess this trait in large measure because he does not observe the Constitution that he has sworn to uphold.

              • Competence can indeed lead to professional pride which leads to honor, eventually…

                but high competence without honor is dangerous in the extreme, can turn rogue…

                Of course I meant rhetoric in its most negative, Marcosian sense.. his rhetoric was beautiful, so was that of the great Senators before Martial Law… but what they hopefully really meant, he didn’t mean, it was just for show, a lot of hot air for nothing..

                But I still doubt whether there ever were many true believers in anything in the Philippines, the split-level way of doing things is the norm, not walk the talk – Dick Gordon’s motto BTW..

                Add to that among all with the patron-client mentality just doing what the patron requires… if the patron state happens to be Spanish, speak their language, if it is the USA pretend to be a democracy, if it is China go by their harsh mode of herding the people. There is even a picture of President Laurel (Japanese puppet regime) dressed in a suit similar to the Japs of those days… New masters, you just imitate them, OFWs and migrants excel in that also..

              • edgar lores says:

                Irineo, thanks for clearing that up.

              • You’re are conflating honor and integrity; and then integrity and lying, edgar.

                If every after action and use of force report written were honorable, you’d constantly be replenishing your cops and soldiers , because you’d always be firing them or court martial’ing them.

                99% of every after action and use of force is a lie, simply because the human mind cannot remember or process everything that happens inside chaos— where the rubber meets the road. If you read it within a microscope, you’d miss the forest for the trees.

                Inside this unforgiving minute you do what you gotta do— fight , flee, freeze, kill or be killed, and all that good stuff. These lies can easily be dealt with without invoking HONOR.

                Then certain stuff happens within that time of chaos, or even without chaos, either accidental, intentional, whatever; that’s when integrity is tested (lying is just lying, like arguing white lies) integrity is when you’re gambling , when you weigh probability like, if I ding this guy right now for shooting a civilian accidentally, I’m sure 5 of my guys won’t get back to their families ; if I ding this guy for getting drunk (other small infractions) , I’m sure 3 of my guys will live, since he’s a liability, etc. etc.

                context plays a bigger role at this point and this is the point where we can agree , disagree, etc. means justify the ends, ends justify the means, all that Machiavellian stuff. Folks who never made these types of decisions tend to sneer at folks who’ve been in the dirt.

                Like I’ve been saying HONOR is too slippery a term to somehow flag it around like it’s an absolute.

                But whatever your stance on HONOR, like I said again, these things can be written with or without HONOR ,

                My point about after actions and use of force is that these— if written well— helps your buddies, helps your predecessors , and will add to institutional memory. Now without these reports, lessons learned and institutional memories can still be transferred, thru stories, but usually the act of story telling lessens the lessons learned.

                Most people lie on the small things because they don’t understand ROEs/ Use of Force policies — simple fix.

                You want to minimize lying in these reports, you don’t invoke HONOR , you clarify and teach your ROEs and Use of Force policies. For the bigger lies involving integrity, you’ll have to have a bigger than life field officer who can differentiate, who will telegraph to the troops, including his younger officers , that he only cares about the big stuff…. ie., rape, murder, stealing, etc. etc. (Luckily we don’t have to have a personality based leader, JAG officers both prosecute and defend)

                The stealing part in the West is kinda understood, comparatively, we get paid pretty well. in the 3rd world, it’s different… ergo, you have Robin Hood type hustles on the side, Integrity is knowing the difference between highway robbery, abuse and Robin Hood type hustles ala your NPA say in Bohol or Negros, giving receipts for their tax collection.

                If you continue to see HONOR in black and white absolutes, you’ll miss all the grey parts, which (IN THE REAL WORLD) make up the bulk of all this.

                So these after actions and use of force reports need not but pure and clean like Baby Jesus’ butt , but they should be detailed enough to be able to be used as training scenarios realistically. For the purposes of 3rd world militaries, you should just value these reports for their training potential and contribution to institutional memory , yeah they might be used in kangaroo courts to be paraded as proof of this and that, but most don’t see the time of day, focus on their utility, but write these reports knowing your potential audience.

                edgar, if you were some MTRCB type morality police in the military , jeering these men in the arena with your HONOR all the time, things will never get done , and you’d have a police department very similar to what was depicted in “Demolition Man” with Wesley Snipes.

                How you perceive HONOR is totally different from how I understand this word, edgar. And a lot of it was to do with experience, like Baby Jesus’ clean butt. No HONOR is not measurable, a lot of men (and women) I know to be HONORABLE you’d sneer at for making difficult decisions, based on your puritanical understanding of this word, edgar.

                But you are right though about extraneous factors to elicit “HONOR” like the GPS system (though I’ve had GPS go down on me or totally read bad coordinates); cameras too would help. But a good effective (on the ground) leader that’ll train and teach the ROEs/Use of Force ; be able to exercise Integrity by actually weighing bigger factors at play (firm and fair type guy, who takes the grey into consideration; not some moralist 😉 ) .

                You can replicate this type of leader , but this time probably not in the PMA or PNPA, maybe another venue where you can start from scratch?

                Demolition Man:

              • edgar lores says:


                o Integrity (noun) “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.”
                o Honor (noun) “the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right.”

                All those fine words in the Leadership Traits. So proudly displayed. And yet so comprehensively rejected.

                Congratulations, LCpl_X, you will make an excellent member of a Tokhang Operation squad.

                o You can shoot the addict because he appears to have something in his hand.

                o Oh, it’s a lighter? Then you can plant a gun beside his body. Don’t forget to plant a couple of shabu packets.

                o Yes, you can write down the gun’s serial number in the after action report. It doesn’t matter that you have used the same number in hundreds of reports.

                o If the addict’s child or wife is in the way, you can shoot them too. After all, they aren’t human.

                o Responsibility? Don’t worry, the President said he will protect us. He has this quality. I dunno, I think it’s called leadership.

              • “but high competence without honor is dangerous in the extreme, can turn rogue…”


                The competency I’m speaking of is just the fundamentals. edgar focused on after actions and use of force reports, but I’d saying the most important is a

                preventive maintenance culture. Because this just doesn’t apply to weapons and equipment, a preventive maintenance culture will get folks to train, physical fitness as preventive maintenance, go back to school or simply learn online, etc. etc.

                Take care of the basics, and by the time certain folks achieve high competence to be able to invite the Miss Universe pageant 😉 , ideally you’d have other high competence folks tackling and blocking, making that endeavor much harder.

                But it’s interesting, since you’re essentially describing Warlordism, simply by turning the competence level.

                I just saw “Hero” so I automatically pictured this guy, the one reading the Calligraphy:

              • “New masters, you just imitate them, OFWs and migrants excel in that also..”

                Is the understanding of HONOR as static , simply an imitation of this ‘understanding’?

              • re imitation game,

                Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we here in the West understand and have complete monopoly on this word HONOR , hell we’re jailing folks who simply did their jobs; while freeing folks like Pvt. Bradley “Chelsea” Manning.

                So if we here in the West are still trying to figure out HONOR , how does all this imitation in the 3rd world look like? I’d imagine an orgy of “you’re disHONORABLE!!!” , “no, you are!” , “no, sir, I’m very HONORABLE!!!” , “…then, the lady has disHONORED herself!” , “I’m just here for the INTEGRITY, folks!”. “that’s HONOR too!!!”, “now you’re mocking, disHONORABLE!!!”

              • You’re still thinking in terms of black & white, when I’ve given you a sampling of how the grey areas matter, edgar—– you can jump from one side to the other of this spectrum, but if you don’t account for the middle you’ll never really capture the essence of this word you so expertly assert, edgar.

                I had to Google what Tokhang was all about, but it’s basically like Eliot Nest and the LAPD’s Gangster Squad way back when. Yeah, sure, is there room for abuse? Whether it’s an Eliot Nest type hunt, or Israel’s counter-terrorism operations, it will always be messy (these things aren’t inside Academia, edgar, in the real world things get messy),

                Like I’ve been saying since DU30 was elected, keep an eye on the big fish fried,

                if no big fish are getting fried, then you don’t have an Eliot Nest, Gangster Squad situation, don’t get to mired in blood and deaths, keep an eye on results. Judge on the basis of results, so far there’s no big fish getting fried, so I’m in agreement with you, edgar, that DU30 ‘s drug war is all smoke & mirrors, though I’m not agreeing on the basis of HONOR and all that high falutin’ stuff, but on results. 😉

                Start listing the big fish, prosecute DU30’s drug war on the basis of results. No need for all this honor and morality stuff. 😉

              • edgar lores says:

                Yada yada yada…

              • And yet another HONORABLE retort, LOL!!! 😉

      • Stiffen their moral principles and teach and preach. For me, I write a blog and people read it and smart people like guy camacho come along and propose a solution and maybe a legislator will pick it up and something will happen to build a stronger sense of togetherness and community values. The last thing I would recommend would be to excuse harmful thinking, give up, and tell others to give up.

        • How long does this process of teaching and preaching and learning take? Ireneo’s link had PMA class 1940 exhibit these values and by PMA class 1970 eroded, hopefully karl can verify with his dad, but I’m thinking by PMA class 1950 the erosion was already under way (as soon a WWII ended).

          Like I said, Joe, it’s like getting a 6 -pack abs, core values like core strength doesn’t happen over night.

          There’s a learning curve here that’s not being addressed, and the problem of what to do whilst the populace and its institutions are climbing the steep portion of this curve. Things continue correct? (I doubt things just stop to a halt) Can practical, useful stuff , still proceed, occur in spite of HONOR’s absence, that’s the question, Joe.

          If it can, then what’s the fuss? There’s still work to be done no?

          • No one said it happened overnight. You say not to do anything about it. I disagree. You ask the questions. We answer, and you insist that we are wrong for not thinking like you do. Sorry, I refuse to think like you do. Move on to try to convince someone else. Like edgar, I am done trying to converse with you.

            • “You say not to do anything about it.”

              I didn’t say that. My point is to get pass this absence, push through.

              Can it be done? YES it can!

              No great nations were built in Iraq and Afghanistan post -9/11 , just a loud absence of HONOR, but still the US military worked. So it can be done. No guarantees though that it’ll stay and stick and take root, ie. PMA class 1940 , but work does proceed.

              The Kurds are kicking ass, but that’s not because of us (or just partly due to us).

              So this premise that HONOR is a prerequisite isn’t true, though eventually after the foundations are set and good schools stood up, maybe get the academics to cement HONOR in national culture—– but it’s not priority.

  16. guy camacho says:

    Watching the investigation of the killing of the Korean victim inside Camp Crame unfold, now we understand why we need to abolish Imperial Camp Crame and its inept Regional PNP headquarters, and transform the whole organization, FROM its para-military structure and constabulary-chain-of-command mind-set, INTO a civilian police organization with separate jurisdictions, each headed by an independent police director who is APPOINTED BY and ANSWERABLE ONLY TO the Police Service Board (PSB) in each jurisdiction?

    [Please google Canadian / Ontario Provincial Police; County / Regional Police, and the RCMP to appreciate what is a ‘civilian police’.]

    The civilian police organization is the STRUCTURAL SOLUTION which I have been in discussion with former high-ranking officers of the defunct PC, then changed to PC-INP, and now PNP, from the very start of Digong’s drug campaign, in instances wherein the PNP is caught with its pants down, unaware and paralyzed, demonstrating once again for the nth time that it is EMBARRASSINGLY INUTILE!

    Look around all over the whole world! No healthy and practicing democracy is using 18th century para-military forces exclusively for police functions upon its own populace. Only third world authoritarian and dictator-type of government uses para-military police exclusively.

    The Spanish and the Americans colonial administrators were ‘justified’, with their own colonial purposes in using the constabulary model, because theirs were foreign colonial governments whose reason for being was to rule over their subjugated colonial subjects.

    We are already on our own in the 21st century, and have gone passed the painful lessons of being ruled through force by our previous colonial masters. So let us do away with the PNP and its para-military constabulary structure which has a mind-set of impunity, oblivious to accountability, and abusive of power.

    Let us adapt self-governance practices within our police institution, because through direct and interactive ‘check-and-balance’ with the people’s representatives (i.e. the Police Service Board), the police force will be on their toes, proactive with intelligence gathering within the organization, and mindful of their duty to serve country and people.

    Let us ask our legislators to enact the corrective laws to modify the Police Reform Act (RA 8551, February 25, 1998) and the Local Government Code (REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7160, September 12, 1991) in order to ‘civilianize’ the PNP!

    If we really want REAL CHANGE, this is the GAME CHANGER …. a civilian police force, with direct rapport and accountability with the populace through the PSB, is guaranteed to be the anathema to crime lords of any type – drug lords, illegal gambling lords, prostitution and trafficking lords, smuggling lords, illegal logging lords, illegal mining lords, financial scam lords, kidnap for ransom lords, etc.

    Just to illustrate the effectiveness of an independent civilian police: the Toronto Police, upon the decision of its Director, armed with sufficient intelligence information, raided incumbent Toronto Mayor Ford’s residence and office for drugs!

    If we can transform a re-structured police so it can act independently like so, i.e. one which is not beholden to the politicians, wealthy influential people, and other powers-that-be – then we can lick criminality for good – effectively, and economically.

    We only need to modify the police structure, and transfer the appointing powers for Police Directors from the present power brokers to a Police Service Board consisting of duly elected officials in each jurisdiction. No more power brokers from Camp Crame, no more NAPOLCOM, no more DILG bureaucrats.

    [The PSB’s composition will be coming from provincial board members, or city councillors; representatives voted by peers from the town mayors league, councilors league, barangay captains league, IBP, the academe.]

    If and when the Police Directors are given the full mandate from the people’s representatives which compose the Police Service Board in each jurisdiction, then they can and will do their job, as illustrated by the timely and decisive action of the Toronto Police director in raiding the incumbent mayor’s residence and office.

    Plain and simple, without political strings attached, and any sort of encumbrances hitched upon him, the Police Director can proudly say, “The Buck Stops Here.”

    • Superb assessment and recommendation, guy.

      • “If we can transform a re-structured police so it can act independently like so, i.e. one which is not beholden to the politicians, wealthy influential people, and other powers-that-be – then we can lick criminality for good – effectively, and economically.”

        mr. camacho,

        I thought similarly as you did a few months back , but was thoroughly corrected (i was thinking in terms of policing over here, wherein there’s state, county and city/town police department/Sherriff’s),

        over there there’s local politicians and there’s national level politicians , whether you nationalize or localize the police force over there, there’ll always be a beholdening effect, here’s Lilit Trinidad’s and edgar’s take on this which is very apt vis-a-vis your comment above,

    • Spanish Guardia Civil to US-founded Philippine Constabulary (to quell rebellions) to the PC of Marcos… one only has to check out Rafael Crame’s biography to know a little bit more.

      The entire beholdenness is because the Philippines is still the successor of a state made to keep barangays all over 7500 islands under control, including local elites that were selected in order to keep people under control for the national rulers – Spanish, American, Filipino…

      It isn’t just the police then, it is basically important to rebuild the country from the ground up, meaning from the barangay level, empowering people more from there to the municipality, up until the national level. Today it is still much the same set-up as in centuries, including a President whose extreme executive powers are based on those of a Spanish or American governor-general, even the 1987 Constitution removed some of those powers and the Local Government Code granted LGUs more autonomy than in the times when President Quezon could just remove governors, mayors and even public school principals (!) at his discretion…

    • chemrock says:

      Excellent point, Guy.
      The Police Service Board would be one great way to stop politicising the PNP. But I should add the board must in the first place, never be populated by politicians.

  17. popoy del r cartanio says:

    As I have perhaps inadequately observed in Ontario, Canada for some years already, the TO SERVE AND PROTECT structure works in a hierarchy of Regional Police, Provincial Police, City/Municipal Police. This set up could serve as draft model to design and adopt something close-fit too for the Philippines. In almost every instance of accident or disturbance, the team and their vehicles and equipment are ubiquitous: the police, the firemen, and the paramedics. May be a word or more can augment this comment. SWAT presence is a rarity.

  18. popoy del r cartanio says:

    ON the discussion about the MILITARY. This is a digression and may be deleted. This is the story of an urban lad I know who went rural to help farmers and to improve himself. If his bio is made into a movie it will break records as the biggest dud bomb in the box office. Why? It’s because the guy thought after 42 years of public service he’s a happy success when the truth is that he really reached nowhere and retired a nobody.

    I know the guy. As Basic ROTC cadet he barely passed through make ups for two semesters for absences because he did not want to buy a set of fatigue uniforms and was just contented with his Nadeco Khaki. Fatigue and Khaki were required uniforms alternately worn every other week explained his absences.

    But his cadet officers made an impression on this guy about their confidence and ability to lecture even to a battalion size audience. He thought he needed those confidence and skills as an extension worker with farmers. He was unknowingly acting already as a wannabe provinciano. He was able to convince the DMST NCOs on the sincerity of his purpose to allow him despite his attendance record to take the ROTC Advanced Course.

    He weathered the twice extended indoctrination process to become a platoon leader of the Model Coy. He proudly tells of a day already dark, in his last year as cadet officer, after an Evening Parade for an important guest, the Corps S4 was shouting. “Hey you, the Corps Commander says you dismiss your Coy last after returning all the chairs in the grandstand to the buildings where they were borrowed.”

    To which he answered “Sir, my Coy reported one hour ahead. We are tired Sir. We are the Honor Coy, Sir. It is the duty of the MP Coy to return the chairs as usual. We will return rifles after the others. I will dismiss my Coy. SIR.”

    “You know what you’re doing. I will inform the Corps Commander.” After the Corps S4 left, it was instantaneous the voices from the cadet ranks: “Sir, if they punish you, we will protest.” After a while the S4 came back: “It’s Okay, the Corps Commander said, you can dismiss your Coy. The MPs will return the chairs.” And there was subdued cheers from the ranks wearing gray berets (instead of overseas caps) and whose navy blue guidon had the bold letters ELITE .

    The guy was even among the few sent to Fort Del Pilar to spent eight days, billeted with Charlie Co in Melchor Hall to observe the cadets’ life and military norm of conduct at the time of Baron Nap Angeles. He was proud to learn many years later some of his cadets also took the Advance Course. And one or two even went to the PMA.

    The guy had two certificates (Basic and Advanced) from the DMST and one from the AFP-II MA and II PC Zone then under Gen D Ojeda for completing prob 2nd lt trng. He even did five years as civilian teaching staff in a commissioned program for the AFP-CGSC then at Fort Bonifacio. For reasons that’s nothing to do with DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY, the guy never applied for his commission and retired as a happy public servant nobody; even not knowing his rank in the pile este file of the country’s foot soldiers. In this TSOH forum of intellectualizing lofty ideas and ideals and issues of the day for expected action, comes once in a while a corny yarn told from a never experienced foxhole.

  19. chemrock says:

    An excellent and long discourse above on ‘honour’, somewhat monopolised by Lance.

    ‘Honour’ is something we all think we know instinctively, until we try to sit down and put it in words. I did’nt join the above thread because I realised I did’nt know lot of it really.

    I think it is for this reason that organisations codified their moral expectations of their members. So they have their ‘oath’, ‘pledge’, ‘code of conduct’. If they do everything within their powers to live or maintain within those oaths, then they are honourable (within the organisation). Remember when we make a promise it’s always on my Boy Scout’s honour. These codes give us the blacks and the whites.

    In the case of the PMA : “We, the cadets, do not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate among us those who do so.” It makes me wonder. Does it apply to cadets only? Once they are full-fledged policemen, it don’t apply?

    I’m inclined to think there are 3 components in ‘honour’.
    – The subject : the person or group or organisation or country, etc being held accountable
    – The deed or omission which is being measured
    – The object : the party that the deed or omission is related to.
    In other words, ‘honour’ is relational. A suicide bomber is a terrorist to some, and a hero to others.

    The measurement is the tough call. Organisations that codify their moral expectations make it easier for members to know their place and obligations. But we interact everday outside of organisations where this idea of ‘honour’ no longer is in black and white.

    YOU just need to remember ‘honour’ is relational. That’s why there is an ‘U’ in ‘honoUr’.

    • Haha, only in British states is there a ‘u’.

      Nice synopsis.

    • “It makes me wonder. Does it apply to cadets only? Once they are full-fledged policemen, it don’t apply?”

      Hehe, honesty in the Philippines is for boy scouts… Men master crookery. 😀

    • “In other words, ‘honour’ is relational. A suicide bomber is a terrorist to some, and a hero to others.

      The measurement is the tough call.”



      It’s a very tough call. From an academic, theoretical, perspective yes it’s very easy to deem this HONORABLE and that not. Take for instance edgar’s and Joe’s last comments on this subject, if (IF) upon slightest push back of one’s worldview you lose decorum , how do you think this slight pressure gets magnified in the real world? Where you don’t have only Boy Scouts, you have more folks blocking and tackling for keeps?

      “Be polite, be professional…” (because if you lose that, you’ll lose control in other aspects also 😉 , by the way that’s from Gen. Mattis, now Sec. of Defense as of yesterday officially)

      This is the closest “definition” to what HONOR is, that I’ve read IMHO :

      • edgar lores says:

        Just on the phrase “yada yada yada.”

        1. The phrase is a polite way of saying “B.S.” or “merde.”

        2. Here’s proof from Seinfield’s “The Yada Yada” episode:

        “I notice she’s big on the phrase ‘yada yada’.”
        “Is ‘yada yada’ bad?”
        “No, yada yada’s good. She’s very succinct.”
        “She is succinct.”

        3. The Urban Dictionary has this definition: “Generic term for the blather that comes out of politicians’ mouths, particularly after telling a porkie.”

        3.1. Definition of “blather:” “long-winded talk with no real substance.”

        4. The phrase is the adult equivalent of a child’s “Whatevuh.”

        4.1. Definition of “whatever:” “said as a response indicating a reluctance to discuss something, often implying indifference.

        5. Here, it has NOT been uttered in anger but in exasperation in the face of truculence and intransigence. And it has been uttered in a controlled manner — considering the alternatives.

        6. In cyberspace, it is the equivalent of a walkout in the physical world.

        7. We are in the real world. Our thoughts affect our behavior which projects into reality.

        8. Is it not ironic that — for someone who claims that honor is hard to define and is not measurable — the phrase is immediately labeled and qualified as “dishonorable?”

        9. Is it not ironic that — for someone who says, “No need for all this honor and morality stuff” — a moral judgment is being made?

        9.1. If the phrase is now morally offensive, why is part of the original response “LOL?”

  20. Ronald says:

    I think you are just one useless intelligent person. You better become the next president and let’s see how you can make Philippines better. Hey?

  21. Mike says:

    Americans you mean those that kill, torture, and accuse innocent Muslims in Iraq. Not to mention cops shooting people that are not even related to drugs. Civilians getting shot because cops mistook a flashlight for gun. Your a dumbass.

    • Help our readers get to know you, Mike? Are you Filipino? I deduce with lightning speed that you are not American. What is your nationality? Where are you located in this conflicted globe of ours, and what is your interest in the Philippines? Thanks.

  22. I just saw a great movie about the guys who hunted down Bonnie & Clyde in the 1930s,

    ‘Highwaymen’ on Netflix now.

    “Frank Hamer’s career began during the closing years of the Texas frontier, and saw him transition from a horseback Ranger into a motorized gangbuster of the 1930s. In between, he served decades as a lawman, in and out of the Texas Rangers: city marshal of the rowdy east Texas town of Navasota, special officer in Houston, deputy sheriff of Kimble County, U.S. prohibition officer and Texas Ranger captain. Among his countless exploits, he played a prominent role in the so‑called Bandit War of 1915, when Mexican revolutionaries surged across the border and raided in south Texas. In 1917 he got mixed up in the Johnson‑Sims feud, killing one man in the feud’s climactic gunfight in Sweetwater. Hamer’s role in a violent vendetta was certainly the low point in his professional life. In 1921, as a Texas Ranger captain, he and his men crossed the Mexican border and ambushed and killed the gang of Rafael Lopez, who had murdered five lawmen in Utah’s worst law enforcement tragedy. Captain Hamer then led the Rangers who tamed the oil boomtowns of Mexia and Borger, and investigated—and solved— some of the most sensational Texas murders of the 1920s.

    Although a white supremacist of the Jim Crow era, Hamer was sympathetic to black Americans. Beginning in 1908, he saved 15 black men from certain death at the hands of lynch mobs in various towns and cities in east Texas. During the Roaring Twenties, Hamer led an unpopular fight against the Ku Klux Klan in Texas. In 1930, at the courthouse in Sherman in north Texas, Hamer and three of his Rangers held off a mob of 6,000 intent on lynching a black man who had raped a white woman. When the rioters burned down their own courthouse in order to kill the prisoner locked up inside, Frank Hamer became the first and only Texas Ranger to lose a prisoner to a lynch mob. He and his men barely escaped the raging inferno alive. Nonetheless, Hamer’s stubborn refusal to back down against massive odds, and his shooting of two of the Sherman mob leaders, constitute one of the greatest displays of raw courage in the history of American law enforcement.”

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