The Moral Landscape: Part 2 – The Three Sieves of Ethics

From Part 1

By Edgar Lores


In Part 1, I presented my first thesis on the paradigm of “The Three Primary Virtues” or “The Loyalty Triangle.”

I said the Three Primary Virtues are loyalty, honor, and duty. I said these virtues, in conjunction with the Hierarchy of Loyalties, underpin the structure of our lives. And I said the virtuous acts we bestow upon our object constructs in the Hierarchy are the raison d’etre of our existence.

In this second part, I will present my second thesis of a paradigm I call “The Three Sieves of Ethics.”

If Part 1 was about a particular system of Normative Ethics, then Part 2 is about the synthesis of the three main systems.

  • Virtue Ethics
  • Consequentialist Ethics
  • Deontology Ethics

Firstly, I will sketch the methodology of this synthesis for arriving at “correct” ethical decisions.

Secondly, I will apply the methodology to the Drug War.

Thirdly and lastly, I will give a recap.

Let me state at the outset that the methodology is meant for complex ethical issues and not for everyday usage. To do so would be like using the proverbial sledgehammer to crack a nut. Our ethical issues can normally be resolved by using one system, usually with reference to deontology or virtue ethics. Indeed, it is very rare we are faced with new ethical issues on a daily basis.

So, no, this methodology is not a Swiss Army Knife. It is intended to be used mostly by people who are in positions of power and command as they wrestle with thorny moral issues. The President. Legislators. Justices. Captains of industry. Princes of the Church. And the like.

My starting premise is that no single ethical system can offer a comprehensive solution to the complex moral issues facing the modern world. Why so? I will begin by defining the problem.

The Problem

At the end of Part 1, I observed that the Three Primary Virtues are not at all “pure” virtues. They can be seen as vices relative to the position of certain constructs in the Hierarchy. My examples included:

  • The phenomena of amoral familism, amoral clannism, and amoral tribalism that are non-virtuous seen from the construct of country but are virtuous from the lower constructs of family, clan, and tribe respectively.
  • The codes of Omerta of the Mafia and the Jingi of the Yakuza that are non-virtuous seen from the viewpoint of society at large but are virtuous from the lower construct of the criminal organizations.

From these, I deduced that virtues can be vices.

Then again, in previous posts, we have observed that the Utilitarian justification for the Drug War is in contradiction with the Sixth Commandment. Here we see the literally deadly clash between Consequentialism (“the greatest good”) and Deontology (“Thou shalt not kill”).

  • From the first two examples, I now infer that Virtue Ethics does not suffice as a guide to proper ethical behavior.
  • From the second example, I also infer that Consequentialism is not sufficient.

The question arises: Would Deontology suffice as the sole guide to moral behavior?

Naturally, given that I am proposing a synthesis of ethical systems, you would expect my answer to be no. And you would be perfectly right.

The main reason I would advance is that deontological rules are moral absolutes that tend to lead to unintended consequences. Consequences which may be considered to be unethical. For example, the Catholic Church position on contraception does not consider the social consequences of overpopulation and the resulting low quality of life. Similarly, her position on divorce does not consider the mental and physical suffering of battered spouses.

For these reasons, it is clear a new approach is required.

Let us then proceed to examine my proposal by looking at the schematic diagram of “The Three Sieves of Ethics.”

The Three Sieves of Ethics

Figure 1. The Three Sieves of Ethics

In the diagram, the conceptualization of the Three Sieves of Ethics is depicted in three main sections delimited by the broken yellow band at the top:

  • Action. This is the action of the moral agent that is to be examined. Apart from the agent, this section contains two attribute labels — “Format” and “Domain.” These are meant to be read across to characterize the three main ethical systems.
  • Moral Decision Filters. These are the three main ethical systems — the Sieves — laid out in the recommended sequence of application: Virtue Ethics, Consequentialist Ethics, and Deontology Ethics. Within each system, we list examples of each.
  • The Hierarchy of Loyalties. These are the constructs, familiar to you from Part 1, upon which the Action is applied as filtered by the Three Sieves.

Let us proceed to understand the two labels under Action:

  • Format. This refers to the way in which the norms of an ethical system are presented.
  • Domain. This refers to the proper “area of application” of an ethical system.

Format. The norms of an ethical system are, very broadly, specific or non-specific, and stated positively or negatively.

  • Virtue Ethics are specific as to attributes of character but are non-specific as to courses of action. The attributes are generally described in a positive manner. They are more about being than doing.
  • Consequentialist Ethics are non-specific as to actions but are specific in assessing actions on the basis of conditions of utility. The conditions are generally stated in a positive manner. The conditions are like “Do If” statements in computer programming. That is, do a certain action if certain conditions and results are met.
  • Deontology Ethics are specific as to rules and values of actions. The rules are generally stated in a negative manner, as restrictions in the form of “Do Not’s.”

Domain. It is my contention that an ethical system has a primary domain of application to which it is best suited. Again, very broadly, the primary domains are as follows:

  • Virtue Ethics apply to the individual and, therefore, is useful in evaluating personal morality. (In Weberian terms, it is value-rational.)
  • Consequentialism applies to groups and, therefore, is useful in evaluating social and political morality. Please note I am limiting my discussion to Utilitarianism. (In Weberian terms, it is instrumental-rational.)
  • Deontology, in its religious forms — for example, the Ten Commandments — primarily apply to individuals and, therefore, is useful in evaluating personal morality. However, in its secular forms — for example, the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights — the rules are extended to groups and institutions, and as such, is useful in evaluating social and political morality. (In Weberian terms, it is also value-rational.)

In addition to the main reason I gave for the non-universality of Deontology, I would say the system is of limited applicability due to reasons of Format and Domain. Deontological rules are restrictions rather than prescriptions of positive socioeconomic policies and programs, and they are generally few in number. A final reason is that deontological rules are culturally sensitive.

The Moral Decision Filters

The basic thrust of my thesis is that contemplated actions must be filtered through the three main ethical systems, where applicable, to ensure they are moral.

The general procedure is to pass an action through each sieve sequentially. Should an action fail the test of a particular sieve, then there is no need to evaluate it further. If you are sports-minded, you might want to view the sieves as hurdles to overcome.

The filtering begins with Virtue Ethics because moral actions are usually initiated by one person, the moral agent. However, where the filtering begins from the deontological, as in the case of the Church’s doctrines on contraception and divorce, the filtering should proceed in a reverse order.

Virtue Ethics. In this sieve, the agent must first turn inward and examine the motive for his action and determine whether it is in accord with his character and conscience.

Depending on whether he is a Catholic, a knight, or a samurai, the agent might ask himself whether his course of action is in accordance with these virtues:

  • Seven Cardinal Virtues – prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance; faith, hope, charity
  • Code of Chivalry – charity, diligence, faith, hope, justice, liberality, prudence, resolution, sagacity, temperance, truth, valor (by the Duke of Burgundy)
  • Bushido – righteousness, courage, benevolence, respect, integrity, honor, duty and loyalty, self-control (as envisioned by Nitobe Inazo)

However, let us simplify and just consider the Three Primary Virtues. In this case, the agent should pose these questions to himself:

  • Is my action one of loyalty?
  • Is my action honorable?
  • Is my action one of duty?

A no answer to one question is a red light and, accordingly, the agent must desist from his planned action.

A complexity arises when the agent considers these questions in the light of the Hierarchy. In Part 1, we said we belong to several Loyalty Triangles that interpenetrate each other. The hat we put on, the role we play, varies in each. A congressman must not only think like a parent to his children but also as a guardian to his local constituency and as a guardian to the country.

This complexity becomes apparent when we look at the Drug War. As a parent who fears his son might become an addict, the congressman would support the war in honor of and duty to his son. As a guardian to his constituency and to the country, the congressman would also support it for the sake of peace and order. But as a parent who fears his son might become collateral damage, and as a guardian who fears his constituents might suffer the same fate, he would not give his support. Here we see a single person inhabiting different roles can become conflicted. It is imperative, therefore, to use other sieves to resolve ethical issues.

Hence, the three questions the agent initially posed to himself have to be extended to identify which construct in the Hierarchy deserves his uppermost attention. He should ask himself the following “where” questions:

  • Where is my loyalty? (That is, to which construct, foremost but not necessarily the first, does my loyalty belong?)
  • Where is my honor? (In this foremost construct.)
  • Where is my duty? (In this foremost construct.)

As a norm, when there are conflicting priorities, I would suggest the construct with the highest priority would be that farthest from Self, all things being equal.

Consequentialist Ethics. In this second sieve, the agent must turn and look outward and examine the impact of his action upon “others.” Others may be a party of one, a few, or many.

In utilitarianism, “others” refers to a party of many. The Greatest Happiness Principle is quoted as the “greatest good for the greatest number.” The question, then, to pose in this filter is:

  • Will the action result in the greatest good for the greatest number?

On the surface, the question seems simple enough. The attractiveness of the Utilitarian doctrine is this very simplicity, the reduction of moral issues to “measurable” quantification.

However, to my mind, to be effective as an ethical guide, Utilitarianism must satisfy three conditions. For each condition, there is a corresponding pitfall.

  1. The greatest good must be for the greatest number. The pitfall is quantification.
  2. The greatest good must be ethical. The pitfall is in the non-definition of the good.
  3. The effect of the greatest good must be accurate. The pitfall is the unpredictability of the future.

In general, there is no hard and fast rule to establish “the greatest number.” Presumably, it refers to an absolute majority (more than 50% of the population). But exact quantification is hard to come by.

In controversial issues, like same-sex marriage, the State might conduct a plebiscite (as was being done in Australia at the time of writing).

What I find is that misquantification — the overstating or the understating of numbers — usually occurs in highlighting the “bad” in an effort to magnify the greatest good. Thus, in the Drug War, the number of addicts is overstated to impress the enormity of the drug scourge. Conversely, the death toll is understated to impress the smallness of EJKs.

To me, the greater pitfalls of Utilitarianism lie in (a) non-definition of what the good consists of and (b) in predicting its effects will take place as expected.

The good is often expressed in terms of quantifiable benefits. Economic benefits, social benefits, peace and order benefits, health benefits, and so on. Often neglected are qualitative benefits.

The general assumption seems to be that quantitative benefits will translate into qualitative benefits. Not so. At times, the unintended consequences are drawbacks that could negate – partially or entirely — the greatest good.

Consequently, I think the current formulation of the Greatest Happiness Principle is faulty and incomplete. To overcome these last two pitfalls, I propose the principle incorporate two amendments: one of duration and another of equity.

Fortunately, the first amendment of duration was expressed by conservationist Gifford Pinchot in 1909, and it can be readily incorporated into the principle. Speaking of conservation, Pinchot said, “The purpose of conservation: The greatest good to the greatest number of people for the longest time.” [Bolding mine.]

The second amendment of equity has not been incorporated much less conceived. Sorry, that is not correct. It has been conceived but has not been synthesized. I propose that the Pareto Efficiency (or Optimality) used in the social sciences be restated and grafted into the field of ethics. From Wikipedia, the principle is defined as “a state of allocation of resources from which it is impossible to reallocate so as to make any one individual or preference criterion better off without making at least one individual or preference criterion worse off.”

For ethical purposes, I would rephrase the principle as, “a state of allocation of resources from which it is impossible to reallocate so as to make the majority better off without making at least a minority worse off.”

In simpler words, the lot of the greatest number (the majority) should not be accorded the greatest good when the lot of a lesser number (a minority) is impaired. The minority can be a minority of one.

This crucial amendment ensures equity, fairness, and justice. I will call this second amendment the Pareto Minority.

The two suggested amendments will then result in the improved question:

  • Will the action result in the greatest good for the greatest number of people for the longest time and without a minority being worse off than before?

I suggest the international community update the Greatest Happiness Principle with the new formulation.

Deontological Ethics. In this third and final sieve, the questions to be asked will depend on the codes of deontology accepted by the moral agent at two levels. First at the personal level then at the current level of the culture to which he belongs.

At the personal level, Filipinos would use the Ten Commandments. The moral rules, the Fifth to the Tenth Commandments, are compatible with Islam. For those who are not affiliated with any religion, I would suggest my “Seven Commandments of Secular Ethics.”

The question to be asked, then, would be:

  • Is the action a violation of a deontological rule?

For the Ten Commandments, the rules would be against murder, adultery, theft, dishonesty, and coveting.

At the cultural level, the Philippines is a signatory to many international covenants including the following:

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – Signed 1966
  • Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court – Signed 2000

For these, the question to be asked would be the same as above. And the rules would be against the curtailment of human freedom, the abuse of human rights, inhumane treatment, and mass killings.

Case Study: The Drug War as Filtered Through the Three Sieves

The Utilitarian doctrine has been used to justify the Drug War under President Duterte. Let us review his decision using the Three Sieves. Although I said an action fails when it does not pass the test of a particular sieve, we will run Duterte’s decision through each sieve for the sake of completeness and clarity.

First Sieve – Virtue Ethics. Duterte’s reasoning might go like this:

  • Loyalty: “As President, my loyalty is to all the people. While criminals are people, the State recognizes that one of its prime duty is to maintain peace and order. Drug personalities are criminals. Therefore, police action against them is an act of loyalty.” This is a yes.
  • Honor: “I should act in accordance with my conscience. My conscience tells me drug addiction is wrong. Addicts are not human. Therefore, I should eradicate the scourge of drugs.” This is a yes.
  • Duty: “I have sworn to preserve and defend the Constitution. The Constitution contains the Bill of Rights which states that no person shall be deprived of life and liberty without due process of law. Therefore, I should not sanction the outright killing of drug personalities.” This is a no.

First conclusion: Two yeses and one no means a no. The war on drugs is unconstitutional.

Second Sieve – Utilitarianism. The presidential reasoning might go like this:

  • “The greatest good in society is the maintenance of peace and order. Drug personalities are criminals; they are subhuman and disturb the peace. Human rights is shit. Therefore, police action against drug personalities is necessary.”
  • “The greatest number are the law-abiding citizens. Therefore, for their sake, the Drug War is justified.”

Note that without the two suggested amendments, the presidential logic is almost impeccable. And the conclusion would be for the prosecution of a war on drugs. However, let us consider the amendments of duration and equity:

  • Duration. “Peace and order will reign during the duration of my term as President. However, what will happen after? The political will to kill will no longer be there, and the scourge of drug addiction will rise once more. My efforts would have been in vain.”
  • “Additionally, what will be the impact of my non-observance of the rule of law and due process? Will it continue to exacerbate the culture of impunity?”
  • “Excessive violence will traumatize the people, especially the children. Will they maintain a respect for the sanctity of life?”
  • “After the war, will the police continue to prey upon the people or become their defenders once more?”
  • Equity. “Many drug personalities will be killed and buried. Some will be interred beneath the sea to fatten the fish.”
  • “Their surviving kin will suffer. They will mourn and might find it hard to survive if the slain victim was a breadwinner.”

Second conclusion: The war on drugs should not be prosecuted because (a) the effect of peace and order is time-bound; (b) the consequences of non-observance of the rule of law and due process will exacerbate the culture of impunity; (c) the people will be traumatized by the excessive violence and the respect for the sanctity of life will be damaged; (d) the police force may continue to prey upon the people; (e) it violates the Pareto Minority.

Third Sieve – Deontological Ethics. The reasoning might go like this:

  • “I am a Catholic. The Sixth Commandment tells me not to kill except in self-defense and in times of defensive war. A Drug War is not a real defensive war. The drug addicts are not armed soldiers organized to inflict rape, theft, and murder on ordinary citizens.”
  • “The Philippines is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is also a signatory to various international covenants that are against the abuse of human rights, the curtailment of freedoms, inhumane treatment, and mass killings.”

Third conclusion: The war on drugs is against the laws of God, against the UDHR, and other international covenants.

Final conclusion: In none of the Three Sieves is the Drug War justified. It is crystal clear the President and his supporters only considered the Utilitarian doctrine — in its original formulation — and did not consider Virtue Ethics and Deontology.

There’s More. I do not know if anyone noticed the switch in the primary object construct in the first sieve. Under loyalty, the object construct was the “people.” Under duty, the object construct became the “Constitution.” This is as result of the “Where” question: where does the president’s foremost loyalty lie? Is it with the people or with the Constitution?

The president’s Oath of Office states: “I, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as President of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation.”

Note that there are several object constructs: Constitution, laws, every man, and Nation. The last construct, Nation, embraces all the preceding ones. It can be convincingly argued the Constitution, being mentioned first, takes precedence over “every man.” Not that the former contradicts the latter. As noted, the Constitution enshrines the protection of every man in the Bill of Rights. If this were not enough, the phrase for the people construct says to “do justice to every man.” The duty of Duterte could be couched in those terms.


I would caution that the methodology of the Three Sieves will not always result in clear-cut ethical decisions as we have demonstrated. However, I think its Q and A method and its multisystem approach will lend clarity to any given moral issue.

One drawback is that it does not offer alternative solutions. Where several actions are being contemplated to solve a moral issue, each action must be filtered separately.

The takeaway from the Loyalty Triangle, in conjunction with the Hierarchy of Loyalties, is that this is a basic model of how we live our lives. In ethical terms, we must ensure we correctly select and prioritize the object constructs when contemplating an action. We must also confer acts of honor and duty upon our object constructs.

The takeaway from the Three Sieves is that, in cases of moral complexity, we must pass our planned action(s) through the sieves to ensure the most proper moral decision.

Virtue Ethics is being true to oneself. Consequentialism is being true to others. And Deontology is being true to God and Country.

If we can help it, we should be true to all four.

If we cannot help it, we must be true to conscience.

If there is any doubt for Catholics, Pope Francis has affirmed the primacy of conscience. Just be aware the dictates of conscience can be false. Conscience lies in the domain of Virtue Ethics, so we must consider Consequentialism and Deontology in our decisions and, if necessary, override conscience.

And it is in the illumined discussions initiated by the methodology, discussions that we conduct with ourselves and with others, that we might arrive at a common understanding and an uncommon wisdom.



1. The Moral Landscape: Part 1 – The Three Primary Virtues

2. The Seven Commandments of Secular Ethics

234 Responses to “The Moral Landscape: Part 2 – The Three Sieves of Ethics”
  1. Two people with different sieves..

    One I think wears a sieve on her head, like a tinfoil hat. 😀

    • Edgar Lores says:

      The moral issue here cannot be starker:

      o Syjuco stands for the Rule of Law.
      o Pedrosa lies down for Mob Rule.

      From the viewpoint of deontology, Syjuco’s stand is based on the Preamble of the Constitution. Specifically: “…the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law…”

      Pedrosa’s stance is based on the rule of the people’s will. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the will of the people will consent to a revolutionary government. In fact, the term does not appear in the document.

      The fallacy of Pedrosa’s “reasoning” is called “argumentum ad populem.” This is “where a proposition is claimed to be true or good solely because many people believe it to be so.”

      From the viewpoint of consequentialism, Syjuco’s stand is based on the premise that the Rule of Law is the greatest good for the greatest number. Pedrosa inverts consequentialism by saying that the will of the greatest number is the greatest good. It begs the question.

  2. karlgarcia says:

    For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, if that is not a law of physics, I would say that is the pinoy version of Karma.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      The Pinoy version of Karma is very simple. It falls into consequentialism, although not utilitarianism.

      Basically: if you are good, you will earn rewards; if you are bad, you will suffer consequences. All this happens in one lifetime. And it is a fatalistic belief.

      The Buddhist concept of this moral law is far more complex. It involves several lifetimes and not everything that happens to one is a result of karma. It also considers the virtue, the intention of the actor. It also stresses the importance of free will. Not all actions are karmic, deserving an equal or opposite reaction. Some are morally neutral.

  3. This is really dense reading… Gold or Platinum, edgar!!! My head’s still spinning and i’ve only read 1/3 of it, but I’ll focused here for now…

    “For example, the Catholic Church position on contraception does not consider the social consequences of overpopulation and the resulting low quality of life. “

    And let me attempt to use your three sieves (not yet EJKs, I know karl’s still resting , so let’s take a break now and do some light lifting),

    Awhile back I proposed a solution to the problem of the Church, its stance on contraception and over-population in the Philippines, namely the value of male milk, karl’s leche.

    I don’t wanna rehash and bore everyone with the detailed public service announcement that may
    (nay, will) convince women the viability of ingesting said leche, so let’s jump into the 3 sieves (i guess we’re pouring male leche down the 3 sieves 😉 see if it passes muster! ):

    I. Virtue Ethics — Regular secretion of hormone by-products is good for men and women; studies show ejaculation prevents prostate cancer; women who engage in sexual acts are happy and healthy; procreation populates the Earth, but overpopulation destroys the Earth.

    Ergo limit the population, but still have sex, but ejaculate somewhere else, not where sperm can touch base with egg. Men and Women should continue to have sex, it is the reason for being. 😉

    II. Consequentialist Ethics — the Church doesn’t approve of contraception, but it also realizes over-population is also the cause of poverty and thus suffering (Jesus was against suffering), the Church wants to alleviate suffering and wishes Catholics to continue doing the dirrty.

    Man is happy; Woman is happy (a shot of testosterone and other healthy amino acids and protein is good for you!); Church is happy, no contraceptives used; less orphans and street kids around, so Everyone’s happy.

    III. Deontology Ethics — From Genesis 38: 9 : “…so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.” Don’t waste a good thing, was God’s point 😉 .

    Question: Am I using your 3 sieves correctly, edgar?

    • Edgar Lores says:

      Considering that there are weighty moral issues around, I think this is a frivolous and salacious question. As far as I am concerned, it’s a personal issue between couples. Some may need to use this repertoire of arguments, but for many, there is no such need.

      • Yeah, but are the 3 sieves being used correctly? We’ll get to the weighty moral issues, I just wanna know if this is how the 3 sieves should be used.

        Does it pass muster for Virtue Ethics?

        How about for Consequentialist Ethics?

        Then finally, Deontology Ethics?

        The 3 sieves should be handy as well for “menial” moral issues, such as the above , no? Not just for the clouds.

        • Edgar Lores says:

          Let’s leave the issue in the bedroom.

          • @LCX, I agree with Edgar that the example is in poor taste and the provocation seems personal. As such, it is not appropriate for the blog to pursue this line of thinking. Editorial guidance, work on teaching or learning, and not instructing, trolling, or taunting.

            • OK. Got it, Joe… will attempt to use the 3 sieves for EJKs then tomorrow, given more time to digest the article. Just wanted a quick test run of the 3 sieves, see how it’s suppose to go.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Jerking off does not prevent prostate cancer, it is the other way around.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Sorry about that comment,if it is in bad taste, that was not my intention.

        • Edgar Lores says:

          It’s informative… and counters furphies of going blind or deaf. The full story is that masturbation frequency is a prostate risk in 20s but a protection in 50s. I will allow it.

        • On one hand, we have a topic of considerable intellectual elegance and eloquence, and on the other, our rather base humanity shows why it is difficult to actually do the things Edgar is teaching. So I suppose it was an instructional moment. 🙂

      • Thanks, karl!

        No wonder there’s a rise in prostate cancer; at least there’s a cure for it once you hit 50s right? 😉

  4. Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

    Please allow me to post this, I need this for future reference relative to this oh so wonderful article.

    Miguel Syjuco

    So apparently we shall be governing by opinion poll now?
    And if the majority who are polled don’t care about the Constitution, with all its checks and balances, then never mind nalang the Constitution?

    Yes, we’ve never been an effective country when it comes to rule of law; and yes our politics is always based on personality. But when did we give up aspiring to rule of law, and swing totally to the mandate of the cult of personality?

    Carmen Pedrosa

    Let me try to understand what revgov is about. If the people ask for it to strengthen the rule of law and put order in our chaotic and corrupt politics it is not dictatorship. But if a leader, without the people asking for it imposes his will and disregards the sovereignty of the people, then it is dictatorship. If 80% of Filipinos want a strong rule for Duterte that is an overwhelming majority. The 20% who are against it and doing all they can to stop it are the dictators. They are the dictators for imposing their will against the majority and worse when they do it with the help of foreigners who have no idea what is happening in our country.


    This woman is a true bloodied anti-PNOY. Du30 is a dilawan paranoid. Both their extreme prejudice bring out the worst in them. Pedrosa would like to make it appear that she is leaning for the good of the majority of the people and uses the 80% approval rating for the President and who cares that poll surveys changes more rapidly than the climate, who cares if the surveys are credible or not or asking the right questions or not or asking leading questions or not.

    Is there ever a provision in the Constitution majority of the people will be supreme over the rule of law? That’s an invitation to chaos. Even the name Revolutionary Government sucks. revgov. Even the gentle Cory did not wield it and waited for the 1987 Constitution to be ratified.

    Who are they revolting against, the 20%? Madness to the max. She has totally lost her moral compass, have lost all three sieves of Ethics.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      Mary, thanks for documenting Irineo’s input.

      I agree that for an author who wrote about and criticized the excesses of Marcos’ authoritarian government, Pedrosa has lost her moral moorings.

      I think the Filipino phenomenon of idealistic people abandoning their ideals and turning around and becoming corrupt deserves a study. So many cases of saints becoming sinners. If only we knew the mechanism, then perhaps we could reverse the process.

      • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

        Binay is another idealistic individual who abandoned his ideals, who let himself be eaten by the system. He succumbed to the lure of power and money, he abandoned his fellowmen and the nation, even God who commanded not to steal nor covet so he could have both.

        Pedrosa, on the other hand, things went downhill for her when her Charter Change (cha cha) went down south after Cory, in support of the 1987 Constitution, did not support it so soon after its ratification even FVR, her presidential endorsee, stood to benefit from it by extending his term…if my memory serves me right. Looking back, continuity could have benefited the country, but as luck would have it, we got Estrada who allowed the Marcoses to come back and proceeded to plunder the country. I understood her frustration but she should have moved on instead of acting like a spoiled brat denied of her wished for lollipop. (I suspect FVR was hurt, too) She lost it and went to the other side and campaigned hard against PNOY and spread the rumor that he is not mentally sound.

    • Here is the view of Magdalo Partylist as posted by Rep. Alejano today:

      I’m trying to put a few things in perspective regarding the responsibility of the military, and this statement I suspect properly reflects what the military actually thinks about things.

      • edgar lores says:

        Article II, Section 3: “The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State.”

        Article II, Section 1: “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State.

        • What we are seeing is a collection of what I will term “deceivers” who don’t care about the Constitution. So to them, it is just words they can use or abandon depending on their goals. They are an amoral band of brothers, counting judges and priests and legislators among their kind. The AFP is an institution, and therefore not a person, but it is led by persons. If those persons join the amoral band of deceivers, it does not matter a whit what is written in the Constitution. The only issue is whether or not it matters to the people, who are the State.

          • NHerrera says:

            In a previous blog I posted something, part of which is:

            … [There is this contrast:] the Officers of the Armed Forces graduate from the Philippine Military Academy where noble concepts of service to country and honor are drilled over a span of 4 years — a collection of men drilled in an honorable calling; compared to the typical politicians who are drilled by oneself or similarly minded politicians, from day one, only on the concept of power, influence and money.

            If then the Persons who man the institution that is the AFP — which TSH in so many words has assessed as a stabilizing factor so far — turns out to be no better than the other institutions, PH will indeed be in a far deeper hole.

            Because if that happens, the Incumbent may rightly echo the following statement to any of its critics: … and how many armed Divisions does this critic say he has?

            • karlgarcia says:

              I remember you agreeing the concept na “nasa tao iyan”.
              I guess it is in the institutions inspite of the people running it,

              AFP has its own set of scandals, From pabaons,comptrollership scandas,procurement scandals,etc.
              As for the PNP we need not mention them again.
              Yet time and again it is the AFP and the PNP left to defend the constitution.

              • NHerrera says:

                karl, I agree there were/are scandals — like pababaon, procurement, controllership scam — but the AFP has, I believe and I think you will agree, gone through some positive reformation including those instituted by former President Aquino. I hope this reformation momentum of the AFP will carry us through these difficult times. And yes, ultimately nasa tao yan.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Manong NH may I share some of my dad’s musings about military honor.
                He attempted to submit this to the PMA publication Cavalier, it was never published.

                Ist installment:

                HONOR AMONG THIEVES
                Plaridel C. Garcia, Class 59
                Honor among thieves is an adage that is often deprecated as something a hell of a lot less than honor among gentlemen. Actually, as virtue or vice, we shall be lucky to be laced with it.
                Professional thieves are known to have a word of honor to each other. The price of violating that word is exposure from his fellows if not death. Many would leave mementos behind even if framed in gold. Returning the loot is a badge of honor.
                Before modern times, the Caesars often assumed that the savages they conquered or engaged in battle kept their word. A verbal cease-fire or truce was often honored. It lost its currency when the civilized legions violated the honor of the barbarians with impunity.
                Honor among thieves with Cosa Nostra and similar organizations assumed more than a code of silence (omerta) but subjective norms. One mafia family could decree that drugs are not to be a part of its operations because Mama Mia would cry to imagine her bambinos as victims of the vice. Others would bribe politicians but not judges. Irish rebel groups would not corrupt the police because many Irish families have traditionally enlisted.
                If the Philippines is one of the most corrupt nation in the world, perception or reality or both, honor among thieves could be its saving grace. Thus, “moderate your greed” has been trivialized. In the street slang of the young “over” is a translation of “sobra”. Of course “moderate” or “over” is a moving target. Purists would also insist that stealing one peso is the same as stealing one million. But if that is so, then the rich is the same as the poor. Behind every fortune is a crime!
                In the armed services, military and police, honor is crying out to be salvaged. For quite some time we quibbled that dishonorable deeds are only for some 10 percent, sometimes called “scalawags” by scalawags, themselves. External perception however, went as high as 90 percent. Perhaps the truth is somewhere between. Whatever it is, we know we have a problem.
                “Conversion” we re-invented to compensate for archaic accounting and auditing regulations developed to be a celebrated scheme for graft and corruption. Because we did it to “take care of our men” and “accomplish the mission”, it should not have gone too far astray for honorable men. But we instead lynch the comptroller family for it as if we would refuse an assignment to it and as if we did not know that comptrollers were but tools of command, literally and figuratively. Thus, we have “comptroller generals” as scarecrows and scapegoats. But I knew at least one who asked to be relieved as Comptroller of a major service. His classmates accuse him after retirement of unexplained poverty.
                Recently, we have so-called “euro generals”. A top-rated commentator lamented not for PMA graduates not having integrity but for “stupidity”. That was adding insult to injury.
                It is never too late to go back to our roots. The PMA honor system is not a matter of virtue but of duty. To develop integrity as a virtue is a “from the cradle” evolution. It is too much to expect virtuous men after 4 years. Alas, we even dismissed plebes in the beast barracks after a few weeks for so-called “honor violation”. What a waste of potentially honorable men!
                Academy Integrity should be more a matter of duty than of virtue. Thus in the older academies it goes together with duty and country. It is not a question of lowering standards but of setting the right ones.
                After quite some time, I wrongly desisted from wearing my class ring and singing the Alma Mater Song. In a TV program, I confessed that I did not feel deserving laced by disillusionment with cavaliers that I might have wrongly judged to be more undeserving.
                Now I wear my ring again and sing the Hymn with fervor once more, not because I became more honorable but because I realize that the Alma Mater Song is a haunting prayer for men of integrity. I sing to pray if only for honor among thieves.
                When we were plebes we raided the cadet kitchen under cover of darkness and in the pangs of hunger. Our locator card was unmarked. Technically by tradition a non-honor violation but intrinsically a serious violation of “Do you intend to deceive”?
                But we did something honorable as a saving grace. We did not touch the newly-delivered hot pan de sal. We respected the dignity of the Corps of Cadets with apologies to the pigs that were deprived of left- over.
                That was honor among thieves.

                ​​​​HEADS UP: FAILURE OF HONOR?
                ​​​​By Plaridel C. Garcia PMA ‘59
                Heads Up is a favorite buzzword in cable TV programs to mean “be aware” or “be proud”. More than fifty years ago as plebes, our (tor)mentors would bark that plebe tackle ad infinitum. This is the time for all good men to be more than aware of a failure of honor and be proud of what is left of it.
                At that time our romantic seniors would make us sing “Mona Lisa”. That was a better deal than making us answer our own rhetorical questions from Socrates to Greta Garbo. Who said that the military mind has no imagination? I could liken the Honor System of the Cadet Corps to the mystic Mona Lisa: “Many dreams have been brought in your doorsteps. They just lie there and they die there”. Cavaliers, Heads Up! ​
                PMA graduates were developed as officers and gentlemen with character and intelligence at considerable expense of the people. So much has been said about failure of intelligence, much more so of military intelligence – the village oxymoron. Not much is said about failure of character, much less so of military honor. Military rebellion at EDSA 1 and EDSA 2 deodorized somehow the martial record.
                Not until the AFP Comptroller scandal, a year after the 2003 Oakwood military rebellion. The alumni were called names and PMA became Philippine Millionaire Academy. After re-computing that for generals being a millionaire was no big deal, the detractors upgraded PMA to Philippine Multi-Millionaire Academy or PMMA – with apologies to the graduates of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy that bring dollars in that some PMA graduates take out.

                On 1 April 2005, I celebrated my 50 years as a plebe with a nostalgic monograph entitled “Romancing Military Honor”. But that was April Fools’ Day and military honor was the village clown in a Greek tragedy. Of course, it takes a village more than the barracks to create a fault in character. As Randy David said, it is absurd to blame the Academy for it. The counter-logic would not miss the church, then the family. How about the self-righteous media that takes our attention more than even the family and the church?
                In April 2009 I shall be celebrating 50 years as a PMA graduate. Perhaps instead I should be confessing military dishonor. I failed the Honor System of the Corps or the Corps failed me or both. As virtue or duty, there was a failure of honor. In the very least, I should wonder why, being ineligible for another 50 years to be shocked and awed by a tragedy-comedy. Under the deepening shadows of life I meander through a flicker of virtues and faint calls of duty with a little help from corny cadet barracks humor.
                The cardinal virtues I could still recall before I entered the Academy are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. The theological virtues are faith, hope, and charity. Within each group, the virtues are known to have equal importance. But by the pecking order, the first virtue has usually the first bite. Thus prudence is busier among the cardinal virtues as faith is among the theological. Some Christians even believe in “Sola Fides” (Faith Alone) as the piece de resistance of salvation.
                It may be reckless imprudence to tell sunshine patriots of a failure of honor just as it may be vulnerable to fire and brimstone to lecture some bible experts on the economy of salvation. But the failure was mine- short of being a patriot but hopefully not a scoundrel.
                The grand virtues in the military academy of my affection that I failed are “Courage, Loyalty, and Integrity”. It was too obvious to copy West Point’s “Duty, Honor, Country”. Country is the end, honor is the way, and duty is the means. Implicitly, loyalty is for country; integrity is for honor; and courage is for duty. But just as the woolen uniform, even Baguio is not as cool as New York.
                Nonetheless in the noble profession of arms, courage is a logical primus inter pares. But PMA graduates use to take pride in the three virtues or nothing. Then in serious jest, integrity became poverty. Alas, it takes courage to be poor!
                Integrity is rigid adherence to a code of behavior; probity; the state of being unimpaired; honesty. It is said to be a failed virtue in our country. But it is also dangerous to be otherwise. Subjective civilian control over the military would be ill at ease with officers of integrity. Perception or reality, there is a national failure of integrity. The Ombudswoman just recently confirmed it. A failure of military honor is a convenient truth.
                Honor has four shades of gray, namely, esteem, reputation, glory, and integrity. As such, it is synonymous to integrity but not quite. It also means high rank; the dignity accorded to position; great privilege; and a code of principally male dignity or a woman’s reputation for chastity. Female cadets, caveat vendor!
                The PMA, or to be more precise, the Corps of Cadets has an Honor System: “A cadet does not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.”In a sense, it is an Integrity System because it promotes honesty. The problem is that it is a standard set at Day One. The System then becomes a Code with a rigid rite of passage, to “separate the men from the boys”. Honor as a system and integrity as a virtue together spawn seeds of contradiction.
                Virtues are good habits. Vices are bad habits. It takes time to develop habits, specially the good ones. But in barracks chauvinism, we prefer a good girl with bad habits. But what we got then were good cadets with bad habits. Alas, we dismissed them for “honor violation” in the beast barracks.
                In contrast, cadets from the nobility of yore that has its own sense of honor from the cradle were subjected to a rigid code of military honor ASAP. Their virtue of integrity was already developed, ready to be subjected to the crucible of military pride and glory.
                To be sure, in the early years of the PMA, the entrance pre-qualification may not have the present difficulty of generating the right cadets as to character and intelligence. Yet I had a classmate who maintained that the gentleman that the Academy produced were already one at entrance. His perception was that the Academy improved upon those who were already and made worse those who were not.
                But even he and other like-minded graduates believe that the PMA has the potential to do better and even at its worse do better in the development of character than its civilian counterparts. But why a perception of so much “honor violation” by graduates? Was the efficacy of the PMA Honor System overestimated by the people whose taxes support the high cost of education and training of the cadets? Or was it the PMA alumni that conceitedly oversell the system and when it unravels blame the corrupt civilian society?
                In the ‘50s and early ‘60s, the honor challenge is “behavior before the enemy”. There was no contradiction, short of the laws of war and humanity, because the enemy is fair game to “lying, cheating, and stealing”. It was then but a joke that a PC detachment had a supply of rice from a friendly Chinese sari-sari store. Gradually, it graduated into more than the personal consumption of blue seal cigarettes and illegal lumber for a house we could not afford to build. In a decade, political corruption of the military was loud and clear. By the martial ‘70s the corruption was mutual. Why did it take that fast?
                To be sure, “fastity” (making “palusot”) was a barracks vice. It was a virtue (vice) to cut corners in compliance to orders of upperclassmen under the fourth class system. Purposely, it was to develop initiative and imagination. Some contradiction to the conventional wisdom of a military mind! And excess of creativeness for survival, laid the groundwork for moral compromise sooner or later.
                To be fair, it is more difficult now for the best characters developed at PMA to cope with the corruption in the AFP in private and the government in general. What more for the weakly-formed that squeaked through the process if not truly made worse by the system, as mentioned earlier? They would be raped by the corrupt environment, and like the helpless proverbial victim, they would “relax and enjoy”.
                To be sure, the honor system itself included exotic practices making it easy for the graduates to be highly vulnerable to the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. Take “All Right Sir?” One night the OD (Cadet Officer of the day) made a round of the cadet rooms and did the challenge of “All Right Sir”. The affirmative response meant that the occupants were accounted for and the locator cards marked accordingly. The OD does not have to double-check.
                Lo and behold! One cadet occupant he met outside the room, disheveled from foraging the cadet kitchen. Alas, his locator card was not “unmarked”. He was supposed to be inside the room. Cadet A was promptly dismissed for honor violation.
                But was “unmarking” the card as to intended location any less dishonorable? How about the room mates who were in the know that he was cheating? How about the upperclassmen who ordered him to “fix your plate” depriving the plebe his dinner? Was that less dishonorable? Yes, but it was only the plebe that was caught. Having been caught he was to suffer the summary sanction. To be sure he was but groping with the rudiments of the honor system. But the “purity” of the system must be maintained. The rest of dishonor could be swept under the rug at the proverbial doorsteps of Mona Lisa.
                Lest I be lynched by cavaliers, honorable or presuming to be, I am not relegating the PMA Honor System into the dustbins of history. Yes Mona Lisa, the Drill was warm and real and not but “cold and lonely work of art”. I might have been fast enough to be caught by the system, but more often than not I did not have to be saved by “fastity”. But vital that it was, it was not the be-all of character development. It was over-sold that when it unraveled, it was almost blamed for climate change.
                Once asked in a TV program about the “All Right” challenge by Senator Lacson to Secretary Angie Reyes in a Senate Question Hour, I speculated that the Senator must be joking. Ping Lacson immediately reacted that he was serious indeed. With that manifestation of faith in the System after more than 30 years, I could not offer a rejoinder. To be sure, 10 years earlier we informally challenged each other but not in official matters. In fact, I was challenged once from a date if I made a score. I lied.
                Before the last presidential elections, I had the privilege to ask candidate Lacson about the KB and BD cases. I did not challenge him “All Right?” But I believe his answers enough to vote and campaign for him. I hope that I will not be disappointed that I took issue against McCoy’s tirade against PMA Class 1971, in spite of the other Garcia. But true or false, was the class of Senators Gringo and Ping an Exhibit of a failure of honor or merely its contradictions?
                One such contradiction was about Senator Pong Biazon, when he was a plebe. His toe was butt-stoke by a classmate of mine. Terribly hurt and could hardly walk, he had to report to the hospital for sick call. But then he would be asked who did it to him. There is a code, wrongly called an honor code, not to “squeal” on the victimizers.
                Another classmate, Plaridel Abaya, who would also be a Congressman someday, came to the rescue. Aside from the private medication, he directed the victim to use and overshoe and push him at his back every time the cadets were outside the room until the wounds healed. That saved the plebe from over-timing in movements and the scrutiny of other seniors.
                The basic contradiction was that hazing was an action ambiguously protected from the honor system. The victim and the victimizer would not voluntarily report the event unless officially inquired into. Not telling truth is as.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Karl, thanks. Your father has the same perception and conclusion as I have written. Vice and virtue are interchangeable. Those first two sentences spell out the irony: honor, whether vice or virtue, is something we should be laced with.

                We differ in some perceptions as a matter of degree. For instance, he says that courage is “a logical primus inter pares” although he qualifies this as being true in the noble profession of arms.

                In my Loyalty Triangle, courage is not a separate virtue. I see courage as the extreme manifestation, a corollary, of the three primary virtues.

                o It takes courage to be loyal when one is presented with an offer one cannot refuse to betray someone.
                o It takes courage to do the honorable thing and maintain our integrity in the face of temptation.
                o And it takes courage to do one’s duty when we have to sacrifice something we value… like our job or our life in defense of the country.

                All in all, your father has an extreme awareness and sensitivity to virtues and vices.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks Edgar

              • karlgarcia says:

                Last installment:

                ​​​​Plaridel C. Garcia ‘59
                Military honor is the precious coin of the noble profession of arms. It has two sides that are neither head nor tail. One side is a cluster of synonyms, namely high respect, esteem, reputation, prestige and honor. With that face value, the military is honored and renders “military honors” – the ceremony to honor superiors, peers, ordinary members, and guests. The other side has the cluster of honesty, veracity, integrity, probity, and honor. Honor on this side is the adherence to a strict ethical and moral code. This code has the moral values with nuances better appreciated. Honesty is truthfulness or not to lie, cheat, or steal. Veracity is truthfulness in expression. Integrity is moral soundness. Probity is proven integrity.
                The golden coin of military honor, I would not subject to empirical analysis. At most I could be normative as an advocacy. But I would rather be romantic and assert the validity of my subjective experience through anecdotal evidence that reflect my imagination and sentiments. I would toss the coin as surrealists do in their dreams. And black humor and the absurd may interpret them.
                Four years ago I published a monograph entitled “Romancing military honor” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my plebe hood at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). That was 1 April 1955, April Fool Day, when I entered the Academy through the Beast Barracks.
                The morning after the traumatic reception, there was nothing golden at the foot of the rainbow I was chasing. On my first graveyard shift as a dumb guard there was no man standing but the Baguio pines. Who said a nascent military mind had no imagination? I wondered whether they were the pines in Philippines, the name of my country that I was being hazed to kill or die for with honor. Alas, the green leaves of that only thing of beauty in what was then the Polo Field are called pin-needles. It has not ceased to prick my conscience ever since. That was the lingering nature of the beast to a romantic fool.
                That was how I remembered the iridescence of my youth fifty years later in a sick bed when a Lady came to visit. That time I doubted whether I could march in 2009 for the last time in review by the Corp of Cadets with PMA Class 1959 to celebrate the golden anniversary of our graduation. Terrorized by death or my doctors, I regretted that my visitor was not the Immaculate Conception in whose feast day I was born. She was not even my Lady Honor as a cadet and gentleman. She was a lady in denial. Perhaps she was the other woman – the lady of my “honor among thieves”.
                This golden year I felt compelled to romance the missing Lady Honor once more, under the deepening shadows of life and debt. There is so much to confess albeit to acknowledge faith and belief in military honor or what is left of it. I now liken her to Mona Lisa, my theme song in the cadet barracks: “Many dreams have been brought to your doorsteps. They just lie there and they die there.” Fifty four years after I entered the Academy and fifty years after graduation, my hopes and dreams are still there.
                Yet to Lady Honor, I should die if I lie. And to be in one of the many plazas in the Philippines that should now be filled with the products of the PMA Honor Code, Cadet Prayer, and Alma Mater song combined as suggested by Father Bernas in a 2007 PMAAA forum on “Ethical Professionalism”.
                Not quite. Perhaps there are too many unknown heroes or but too many plazas or too few heroes or both. Then I sing: “Are you warm, are you real Mona Lisa, or just a cool and lonely work of art?” Lady Honor must still be a work of art in progress. Yet she too had a mystic smile. I should then sing: “Do you smile to tempt a lover Mona Lisa or is it a way to hide a broken heart?” Lady Honor is a damsel in distress. Her lover is a cavalier. ​​​
                Cavaliers galore
                Cavalier is what PMA graduates call each other. It must have come from Spanish caballero –a gentleman atop a horse he can afford to buy with a squire. But it was only Colonel Jacobo Zobel of the Alabang boys who can do that. The Baguio boys are only gentlemen by Act of Congress.
                Charles I of England had the first cavaliers against the cavalry of Oliver Cromwell. The cavalry of Cromwell praised the Lord and passed the ammunition. The cavaliers of Charles praised the King and made passes on the ladies of the court. Our cavaliers praised the Commander in Chief and passed the revolving door. I praise our cavaliers while making a Hail Mary pass. To be less facetious, I still praise even our cavaliers who are unfaithful like me because we may yet pass with flying colors in a corrupt nation.
                To be cavalier of course is to be supercilious, blasé, off hand, and carefree. Cavaliers in Marcos time was supercilious because Marcos was super even to those who were silly; blasé in the time of Aquino because she majored in French; off hand in the time of Ramos because he was on hands; carefree in the time of Estrada because he was funny; and in the time of Arroyo – all of the above.
                Many cavaliers if not most do not approve of my other woman – honor among thieves. They go for grand dames. They deposed male Presidents and install Lady Presidents only to fail to depose them. But their other woman is a mistress – Lady Constitution. On their honor, they take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, only to be extra-constitutional. Because the oath we took too often is a word of honor. “It is not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man the oath” wrote the Greek Aeschylus.
                The younger cavaliers tried to fling with Lady Constitution at Oakwood and Peninsula hotels. But the battered lady was already spoken for by an act of withdrawal by older cavaliers in a missionary position at EDSA 2. In that political orgasm red blood was averted at the streets. But white blood scattered over the bosom of Lady Constitution. Hail Lady, full of disgrace!
                That is why this DOM would rather make love to the other woman of the street. After all, the CSAFP declared during the holidays that threats to disgraced Lady Constitution by the cavaliers have been conquered. Military politics might be gone, but military dishonor with a little help from police dishonor is yet to be undone. That is the inconvenient truth.

                ​​​​The other woman
                I entered the Academy on April Fool Day indeed. Ever since 1 April 1955 I was a romantic fool. Even when military honor unraveled later as a village clown to the moral elite of a nation perceived to be one of the most corrupt just as military intelligence is the village oxymoron of its political elite. But Lady Honor never truly left. She but developed into the other woman.
                Even some of the Mafia embraced that surreal other woman. Illegal drugs would be banned by word of honor under the gun because Mama Mia would cry over bambinos under the influence. Some would bribe the politicians but not the judges. Some professional thieves would leave mementos behind even if framed in gold. Some moderation in greed! Some honor among thieves! Our nation is not hopeless after all.
                Alas, what happened here during the unholy days in screaming headlines was a 50 million pesos bribe to elements of DOJ to fix a drug bust, reportedly according to PDEA Chief Dionisio Santiago PMA Class 1969. In his own unit, Major Ferdinand Marcelino PMA Class 1994 reported bribe attempts of 3 times from 3 to 20 million pesos for the dismissal of the case after a similar pattern in Subic, Quezon, and La Union. With marine barracks humor, Ferdie magnanimously said: “Sir, you have 20K here”. With a golf course birdie, Dionix immoderately answered: “Man, I was told I have 200 there”. That was anecdotal evidence for the court of public opinion.
                Levity aside, Santiago and Marcelino is some badly needed magnificent tale of two products of the PMA honor system. Prudence and temperance are the better parts of valor but fortitude and justice are the better parts of honor. It was bad enough for PMA graduates to be laundering or gambling lords. But drug lords are just too much. That was what we called in the cadet barracks as shabby. Alas, a damning disgrace was a retired PMA classmate of Marcelino he reported to have done the honors. All Right, Sir? That entrapment is a violation of civil rights.
                Their tale is the best and worst of the times to romance Lady Justice. Already blinded, the Lady is blindfolded; her left hand already uneasy with a balancing scale haggled from an oriental bazaar yet with the otherwise free right hand grasping selected catch that weighed in; and while schools of big fishes stink over her path to stumble on. But there is enough in this nation of lawyers to defend the blind-sided Lady from those who are ripping her skirt blind. We only have too many generals, courtesy of then CSAFP Santiago, to come to his rescue if ever. But that is a general problem.

                ​​​​An old plebe tale
                My less spectacular anecdote pale in comparison indeed. It was but our ancient foraging the cadet kitchen as plebes 54 years ago under cover of darkness after we fixed our plates unused for the previous 3 meals. But there was a saving grace. The characters left untouched the newly delivered hot pan de sal. That was a surreal word of honor we kept to ourselves. The dignity of the Corp of Cadets we considered with apologies to the pigs that were deprived of the left over. That was honor among thieves.
                Our magnificent team leader was Cadet Pacuno, who would later be Commander Dragon, the uncle in law of Commander Robot of Abu Sayaf. Mayor Pacuno died pension-less and poor after negotiating a multi-million dollar hostage. The consenting watcher of our backs was Cadet Trillanes, a fourthclass cadet at ease, who would later sire Senator Trillanes. Navy Captain Trillanes passed away even poorer. Still alive I guess, I stand accused of unexplained poverty. St. Francis is said to have a mystic marriage to Lady Poverty of the poet Dante. Ours was a shot-gun wedding.
                ​​​​Scandals galore
                It was not too long before the recent PNP Comptroller scandal when the AFP Comptroller scandal both featuring PMA graduates rocked the nation. That was in the wake of the Oakwood Hotel demonstration against corruption in the AFP in general and the government in particular, featuring the then soft spoken spokesman of the Magdalo rebels – Sonny Trillanes PMA Class 1995, son of my classmate of 50 years ago and hundreds of fellow junior officers.
                Early that same year, the government enacted the Government Procurement Reform Act of 2003. I spoke aloud that reform is already a broken record, being a consultant of the sponsor of the bill in the Lower House, Congressman Plaridel Abaya PMA Class 1959, suggesting that “it is transformation, stupid”. By July, the young rebels did not even know the reform, Trillanes previously busy with his thesis on corruption in the Navy. By October, the IRR of the law was published. I was convinced that transformation was not enough. In slight hyperbole, I suggested no less than transfiguration.
                The President NDCP, Commodore Chuck Agustin, a classmate who was also Chairman PMAAA, finally gambled the year after to put research money where my mouth was, so to speak. I was paid to make an assessment of logistics reform in the AFP.
                It was not fair. The conclusion was there before hand: “Conversion is not the problem of the AFP. It is the lack of honor among thieves.” Alas, before the report could be submitted, the AFP Comptroller scandal exploded.
                The PMA was deprecated as the Philippine Millionaires Academy. By fourth class math, it was upgraded to PMMA (Philippine Multi-Millionaire Academy) – with apologies to graduates of Philippine Merchant Marine Academy that bring dollars in that some PMA graduates take out.
                ​​​​Salvaging the honor
                I tried in vain to help stem the propaganda of dishonor. In an emergency meeting of officers of PMA classes, I propose that general officers waive the secrecy of their bank accounts. My fourth class math was hopefully not fuzzy. There are about 1,000 generals alive. There is that continuing claim that the scalawags are only about 10 percent. Imagine 900 generals waiving their accounts!
                That would have put the politicians and businessmen on the spot. But the former Chiefs of Staff during the earlier congressional hearing failed to seize the day. And yet they claimed in national TV that they can explain their balances at the AFPSLAI. Perhaps they were afraid that their relatives would file for a loan or of bank transactions if any with another woman laundered in public.
                This proposal was formalized in a letter to the PMAAA Board. I explained that even those few who may have unexplainable accounts have nothing to fear from the numbers game. Whatever happened to Courage? But the Board politely suggested that the action should be voluntary. My rejoinder should have been a counter suggestion that the Board volunteer to waive their bank accounts.
                Lest I be challenged that I run for election as Board member that I might win, I also recoiled from the fact that my accounts in the military savings and loan banks and my Swiss accounts if you please were negative at the turn of the millennium. That would unravel a tragic fault in my character.
                To be sure, it takes a village more than the cadet barracks to create a fault in character ala Greek tragedy. It is absurd to blame the Academy for it, said Professor Randy David. Pursuing the counter logic put the family and the church in the chopping block. Why not the media that consumes more and more of our quality time? In a blame game, the dirty finger points at civilian authority that, with supremacy over the military “at all tines”, has the responsibility for the armed forces at all times.
                But this apologetics has kinks in the shining armor. PMA graduates were developed with character and intelligence at disproportionate expense to the nation. Professor Roland Simbulan of the UP faculty, a son of a PMA graduate, reportedly claimed that cadets received higher allowance than UP instructors. The campus at Fort Del Pilar is just about the best, supported by donations from the PMA alumni among others behind whose fortunes were not necessarily crimes. But more interestingly, the honor system is exceedingly overestimated by the public because it was touted with vain perspectives by PMA graduates like me.
                To be sure, the noble profession of arms is nothing without pride and glory. We wear a class ring embossed with “Courage Loyalty Integrity” and sing the Alma Mater Song with fervor even more than the national anthem. There was no need for attribution to West Point’s “Duty, Honor, Country” even if courage is to duty, loyalty is to country, and integrity is to honor. Because it is closer to the motto of the Roman Legion: “Fidelitas Integritas Fortitudo” (Fidelity Integrity Fortitude). But it was when honor relativism corrupted the legions that the Roman Empire began to fall.
                Honor relativism was a cop-out when the Comptroller of the national police admittedly replayed somehow the AFP Comptroller scandal of 5 years ago from the moral relativism of “conversion” ostensibly for the “welfare of the men” and “the mission”. This time PMA graduates are calumniated less for lack of honor but more for stupidity. That was adding insult to injury. But the bugle call to redeem the honor is less a call to arms than a mess call.

                ​​​​​Boodle fight
                That call would take more than a “boodle fight”. The boodle was not exactly a stolen food or swag to young men who were always hungry for food if not sex but a smuggled food, not drugs. The alumni civilized the ritual a little bit by laying the loot on the table over banana leaves. Then we go bananas on hands (kamayan), even when we invite civilians to the feast, to include Commanders in Chief Estrada and Arroyo. Alas, boodle came from a Dutch word that means stolen riches. And “budol” is what the marked money for entrapping bribery is called. But there is military honor to confess and more than boodle to fight for. This nation is worth fighting for, remember?
                ​​​​Class 1959 made a stand
                In 2005, our class decided to make a stand against what we believed was a multi-billion peso fraud against the Filipino people. It was about 25 projects in the total amount of about PHP 25B mostly from ODA loans. The primary issue we raised was that they violated the Government Procurement Reform Act because all of them exceeded the authorized budget for the contract by as much as 30 per cent except two of them that happened to be the only Filipino contractors.
                The sponsor of the Procurement Reform Act in the lower House was Congressman Abaya and assisted by two other classmates as consultants. The three were the primary petitioners representing the class. The legal consultant was former Congressman Nachura before he became a Justice of the Supreme Court. The case was filed with the SC with the majority of the class present to include an associate member who made good to be one of the top taxpayers of the land. The lawyer came from the UP Law Center.
                We informed the PMAAA about the case for possible moral assistance. We did not receive any. Neither did we get any from the many vocal groups against graft and corruption after we invested some amount for press coverage of the case upon advice of the lawyer. Indirectly, the World Bank supported us by suspending the first phase of the National Road Maintenance Program because several contracts were colluded to be overpriced by as much as 30 percent.
                After 2 years, the SC decided on Valentine Day 2007, in the height of the ZTE scandal with the North Rail contract as honorable mention. The government used the SC decision against us to justify the said contracts. We wanted to file a motion for reconsideration, because the unfavorable ruling was because the advertisement to bid was published before the enactment of the reform law. We believed that the bidding process is from the invitation, which can always be withdrawn just like any, to the submission of the bids. More importantly, the exception of those already advertised was not in the law but in the IRR, which in this case was IRR A for locally funded projects. But our advocacy would have been politicized not to mention that our lawyer later became too identified with the opposition.
                But we believe that we won a moral victory. It was shown that the procurement reform law covers all procurement regardless of sources of funds and that ZTE and North Rail were not similarly situated because loan agreements were after the enactment of the law. Later, the COA was to sustain the findings of the UP Law Center on the North Rail.
                What we did was more than romancing military honor. Actually one of our motivations was to help salvage the reputation of the military in the wake of the AFP Comptroller scandal when we filed the case in 2005. ​
                That was a Heads Up – now a buzzword. That was what our “(tor)mentors” barked ad infinitum when we were plebes. Heads Up was to be alert. Heads Up was to be proud. Heads Up was to fight. Alas, it was to be Heads Down to me.
                ​​​​​Heads Down
                After a few years of martial law, my class ring finger developed an allergy to gold. After our silver anniversary as officers and gentlemen, I could sing the Alma Mater song no more. The “bright beacon of the land” could not stand “proud and bold” any more. I confessed in live national TV cabled global that I did not feel deserving aggravated by disillusionment with some PMA alumni that I might have wrongly judged to be more undeserving.
                It was only after an involvement in the efforts of PMA to revisit the Honor System that I fully realized that the Academy Hymn is a haunting prayer for men of integrity even more poignant than the Cadet Prayer. I now sing with more fervor not because I became more honorable but to pray even just for my other woman – honor among thieves. And my class ring is still almost brand new.
                It was bizarre but I rediscovered the value of my class ring a year ago. You may grant me the benefit of the doubt that I went to the pawn shop to assess its material worth. The inconvenient truth was I needed cash. Unlike the first time, the shop seemed to be having a problem. After a phone call, the manager asked me how much I needed. But I played coy. I quibbled for a cause that I merely wanted the ring assessed. Lo and behold: “Sir, we will loan you without pawning your ring. Any amount you are comfortable to settle.” That was a golden character loan.
                Was it for the ring or the bearer? It was both albeit the ring weighed in more. The honor system did not fail me. It was I who failed the system. The PMA did not fail the AFP. It was the AFP that failed the PMA. The AFP did not fail the nation. It was the nation that failed the AFP. Military dishonor is what civilian authority in particular and the political elite in general deserve.
                That was a Heads Up but the posture also means to be deeply aware. It is easy to believe our own propaganda that with a BS degree (bilib sa sarile) we are the best, best class, and best organization despite the rest who claim even better. Know thyself, said Sun Tzu among others.
                How much of the cardinal virtues – prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance – did we have before we enter the Academy and the Service? How much of spiritual virtues – faith, hope, and love – touched us? According to a noted psychologist and author on human moral development from the cradle to the grave, integrity is a luxury of the old along with wisdom and liberation. Perhaps that is why some PMA graduates upgraded the I-word to poverty, not necessarily ascetical.
                The Honor System is but a part albeit crucial in the development of an officer of the armed forces. A classmate seriously concluded that the gentlemen the PMA produced were already one before entrance. Those who were, the PMA improved upon. Those who were not, the PMA made worse. Would the AFP/PNP do any better/worse with the entering officers and gentleman?
                The irony was that we leaned too much on the idealism of the young to impact on the organization. We lost that impact at Oakwood in 2003. Has the entry of dismissed young Magdalo rebels any to do on the surging fighting posture against drugs? A sad experiment was when the entire class of 1962 was assigned to Bureau of Customs lock stock and barrel from graduation. They were probably deformed rather than reformed the graft ridden bureau. Yet they produced 2 CSAFP, a TOYM awardee, and many illustrious members.
                Was it despite the unavoidable contradictions untamed? They are, namely, inter-PMA systems; the PMA graduate and AFP; the Officer Corps and the Chain of Command; the Chain of Command and civilian authority; and civilian authority and the political system. My act of contrition cannot unravel such webs of contradiction. It would be easier to promote Alex Lacson’s 12 simple ways to serve our country but what is romance without high intrigue?
                Thus I am keeping up with the times because the new vision of the PMA is now to develop the cadets to be national leaders, and the Board of Visitors reportedly like it. Wow! It was ambitious enough to be peep-talked quite often after a hazing orgy that we will be future generals while they were drilled to be second lieutenants and ensigns in other Academies. We need military leaders before we want national leaders. But we raised the ante while on a losing streak.

                The visioning contradiction appeared earlier like a “writing on the wall” at the Camp Aguinaldo gates after EDSA 2: “Freedom is your right, our responsibility”. In a column at a broadsheet before I was formatted-out, I questioned the responsibility of the AFP for freedom. There are Four Freedoms. The military is not responsible even for freedom from fear. There is no responsibility without authority. Duty is not authority. Of course, Mark Twain had another freedom – the freedom to disregard the first Two. But that would be extra-constitutional!
                By some coincidence, the wall was painted over thereafter. The CSAFP, General Angelo Reyes PMA Class 1966, was also a Harvard graduate. He must have been drilled on the parameters of responsibility classically delimited by James Madison with characteristic clarity in Federalist No. 63: “Responsibility, in order to be reasonable, must be limited to objects within the power of the responsible party, and in order to be effectual, must relate to operations of that power”. He must have assumed that virtue in the “eleventh hour” at EDSA 2.
                In the best seller “Book of Virtues” by educator William Bennett, responsibility precedes courage and other virtues. Courage is the primus inter pares of the PMA tri-motto without which even the most honest man has no military honor and glory.
                It takes courage for a cadet not to lie, steal, or cheat. Perhaps it takes more courage not to tolerate those who do. Alas, sans the necessary responsibility, we dismiss for “honor violation”, quibbled as resignation, plebes in the beast barracks. Verily, the profound virtue of responsibility is a necessary condition precedent to an honor system lest the brave assumption of responsibility for the freedoms of our people be sadly insufficient.
                In this connection, CSAFP Reyes was invited to a Question Hour by the Senate. He was challenged “All Right, Sir?” by Senator Ping Lacson PMA Class 1971. General Reyes demurred, implying that the question was effectual in the Academy and limited in application at that. Questioned differently, I was not sure whether the CSAFP would tell the truth even without invoking executive privilege that was not yet fashionable at that time.
                Queried on the subject of the honor code in a live TV program to comment on the said Lacson challenge to Reyes, I speculated that the Senator must be joking. Cavalier Ping reacted immediately that he was not. I did not pursue the conversation lest I shall be making another confession. When I was a cadet 12 years before Cadet Lacson, I was challenged by a cadet on duty upon check-in from a date if I made a score. I lied.
                I lied because I assumed he was joking and if he was serious he had no business asking me a silly question that deserved a silly answer. It would be a cavalier confrontation of that levity if the Cavaliers Club in the Executive (Ermita, Reyes, Mendoza, Ebdane) would be summoned by its counter-part in the Legislative (Biazon, Lacson, Honasan, Trillanes) with executive privilege waved by Honorary Cavalier Arroyo. It would humble the Marine stand-off because to be cavalier is to be supercilious, blasé, off hand, and care free.
                Levity aside, how did the honor system work on these Cavaliers? Reportedly the Senate Cavaliers do not partake of pork barrel. But Senator Miriam, a favorite Kaydet Girl of Cavaliers, Cavalier Eddie Ramos notwithstanding, said that it was super silly, or more colorful literature to that effect. The Palace Cavaliers of course could parade rolling the barrels whenever the Senate Cavaliers crossed the bridge of truth to nowhere. I guess the piece de resistance of their boodle fight would be “true lies”. And then Cavalier Gringo would propose a group hug.

                To be less facetious, the PMA Honor System that produced our Cavaliers as mentioned earlier was subject to contradictions. Take a reprise on the “All Right, Sir?” Once upon a time a cadet officer inspected the rooms and challenged as usual “All Right Sir?” The responses were affirmative. That meant everybody was accounted for and locator cards marked accordingly. On the way out of one room he encountered Plebe Cadet A. He was returning from Off Limits but his card was marked present. Plebe Cadet A was dismissed for honor violation.
                But if Plebe Cadet A unmarked his card was that not an “intent to deceive”? Yet tradition jurisprudence would have saved him. How about his roommates who knew that he was absent but got away with it? To be sure, no Honor System is perfect. If so then why apply the summary dismissal to a plebe that was still learning the ropes? Is it possible that those not caught were merely wiser or dishonest enough to take undue advantage of the loopholes of the system?
                Because we were trained to make it fast or “fastity” in the cadet slang that was not exactly useless. But its negative aspects thrive abundant in a culture famous for “palusot” (the exception is the rule). In olden societies the honor code is one of “integrity, dignity, and pride” maintained by “force of arms”. Alas, in those societies like Sparta, honor of the males were formed from the womb of the mother. Hazing was the necessary formation from the cradle. The mother virtually hazed his noble son in her womb with war songs and poetry.
                Hazing is not a part of the honor system at West Point and Baguio, but a traditional vestige of the honor codes of yore. Thus not to report or not to squeal if you please a hazing violation is not only consented but guarded by the barbarians at the gate. The inconsistency was that it becomes honor violation when a subject of an official inquiry. But the contradiction is understandable when the system is appreciated more as an elitist honor code and less as a character development system of the virtue of integrity.
                Take the case of Plebe Cadet Rodolfo G Biazon who was hazed by one of my classmates. His toes were busted by a rifle-butt. Under personal medication he could walk conspicuously at extreme risk of discovery but double-time at extreme pain. He opted not to report to the dispensary for sick call. To withhold the truth at the treatment room would be an honor violation but not in the parade grounds. To squeal would violate the other code.
                It came to pass that another classmate, Cadet Plaridel M Abaya arrived at the disaster situation. He produced medical supplies. Putting Dumb Guard Biazon under his orders, the dress shoes were replaced by a looser pair of overshoes. In the movements from the formation area to the mess hall and back, Biazon was to push Abaya at the back ostensibly as a punishment until the damaged toes were healed.
                Whatever happened to the truth? Not at the expense of tradition. Honor? Not at the expense of the code. I wonder how many times did Congressman Abaya Sr. and Senator Biazon, both three-termers at Congress face similar situations albeit asymmetrical. But I could guess where the Cavaliers in the Cabinet were coming from with respect to the much abused “truth”. It was not only the jurisprudence on executive privilege. It was the PMA honor code, stupid!
                Before “thy loyal sons” proclaim my lynching please read again. The “glorious name” is betrayed instead when the honor system is debited for what it cannot do or credited for what it is not meant to be. Before “thy sons ever be, men of integrity, courage, and loyalty” we should know the nuances of our tri-motto. We cannot defend or promote what we may not know enough. At this juncture, let us further review the dismal claims of ethics.
                ​​​The PMA Class 59 example
                The PMA Honor system I knew was a strict code that a cadet does not lie, cheat, or steal and not tolerate those who do as a badge of honor. The medieval code had the advantage of nobility with its own sense of honor as a source of elite formation. As such the code maintained a standard by summary sanctions even at entry more than as an honor development process. Adopted by West Point, its sources of plebes were families that possess moral standards that might even be better than the nobility they left behind. The honor system operated as an honor code as well as a school of virtues.
                The PMA in its beginnings had the advantage of high quality and small quantity of cadets that is ideal for an elitist honor code. Hazing was authorized not only for socialization but for honor formation short of summary separation sanctions. It came to pass that numbers increased as quality gradually decreased. Then hazing as the “force of arms” to maintain the honor code and enforce the fourth class system not only became unnecessarily rampant but increasingly physically brutal.
                The Class of 1959 is the Exhibit A when the pendulum swung to excess to deal with rampant and brutal hazing. From an original 103 and later addition of 9, only 33 graduated. What a waste! Two of them did not even care to return. One classmate, Jesus Alcordo, became an outstanding technocrat and one of the top 100 taxpayer. Another classmate, Romeo Arnaiz, became a top commercial pilot. They are now active associate members of the class that are more conscientious than me. Fortunately the original 19 that graduated were reinforced by outstanding victims of the System from earlier classes and four graduates from the US Service Academies, but the smallest PMA class nevertheless.
                So we did not violate the honor system? All Right, Sir? I can only speak for myself. In 1957 Plebe Cadet D was hazed in our barracks at the old Fort Mckinley. It was a “Turkish Bath” by layers of poncho wrapped on the victim. That was kinder and gentler than physical blows. As a spectator I left the scene of the crime with a few. They left and forgot about it. I remembered but it was too late. He was unconscious when I returned. I did not make a report. They did not do either. When the victim was revived he identified the perpetrators to include all the spectators, except me.
                Intrinsically, hazing was a violation of the rules. Ergo, not reporting the same is an honor violation? But because hazing was a vital aspect of military socialization it was exempted unless “squealed” by the victim or other witnesses. When that happened, the “squealer”, even the victim, could be ostracized. Hazing then got to be tolerated as an exemption until one was caught. That should be tolerable indeed for cases that were not heinous. Considering the frequency and duration the plebe was vulnerable, a strict code could decimate the senior ranks. Survival of the outlawed hazing tradition and the cadets as well diminished the honor system.
                You are duty-bound, they say. Not honor-bound unless challenged “All Right, Sir” or official asked. But no duty violation either. Cited earlier was the case of Senator Biazon, then a plebe, hazed by a member of Class 1959 later to be one of the one of the trusted officers of the Marcos regime and known to be kind and gentle. The victim did not squeal and avoided reporting to hospital where the diagnosis would be official. Another classmate Congressman Abaya, then a yearling, virtually nursed him to recovery. They did not lie according to the Honor System. But they not tell the truth either.
                Another classmate Commodore Agustin, then a plebe, now President of NDCP and formerly Commandant Coast Guard and General of PPA, was made to chew and swallow a pack of cigarettes with plastic. In the very least he was disconcerted until he bilged out the waste matter. Tended by a senior but not officially reported, he did not squeal either. But the cadet organization did something that led to the separation of the perpetrator that did a shabby hazing.
                But the first victim of our class was to be Rear Admiral Bobby Fernandez, perhaps the best FOIC the Navy never had, then a plebe. Unwilling to squeal he hid himself between lockers until discovered between life and death. He was operated for internal hemorrhage but still did not squeal. The perpetrators were discovered by another means, not necessarily the honor system, and dismissed. Cadet Fernandez was admired for his “manhood”. After the 1989 coup, all that was forgotten.
                There were other “acts of manhood” that tended to rationalize exemptions. Going “off limits” with locator card unmarked, as mentioned earlier, was another. Raiding the cadet kitchen was adventurous and rewarding enough to take the risk. Not caught? OK. But what could be more adventurous than negotiating quite a distance off limits to make a score with your girl friend? That is machismo. To be sure, exemptions are normal in any system. Except that our damaged culture tends to make the exemptions the rule.
                Adherence to a strict moral and ethical code had to be compromised because honesty is difficult to have with too many practical exceptions, veracity is quibbled jokingly away, and probity as proven integrity cannot be assumed without further validation. The empirical version of this anecdotal analysis is a reported survey that cadets believe, honestly at that, they lie too often. With that percentage, cheating and stealing would not be far behind.
                Thus when a graduate transmuted from a system punctuated by exceptions, if you please, into a less ideal “weather and terrain” it has a treasury of experiences to rationalize a convenient adaptation. Alas the strengths of the honor system are tap less than the convenient practices that abound in the service. Less scandalous practices are easily rationalized as the real outside world until they become the rule rather than the exception.

                ​​​​Ethic of Officership
                It is said that if is not broke don’t fix it. But the Academy is over fixed. The SND declared that there is very little that can be done to improve its character building systems that focus should be devoted instead to improve the academic program. The Honor System has been revisited even if the result is unknown. The Cadet Prayer is now being prayed more than as plebe knowledge. The mission and vision have been ambitiously uplifted. The Alma Mater Song was even considered to be revised to accommodate service identities.
                There is very little we can do with the political system and civil society except blame them, short of a displacement coup that historically return to what it was before, only worse. But there is such thing as “constructive military intervention” like waiving the secrecy of our bank accounts and active advocacy in government agencies, particularly those under the graduates of PMA.
                But the more lasting approach that the PMA and the AFP need is an ethic of officership. To be sure, the model of professionalism that is often cited albeit misunderstood is that of Huntington – that applies to officers only. The AFP has a Code of Ethics since 1991 – that has never been violated – applies to both enlisted and officers.
                That was the call globally, since the so-called revolution in military arms, followed by the “end of history” of Fukuyama and recently by “war no longer exists” by Sir Rupert Smith. If counter-insurgency was found to be too stressful for comfort with the professional officers of advanced armed forces fighting in another country, what more for Filipino officer fighting against our own people since 1946? Poverty in the countryside and corruption in the capitals would certainly be disconcerting.
                In the US – not really the best model but most available – they are reflecting on the meaning of an officer’s commission. (Richard Swain, Parameters) It was stressed that the commission is a covenant that while the officer serves at the pleasure of the Commander in Chief, his “right of resignation or withdrawal from commissioned status is not unlimited”. That is the meaning of a commission and the necessary covenant of honor between the officer and his President. The resignation can be refused and its acceptance is discretionary.
                Because the commission is awarded because, first, the President had “confidence in the officer’s patriotism, valor, fidelity, and abilities”. Then the officer is instructed in terms parallel to the oath to be taken later to “carefully and diligently discharge the duties of his office”. Then it is followed by a grant of authority empowering the officer to give orders and be obeyed by inferior officers and lesser ranks. Finally it enjoins the officer’s obedience to orders from the President and other officer officers in accordance with law. Thus the commissioned officer is not a “commissioner”.
                The commission and the oath of an American officer has been incorporated in an enabling legislation of the constitutional mandate in Title 10 US Code that list the following virtues: Subordination, Respect for the rights of others, Obedience to law and treaty, Patriotism, Valor, Fidelity, Competence, Diligence and Vigilance, Virtue, and Honor.
                The above is comprehensive for an officer to live with honor. General George Marshall addressed officers at Fort Benning: Never for an instant can you divest yourselves of the fact that your commission imposed a constant obligation to higher standards than ordinarily seem normal or necessary for your personal guidance. A small dereliction becomes conspicuous at times notorious, purely by reason of the fact that the individual concerned is a commissioned officer.
                The Cadet Prayer said it all: Teach us to aspire above the level of common lives.

                The other woman of consequence is Lady Constitution. She directed the military to take an oath to uphold and defend “this Constitution”. An oath is a word of honor. When the CSAFP, a truly officer and gentleman, claimed that the AFP has defeated the threat of politics, he must have missed that want of military honor was behind extra-constitutional affairs. We took the oath too often, as if the oath makes the man. It is the honorable man that makes the oath.
                But no military rebel from EDSA 1 to date has apologized for violating that oath. It was legitimated by victory and damned by defeat. No “I am sorry” for honor violation. Some of the Magdalo leaders were reportedly enlightened instead by Romans 13, the Biblical verse that justified the “divine right of kings” until the Enlightenment made possible the American Declaration of Independence that recognized the right to revolt. Amen!
                It was former President Aquino that apologized in truth or consequence or in jest if you please for EDSA 2 but not for EDSA1 as President Arroyo would not apologized for EDSA 2 as President Ramos would not for EDSA 1 and 2. Not even President Estrada has apologized for Oakwood or Manila Peninsula if not EDSA 3 if he had to. Presidential honor from Marcos to Arroyo would be something to romance.
                The military rebels would not do likewise for violating their oath to defend the Constitution indeed. They believed the political elite that pontificated that “the protection of the people” was a constitutional provision to stage a coup. That sound bite of withdrawal of support for the President was still buzzing at the failed Peninsula uprising in 2007 in the presence of a former Vice President and former President of UP.
                Therefore, the threat of politics to the AFP was external. The internal threat is military dishonor but military politics was the “convenient truth”. Alas, both are not the shame of the rebels alone that happened to have loved and lost. It was the Top Command that successfully withdrew support from a President at EDSA 2. Red blood was averted at the streets. But white blood was scattered over the bosom of Lady Constitution. Hail Lady, full of disgrace!
                However, assuming that the threat of military politics under a disgraced Lady Constitution has been conquered, I should now be confessing military honor. To confess is not any less romantic not only because I played a part in dishonor but more so to acknowledge faith and belief in military honor or what is left of it. Modesty aside, I did something like that 5 years ago.
                That was in the wake of the turbulent scandal of the AFP Comptroller – the scarecrow and scapegoat of AFP corruption – a year after the young officers romanced AFP corruption in particular and the government in general in the Magdalo uprising at Oakwood a year after EDSA 2 when a President was deposed for the same reason.

                To confess is to acknowledge faith and belief in this case, military honor, or whatever is left of it. The sensational is to confess my military dishonor. But to confess my specific crimes, behind which is misfortune more than fortune, is too late. It is also hypocritical because they have prescribed and the substitute crimes would not put me to jail by innocence or by age or both. That is another book to write hopefully before I stand trial before God which is sooner more than later.
                This confession is to celebrate the golden anniversary of my graduation with PMA Class of 1959 on 1 April 2009

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Karl, thanks. This must be part of a book. If not, it should be.

              • karlgarcia says:

                My dad planned a few years ago to launch a book on his 80th birthday. It is almost his 80th in a few months or weeks , and I have not seen him talk to publishers, maybe he shelved it.
                Thank you very much Edgar.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Here is one more.

                Plaridel C. Garcia ‘59

                Military honor – paid for by the blood, sweat, and tears of a few good men – has fallen in the worst of times. The AFP, with the PMA as the towering mast, has been christened as a flagship of corruption but launched with a bottle of crocodile tears. It is now the best of times to wipe the good tears away if not yet to skin the crocodiles alive.
                After the annus horribilis, the President, in a 2005 vin d’honneur, asked for help to reform the military. But one of the good Army colonels said that more than reforms the AFP needs transformation. More than transformation, the military and police may need transfiguration. I could only share my long- playing romance with military honor.
                On a personal note, it is a golden time for romancing military honor. Fifty years ago, PMA Class 1959 was received as plebes on April Fools day at Polo Fields. The Fields is long gone, symbolic of the national dishonor we graduated into, but not our field of dreams. We dreamt to finish with honor, struggle as an officer with honor, and retire with at least “honor among thieves”.
                Honor among thieves means magnanimity. It is some measure of dignity. Quite a few noted burglars left behind high-carat golden frames because of the grandmother in them. The infamous emergency conversion of funds could not have gone out of control. It is said that the AFP will modernize and the Philippines will progress faster even if we may have more cheats, liars, and thieves than our neighbors if our national software has the prompter for love of country and fear of God. Just “honor among thieves” may suffice!
                The Academy honor system militarized my civilian sense of honor, for better or for worse. As a war baby, my relatives have to lie to and cheat the Japanese or the guerrillas, and steal from them when necessary and possible. As a cadet, I was trained not to tell a lie, cheat, or steal. But it was never absolute. As plebes, we raided the cadet mess hall under cover of darkness for leftovers. The enemy was hunger and the enemy territory was the cadet kitchen. It would have been devoid of magnanimity had we stolen the hot pan de sal. The upperclassmen had more dignity of the offended than the pigs.
                There were other exceptions to the rule. It was not cheating when the personal locator card was blank. It was not lying not to squeal on another on hazing cases. Contradictions notwithstanding, the honor system was an effective drill to develop under the gun that honor is more precious than limb if not life. It was a system administered by the cadet corps – where the regime of truth takes precedence over the rule of law. As time goes by, however, and as the quantity and quality of entrants became more difficult to manage, exceptions turned out to have a more prolific life of its own. The adverse conditions in the external civilian society from where the cadets came from and the internal military society of the martial law period and thereafter placed a heavy strain on the honor system. One PMA Superintendent even remarked: “The PMA honor system is dead”. But the news of its death is slightly exaggerated.
                The AFP Code of Ethics is not any less a matter of life and death that the military swears by. Article III Section 1 Sub-Section 1.1is more elaborate than the oral tradition of the Academy honor system. Summarized, it states: “We believe in honor as our crowning value as it is more precious than life itself . . .We associate it with good reputation, and is the immortal, sacred part of our character… Thus, to us honor also means truthfulness, honesty, sincerity . . .and avoidance of deception, so that our written or spoken word may be accepted without question . . .To us honor means integrity . . .a modest and decent life . . .We shall not lie, cheat, steal . . .nor tolerate violations of the same . . .As honorable soldiers, we shall rise and live above the frailties of other men in less exacting professions.” But nobody committed suicide. It was not the code of the Bushido.
                The AFP, therefore, should take all the punches even below the belt, for they are not daggers (kiri) to the stomach (hara) anyway. As the mantra in the Academy promised, we were: “ To live above the level of common lives”. We should not envy the seemingly untouchable conditions of the barnacled flagships of corruption and their VIP manifests of tax evaders, smugglers, drug and smuggling lords, etc, because they are not “the protector of the people and the State”. The protectors of the people admitted “technical malversation by necessity”(Reyes) but quibbled about “personal knowledge”. In Mission Impossible, the Secretary disavows knowledge of the mission when it has run out of control. Who control the controllers? Quie custodies custodet? Who guard the guardians? The classic response of the Roman Senate was the sword of honor.
                The holder of the sword of honor was to have self-respect or self-esteem. To the borderline of conceit, PMA graduates are not in short supply. Facetiously, its baccalaureate degree is BS (Believe Self). Why not? We are in the business of taking and giving life. But perhaps that was why our military has long been in denial. The percentage of scalawags and bad eggs never exceeded 10. No way was it considered that ethical violations may have reached between 10 and 90 percent until the present Chief of Staff admitted that the practice of conversion has “spread like wildfire in the organization” and must be “repressed”. To be sure, the incumbent PMA superintendent was correct, if quoted right, that a factory like the Academy should be closed if 90 percent of its products are defective. Alas, it could not recall the defective ones like me.
                Neither could we close the AFP as a factory nor decommission it as a product – a flagship remember? Neither could we sink the AFP in favor of the outstanding flagships of corruption. Perhaps in favor of the New Peoples Army (NPA)! The NPA collects better taxes from politicians and businessmen; receives more equal free time from the media; deserves more tea from civil society; and generates more sympathy from religious groups. In our anti-military society, liberals talk like Marxists and Marxists pass as liberals. Perhaps the star of Lenin or Mao of the NPA is negotiable. We have the Crescent Moon, the Star of Bethlehem, the Mägen David, and the Rising sun – if not the stars in the Spangled Banner and Hollywood. But then the NPA will have “too many generals”(Plaridel Garcia) like the AFP and the PNP. As such, there will be more military honors (parades and ceremonies) than military honor. At least, the top-heavy pilothouse of the AFP is now 4 Major Generals less.
                But the foggy war against corruption is too complicated to be left alone even to honorable generals. The AFP was not even a flagship in the Transparency International (TI) order of battle. Alas, the politicians of civilian supremacy were! But the TI seems to say that they are not a ship, but a fleet of corruption – the political parties and legislators. Yet on their radar screens are the executive and judicial squadrons. So far a President has been impeached and a Chief Justice, an Ombudsman, and a COMELEC commissioner almost impeached. There seem to be a Philippine armada of corruption. Why is that? We are the 7-11th most corrupt country in the world (TI), an unintended consequence of “a nation run like hell by Filipinos” (Quezon) and “a race with a mysterious urge to suicide” (Recto).
                No less than a “holy war” is the clarion call! The Church, the media, the academe, and civil society must be “holier than thou” and the Ombudsman and COA “holier than aye”. Sans the AFP, the PNP, and the NPA, no less than the heavenly hosts must be rallied to the colors of the only Christian nation in Asia. Would the Archangel, San Miguel, do battle when he is posted on the bottles of unholy spirits? Would the saints come marching at the Epiphany of the Saints Avenue (EDSA) after overtaken by the highwaymen of HWY 54?
                More than romancing military honor must be pursued, indeed. It must come from its ranks, in uniform and mufti. After all the military has done and what has been said about it, the AFP is the only institution that demonstrated dramatic initiatives for reforms. EDSA 1 was sparked by a mutiny of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM). EDSA 2 was realized by a mutiny of the AFP high command. The Oakwood mutiny was by junior officers of the Magdalo. It may be less dramatic but more effective if the AFP or its elements mind its own business, as the present military leadership is doing, instead of trying hard to reform civilian government. Only an honorable military could reform civilian society without even trying. Nobody but nobody but the military can reform the military.
                A corrupt society has no place for a military with honor. A military without honor is only good as bouncers of a corrupted power over the political economy. It is business as usual, with a discredited Church and military. From the sympathy, the ends of the Oakwood mutiny received, support for the military means is happily down to 18 percent (Dr. Miranda). As it is now, the military is only good for coup confabulation, with or without “satellite interception”. To be sure, there are disgruntled elements that are useful for coup-rente (kuryente) that will sell newspapers anyway. Paraphrasing an Army colonel (Morales), an inept military is not even a threat to CPP/NDF/NPA even if they are corrupted as well to achieve strategic victory in a hundred years. Is the military a threat to our so-called liberal democracy? Tell it the marines! It is only a threat to life (property), liberty (more property), and property (plunder). Who gave some generals the liberty to be filthy rich?
                Military honor is not the cup of tea of the political elite from the illustrados to the trapos. Revolutionary General Alejandrino lamented that without any “honorable exception” the illustrados disregarded the military elements when the shooting with the Spaniards was over. Guess who came to the inaugural dinner at Malolos in French cuisine? Antonio Luna who had some military training in Europe and Artemio Ricarte who was an insulares officer of the Spanish cavalry were luckier. When we were plebes fifty years ago, a UP historian Majul remarked that we have not had a native military tradition. Yet the framers of the 1935 Constitution renounced war as instrument of national policy as if there was a previous policy, in consideration of the 1928 Kellog-Briand Pact against wars of aggression, by a nation that did not have the means for defensive war even.
                As Father Bernas observed, it was probably but a reflection of the anti-militarism of the “moral and political leadership”. In the absence of militarism it was but civilianism. The anti-militarism, ostensibly in favor of liberalism, had a color of the skin. General Macarthur, the American Caesar, was hired to establish the Philippine military when there was a General Vicente Lim who graduated from the same school – West Point. Then Majors Eisenhower and Ord wrote The National Defense Act (Commonwealth Act Number 1). Perhaps that was why it remained in effect with a few miserable amendments. One of its statement of policy, necessary and sufficient in an enacted legislation, was even upgraded to a Declaration of Principle in the 1973 Constitution – the supremacy of civilian authority. Civilian authority was supreme over the military at all times during martial law, indeed! President Marcos was a civilian saluting according to military norms. The Philippines became the world capital for military honors and war became a favorite civilian metaphor against our permanent problems. According to Vagts, militarism was a civilian aberration.
                Then military elements mutinied in 1986 against civilian authority. The civilianists deemed it moral enough to “save” the mutineers from civilian authority. But before the dust, stirred by the American helicopters taking Marcos out could settle, civilians started to be uncomfortable with the military “traipsing”(Henares) around. Déjà vu! In the Malolos Constitution, even Mabini could not persuade the illustrados to be a little grateful to Aguinaldo. But the 1987 Constitution “honored” the military with a redundant role – from condescending to pandering, honoring if you please. It was not enough that Section 3 Art II was: “Civilian authority is at all times supreme over the military”, and its “goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory”. It inserted that “the AFP is the protector of the people and the State”. The people must not only be secured. It should also be protected. EDSA 1 was a people-power revolution. It is said that that since said revolution was sparked by a mutiny; the role of the military must be validated.
                Thus, a “constitutional provision to stage a coup” in the name of the people was rationalized. Military elements took the honors with quite a few coup attempts. It turned out to be dishonor only because they failed. A Davide Commission came out with a laundry list of what went wrong. But the honorific role of the AFP was not settled. Adaza et al came out as the civilian gadflies of military interventionism in the name of the people. Pimentel wondered during the 1997 anti-cha-cha rallies whether the military has not already been convinced that it is the “fourth branch of government”. Alas, the old barracks maxim – when in doubt salute.
                It was the relative peace and economic growth of the Ramos era that helped to take for granted the further de-insulation of the military from politics, not because it was preceded by a few “push ups”. Much earlier, in the delayed counting of the Macapagal-Marcos election results, it was but a few senior army officers who went out of the barracks, discreetly at that, to salute Major Marcos. To the lasting honor of President Macapagal, he did not remind the military that he was the first to grant salary increases and sign presidential proclamations awarding land at McKinley to military personnel. To the preservation of military honor, he directed that the marines stay put at the Malacanang barracks. Alas, President Marcos stayed put for 20 years.
                In the 1998 presidential elections, quite a few officers, in uniform even, were not too bashful of their political preferences. Even the candidate of the administration party was booed at the academy. The root of corruption in our society and government is the political process. The root of corruption in the military is politics. The Davide Commission notwithstanding, the military and civilian authority did precious little. The constitutional role of the military was left to the imagination. And yet the intellectuals say that the military mind has little. The favorite village oxymoron is military intelligence.
                When the politicians were honorably shipping the US military bases out in the name of sovereignty but dishonorably retaining the RP-US mutual defense treaty, the AFP took their word that they will replace what will be lost in US military assistance. What they provided instead were additional general positions. When they enacted AFP modernization, what were amply legislated were more general positions. When the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), that time in the name of security, was being justified, the politicians and sympathetic media reminded the public that without the VFA our generals “will be running around like headless chickens”. Some civilian supremacy! Some military honor!
                But the chickens came home to roost. The generals run around civilian authority at EDSA 2 with their heads on. The Rizal day bomber, of a couple of weeks ago, was on the loose. The NPA was sighted outside town. The population at EDSA was growing by the day. The crowd in the political rally cum prayer and concert was deliriously shouting for more – not St Thomas More, the patron saint of politicians. A political orgasm was about to explode in a holy shrine. The AFP was in a missionary position – to protect the people. The only control method was withdrawal. Red blood was averted in the streets. But white blood scattered over the bosom of Lady Constitution.
                If the Constitution was raped, the Lady provided the motivation laced with ambiguity. Lest we forget, the martial law Constitution was a virgin no more in 1973 when it was assaulted at 14 in 1986. The statutory rape was with the consent of the people in a snap election, after 20 years of repressed lust. The 1987 people power Constitution asked for it. Whether it too was with the consent of the people was arguable, considering the huge majority that elected the deposed President as validated in the so-called EDSA 3. Nevertheless, The Supreme Court legitimated EDSA 2, with a military junta probably otherwise. Salus populi supreme lex!
                Thus military honor was put to the test. It demands loyalty, but to whom? The 1987 Constitution explicitly mandated that the military take an oath to uphold “this Constitution” – not “the Constitution”. The Lady is not a tramp, but her desires are adolescently personal, if I may so. The military is not a trump, to be bought or sold in a card game called Speculation. But the military is not a child game called “trumpo” either, to be spinned for adults only. It is not a game of generals, in uniform or civvies. Military honor is a matter of life and death.
                To be sure, the military cannot wash its hands of dishonor by the apologetics of a corrupt society and an ambiguous “moral and political leadership”. Before Fallows could parachute into town with our “damaged culture”, Gen Vicente Lim already lamented in 1939 that: “The government is corrupt because it is in the blood of the Filipino. It gives him quite a spirit of satisfaction and happiness to be able to mislead anyone; it is in the blood and to tell a lie is nothing but a happiness to him because it was the line of least resistance for the accomplishment of a certain end” (Manuel Quezon III). The title of an essay by Prof Randy David was “The military in a corrupt society”.
                Because the military takes an oath – so help me God – to a Code of Ethics. I used to wear a class ring with “Courage, Loyalty, Integrity” embossed and sing with emotion the Alma Mater song “The honor doth instill”. During martial law, a senior commander declared in an annual review that he had to do “conversion” because he had no equipment money – now a worn out cliché. But the DND Comptroller asked why the commander did not request to be relieved if he cannot accomplish his mission otherwise. I knew of a classmate (Ong) who did and a junior colleague (Jarque) who resigned in protest of conversion. I did not. I could only ask to go to school after a year as a Comptroller of the Navy. Even then, I violated the Code. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa!
                The time has come for the AFP to live by the Code that we failed to do in our time. Public outrage and government concern may provide the AFP leadership a decided advantage in instituting reforms. After the Oakwood mutiny and the Feliciano Commission, the President created a Task Force on 13 August 2003 (NDCP Day) to implement in one month’s time, procurement and disbursement reforms in the AFP. Obviously, it failed to interdict the 2004 AFP Comptroller scandal. For 2005, the President announced to the whole world that AFP reform is a priority. The budgetary, auditing, and accounting reforms may yet be priorities too. Wittingly or unwittingly, “the military and the police are the strategic objectives in the fight against graft and corruption” (Plaridel Abaya). The rest, including the politicians will be under the gun.
                Suppose, just suppose the reforms of the military succeed in a year or two. If a discredited military succeeded in playing a crucial active role in effecting political change, what more for a respectable AFP amidst failing institutions? The military may even return to the barracks but provide a passive incentive to politicians and bureaucrats to do better, as in Turkey, and march out of the barracks only when necessary, as in Pakistan. The vision of Gen Vicente Lim in 1939 was to have an officer corps with “Duty, Honor, and Country” as a demonstration model within a corrupt government. Jose P. Laurel would like us to adopt the values of the Bushido. Marcos would have done better with his declaration of martial law. The President who will do so again would do better, even in a “palace coup” to respond to calls for authoritarianism.
                This is the golden opportunity for the military to recapture honor not necessarily as “high respect” from civilian elements, which cannot give what they do not have, but as “self- respect”. By “conversion” the AFP fell. By conversion it shall rise again. Conversion of the AFP demands quite a few urgent things. Under the tyranny of the urgent, contrition precedes them all. Denial is not having to say you are sorry. Sorry without action is dead. ZACCHAEUS of the Scriptures may be too much! He gave fifty percent of his unexplained wealth to the poor and four times to those he defrauded. Since the balance of fifty percent seem to be short for defraudation damages, it is implied that he had to earn an honest living to settle the score. A moral of the Bible story is that we may not be caught as the AFP Comptroller might have been, but in the Court above, the rule of law and the regime of truth- that the Preamble of the Constitution declares in vain- are not strange bedfellows.
                Under the conditions of the Union Army during the American civil war, Lincoln settled for little victories. The former AFP Chiefs of Staff admitted in the court of public opinion that there was “conversion” by operational necessity in the field but not “personal knowledge” of the same in their headquarters. They and other active generals even admitted that they have 3 to 5 million pesos that they can explain at the AFPSLAI but demurred when asked to voluntary waive their bank secrecy. Not good enough but not too bad. Perhaps other generals, retired and active, which matter more than I, could waive their bank secrecy with courage, if not with integrity? Anyway if the government can hardly count the cars and houses from public documents of a few generals what more of the bank transactions of too many generals?
                To be less facetious, it was more than a little victory for military honor and the AFP Code of Ethics when the present CSAFP declared that: Conversion that “spread like wildfire in the organization” and other acts that led to graft and corruption must be “repressed”. The CSAFP he replaced was as candid: “This graft and corruption is not only at the highest levels of the military. I admit that there is graft and corruption even down to the company commander level”. Unfortunately, the AFP even with the help of the Feliciano Commission and a Presidential Task Force was unable to forestall the most serious scandal the AFP ever had. But like the New Years optimism of Filipinos our blessed hope is for the military leadership to succeed.
                What is romance without serendipity? The AFP will rise from the ashes (abu) like the phoenix. For all we know, the Abu Sayaf chieftain, Janjalani, will be taken out if not yet under General Abu, the holder of the sword of honor. Even the name of the PNP Chief, Aglipay, evokes historical patriotism and religiosity. We need, more than reforms, transformation. From Shakespeare’s Tempest was derived Sea Change to mean Notable Transformation. For the Gloria of God and country, a flagship of honor must come to pass before the perfect storm.


              • Edgar Lores says:

                Ah, Karl, this is extensive. It will take me some time to absorb this. I am just glad that there are military officers like your father — and Senator Trillanes — who harbor moral scruples.

              • NHerrera says:


                I just quickly scanned your Dad’s writings in this blog, as well as those posted in Joe’s “To Touch A Dream.” I will have to read these more slowly later.

                I hope the thoughts are put together in a book because, at the very least, the extensive list of ideas are worth poring over for the continuing effort to reform and strengthen the Philippine Military for the benefit of the country.

                Thanks for the postings here and the other blog. And much thanks to your Dad.

              • All great stuff that I re-read with a new perspective. Going by installments made me read it, not just skim.

                For the first time, the first half of the Arroyo period becomes clear to me, the time I lost track of the Filipino narrative as a coherent story.. comes alive in color.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Speaking of courage, I might add that courage in the exercise of loyalty, honor, and duty can be a vice.

                It takes a degree of fearlessness for a Yakuza gunman to pull the trigger.

                It takes a great degree of fearlessness for a Bong Revilla to redirect his pork barrel allowance to the family.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks again Edgar, NH and Irineo.

                Remember the time when I email binged you, practically feeding you with Maling or Spam.

        • karlgarcia says:

          @Edgar just sharing what mt dad wrote about the role of the military.

          “Role of the Military
          Section 3, Art II of the 1987 Constitution (second and third sentences) declares as follows: “The AFP is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State, and the integrity of the national territory.”
This constitutional duty made the AFP the “Defender of the Nation.” (Intengan, Center for Strategic Studies) The nation is used interchangeably with state – that consists of people, territory, and government.
The confusion was caused by the common use of “The AFP is the protector of the people” only as the role, to the exclusion of the State and the rest of aforesaid Section 3. As such, it became the battle cry or rationale of the coup leaders/spokesmen – the latest of which was General Danny Lim in the 29 November Manila Pen caper preceded by the 20 November PDI full-page ad.
Since the 1987 coup attempts, the abbreviated role has been foisted upon the military by known lawyers (Adaza, Lichauco, etc) as “the constitutional provision to stage a coup.” During the 1997 anti chacha rally, Senator Pimentel wondered aloud whether the AFP has already assumed that it is the “fourth branch of government”. The Majority Leader Tatad called it absurd because, first, the sentence included the State, and second, the first sentence of Art II, Sec 3 is “Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military.” I suggested declaratory relief. I was reminded that law is not common sense.
Alas, the living members of the 1986 Comcom failed to explain that the provision was meant to provide a departure line from the Marcos military and to honor the new military for its role in the 1986 people power revolution. They must frustrated rebels in their former lives. Unfortunately, the recent Comcom recommend its removal and even Father Bernas (8 December 2007) suggested the same to remove the perceived ambiguity of the provision. All because the political elite is more apprehensive of the rule of the military than comprehend its constitutional role.
Executive Order 297 (Administrative Code of 1987) is also explicit on the AFP as the Defender of the Nation. Then the Intengan formulation derived the role of the AFP as Guardian of Democracy because the Constitution provided in Art XVI, Sec 5: “All members of the armed forces shall take an oath or affirmation to uphold and defend this Constitution”.
Finally, the AFP is the Servant of the People because of the above, and in responding to disaster, national development, carrying out international humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping operations. Father Archie seemed to do better in confessing his sins than being confessed to.
          Civilian Supremacy
          If the AFP as the protector of the people has been shortened to exclude the State, so is the supremacy of civilian authority shortened to civilian supremacy?
To be sure, the first sentence of Art II, Sec 3 is “Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military”.
It is clear that any civilian Tom, Dick and Harry is not supreme over the military at any time as the AFP is not the protector of the people at any time without the State.
In the first place, how did it become civilian authority? Why not civil authority?
A civilian is anyone who is not a member of the armed forces or the police force while civil is relating to ordinary citizens and people who are polite or not discourteous (from the Latin civilis, relating to citizens or from civis, citizens).
Thus, in U.S. and Commonwealth countries where the principle came from – it is civil supremacy or supremacy of civil authority.
The principle was approved in our jurisdiction on December 21, 1935 in Commonwealth Act No.1 known as the National Defense Act. Art I, Sec 2d provides “The civil authority shall always be supreme. The President of the Philippines as the Commander-in-Chief of all military forces shall be responsible that mobilization measures are prepared at all times. Please note the style used by Major Eisenhowr and Ord: “always” as to supremacy of civil authority and “at all times” as to war mobilization measures.
The 1973 (martial law) Constitution, ironically under the penumbra of Martial Law elevated the National Defense Policy to a State Policy to be a redundancy of the power of the “President who is a civilian, and as civilian, the Commander-in-Chief” (Bernas commentaries). Marcos authority was supreme indeed!
The 1987 (People Power) Constitution did better. It adapted the 1973 Constitution and restyled it with “at all times” instead of “always” as in wartime combat readiness.
Paraphrasing “Oh Noble Catiline”: How much superiority has been sacrificed for thy inferiority?
Then came the Davide Commission that provided in paragraph C. 2f: “The supremacy of civilian authority over the military should be established by the appointment as soon as practicable, of civilians with capabilities, integrity, and leadership to head the Department of National Defense (DND)…”
If the President is a civilian and as civilian, the Commanderin Chief, whether he was a former officer of the armed forces, then why should the SND not be a civilian if he was a former officer of the armed forces?
The Feliciano Commission (Father Bernas, member) reiterated the Davide Commission but at least added: “…beyond the need to institutionalize the supremacy of civilian authority, the appointment of persons who have not had long and keep ties to the military and who have held positions in the military establishment that itself needs to be reformed is essential for a reform program to succeed!
Obtusely, the Commission believed that the SND (Gen. Reyes)—the former Chief of the AFP should be reformed himself.
Yet, even if the Feliciano Commission has a point, without particularly citing Reyes for reformation, its addendum was actually the rationale why former US Service Officers cannot be Secretary of Defense within 10 years but not forever. The American rationale was not supremacy of civil authority that we copied from them, but the interests that might have been vested by the huge multi-billion dollars acquisition of the US Armed Forces to need a “withdrawal period of 10 years” while perpetual for us if Davide is to be followed.
Thus in the US, retired generals could be Secretary of State, the most senior in the Cabinet, like George Marshall Alexander Haig, and Colin Powel but not as Secretary of Defense within 10 years. And generals were elected as civilians to the presidency.
Your honor, I submit.”

          • Edgar Lores says:

            Karl, thanks. The nuance between “civilian” and “civil” escapes me to a point, but I believe I get your father’s drift. It is an important distinction. Duterte is trying to appoint recently retired generals to the Cabinet and has run afoul of the law. I think we should follow the US example and have a “withdrawal period” of at least 6 years and not the current 1 year.

            • Sup says:

              As nouns the difference between civilian and citizen is that civilian is a person following the pursuits of civil life, especially one who is not an active member of the military, the police, or a belligerent group while citizen is a person who is legally recognized as a member of a state, with associated rights and obligations.

              As a adjective civilian is that which is not related to the military, police or other uniformed profession.

              Not my writing..did only borrow it 🙂


            • karlgarcia says:

              Thanks Sup! From the same site.


              As adjectives the difference between civil and civilian is that civil is having to do with people and government office as opposed to the military or religion while civilian is that which is not related to the military, police or other uniformed profession.

              As a noun civilian is a person following the pursuits of civil life, especially one who is not an active member of the military, the police, or a belligerent group.

            • karlgarcia says:


              CIVILIAN CONTROL: Local practices and International theories
              By Plaridel Comentan Garcia
              ​Civilian control of the military is not a fact but a process, according to Richard Kohn – an international expert. Locally, it may be neither a fact nor a process as yet. It is imperative that the controller and the controlled gain a deeper and wider understanding of the principle.
              Civilian control of the military or civilian control in short is euphemism for a principle mandated by our 1971 Constitution as follows: “Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military”. In other civilized countries, it is called the principle of “supremacy of civil power” or “civil supremacy”. This principle is shortened in our jurisdiction as “civilian supremacy”. Some civilian chauvinism!
              ​This necessary but insufficient chauvinism, if you please, first appeared in our statutes in 1935 through Commonwealth Act 1, the National Defense Act. But then Major Eisenhower, who penned the Act, wrote not civilian but civil supremacy. The principle of civil supremacy is an “explicit principle” (S.E. Finer). A most convenient definition is that “both formally and effectively, the major policies and programs of government should be decided by the nation’s politically responsible civilian leaders” (Sapin and Snyder). The principle therefore is broader than civilian authority over the military and beyond the concept of military professionalism as will be shown later. While often used interchangeably, it would seem that civilian is personal and civil is structural. But more importantly civil supremacy encompass more than military matters.
              ​Wittingly or unwittingly, it was not a Marcos joke that civil supremacy over the military in Commonwealth Act No. 1 became civilian supremacy in the martial law Constitution. With tongue somewhere, Marcos was not only a civilian over the military but also quite civil over his soldiers. But Marcos as military was as much as if not more Marcos as civilian. For one indication he saluted with feeling more than regular military officers. Bush politely returns the salute of the marine guard at the presidential helicopter the Texan way but never in formal ceremonies. In this seemingly anti-military nation, Presidents since Marcos, except FVR, would when in doubt salute the military way at that. Alas, the President “is civilian, and as civilian, the Commander in Chief” (Bernas).
              Civil or civilian supremacy, Marcos was supreme. Civilian or military, Marcos also belonged to the political if not moral elite. The anti-militarism of the said elite, according to former UP President Sinco, caused among others, the “renunciation of war” in the Constitution. Ostensibly inspired by the Kellog-Briand Pact against aggressive war, Commonwealth Philippines was not even capable of defensive war. It has not even a military tradition (Majul).
              ​The aforesaid political elite are liberal after a little of Jefferson and the Federalist Papers. They were oblivious of the historical fact that European liberalism that inspired the revolution against Spain was triggered by the liberal revolution of generals against the Spanish monarchy. As a result, liberal army generals De la Torre and Isquierdo were designated Governor Generals in Manila that help inspire the Filipino elite to revolt. But then said generals were Spanish. It was then the mantra in Manila and Madrid that: “The Filipino is a good soldier, a fair corporal, a bad sergeant, and absolutely incapable of being an officer”. (O.D. Corpuz) No wonder our Filipino rebels who took up arms were considered by the same elite as “ignorant military elements” (Alejandrino from Calderon) rather than overnight generals with libertarian background. We would rather have MacArthur, an American called Caesar, than Vicente Lim, a Tsinoy called at West Point as “cannibal”.
              ​​​​Civil-military relation theories
              ​Liberalism whether Spanish or American is one of the three dominant approaches or theories of civil-military relations, the other two namely, realism and Marxism (Tellis, Rand Graduate School). But liberal or realist became a choice between freedom and security in our intellectual circles even if the truth may be somewhere between. American liberalism was heavy on freedom of expression (speech and press) and freedom of conscience (religion) from a rebellion against monarchy and religious persecution. Mark Twain, however, would add a third, the freedom to disregard the other two.
              ​Then the Freedoms became Four with the addition of freedom from want and freedom from fear. But the elite to this date are still so incensed with the first freedom even with burgeoning conditions of poverty. Absent a monarchy and a military caste, our liberal elite who did not have to suffer from want nevertheless have their hearts bleed for individual liberty, secured from the absence of foreign enemies at the gates in spite of the weakness of the military whose strength they are wary anyway. The penchant of a Magsaysay, who did not belong to them, for military types and the martial predilection of a Marcos who belong to them, resulted to a civil-military relation confused in theory and practice. Even before Marcos was safely aboard a helicopter out of the Palace during EDSA 1, the liberal elite were already making fun and pun of the military rebels long before its adventurism – a self-fulfilling prophecy.
              ​EDSA 2 came to pass. Preceded by the political debates of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) when a selling point at the expense of the military was that without the VFA, “the generals will run around like headless chickens”, the chickens came home to roost at EDSA. But they came with their caps on running around civilian authority armed with a constitutional provision “to protect the people” that with all the abundance of political freedoms, the liberal elite to include the surviving members of the Commission did not care enough to clarify.
              ​The military elite were not short in “strategic communications”, however. A few hours after the “withdrawal of support”, rumours spread that a military junta was in the making (Carpio, PDI). Apparently it was to pressure the Supreme Court to decide overnight. Who said the military mind has no imagination? I wanted to report another version in my then MT column but a Service Commander, who was removed later, requested an “off the record”. However, it was not sure whether the rumour affected the flipping of the pages of the Bible by the Justices. Nevertheless, the withdrawn CSAFP bravely saluted the constructively-resigned Commander in Chief in the Palace not once but twice.
              ​Then a “writing on the wall” appeared at the gates of Camp Aguinaldo: “Freedom is your right, our responsibility”. In a column (Manila Times) I questioned whether the responsibility has an authority too. Was the AFP guaranteeing the freedom from fear or the Four Freedoms? But the guardians of civilian supremacy were conspicuous in their silence. Indeed the controlled may also control the controller! Skinner wrote about laboratory rats controlling the experimenter.
              ​Civilian controllers did not mind indeed. What can rats, if you please, do anyway? They just, not necessarily generals, multiply fast without reproductive health. Take the famous “protector of the people” provision mentioned earlier. The brouhaha was actually a no-brainer that multiplied.

              ​​​​Protector of the people
              ​In the first place, the complete sentence in the Constitution is: The AFP is the protector of the people and the State”. State includes the government, territory, and the people. Ergo, the AFP is the protector of the government too – conveniently omitted in the extra-constitutional rhetoric.
              ​In the second place, the aforesaid sentence was preceded by a more crucial first sentence mentioned earlier: “Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military”. The first sentence takes precedence, unless we accept that in this country the No. 2 is more powerful than No.1.
              ​In the third place, the “protector of the people” sentence was inserted between the vital first sentence and crucial third sentence which is actually the role of the AFP: “Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and integrity of the national territory”. This role covers the sovereignty of the people that as mentioned earlier is part of the State. There is some serendipity that the constitutional “insertion” was eminently followed by a “withdrawal” of support to the Commander in Chief by the AFP at EDSA 2.
              ​The constitutional insertion appears as common sense to me. But according to this nation of lawyers, law is not common sense. Thus, Alejandro Lichauco, called the said provision as the “constitutional provision to stage a coup” as early in 1987. Then Adaza pursued the suggestion as some recognition by the Constitution of the military role in the so-called people power revolution in EDSA 1 and continued as we speak to be a defense counsel of military rebels. Then during the 1997 anti-charter change demonstrations, Pimentel wondered aloud whether the AFP has already considered itself as “the fourth branch of government”, as personally clarified to me later. But Tatad considered all of the above as absurd in the floor of the Senate, precisely as explained above with the three sentences of Section 3, Article 2 (Declaration of Principles and State Policies). But Kit Tatad is not an expert in constitutional law. He only wanted to be a Pope reportedly.
              ​I was neither a lawyer nor a priest but based on Tatad’s view I wrote a memorandum to the new SND in 1998 to seek a “judicial relief” on the issue. But I was told that it was not “justiciable”, whatever that “gobbledygook”means, as Pong Biazon use to say. When EDSA 2 happened in 2001, I was long fired from DND. Then the Oakwood mutiny came in 2003 invoking the role of the AFP “to protect the people”. When the Peninsula caper exploded in 2007, the same swan song was read in the presence of a former Vice President and former President of UP.
              ​The civilian controllers and military elements just did not get it. The insertion was intended to be a departure point from the Marcos military and not to task the AFP a new role that it has already. But it was hijacked to support military adventurism and civilian controllers seem not to mind. The latest Constitutional Commission would rather that the controversial role excised in the next Constitution and nothing was heard from the surviving members of the 1987 Constitutional Commission.
              In the 2006 PMAAA convention I asked Guest Speaker Bernas, an eminent member of the said Constitutional Commission, if it is constitutional for the military to intervene to protect the people and the answer was seemingly affirmative if “it wins”. That was validated in the 2007 convention by Chief Justice Puno. In the 2007 PMAAA Forum on Professionalism after the Peninsula caper, Father Bernas finally clarified that the 1987 insertion was not meant to be an empowerment, but suggested to modify its language or “perhaps delete this sentence” because on its face it is “ambiguous”. Law is not common sense indeed! Nevertheless, he stressed that the 1987 Constitution spoke of “civilian authority” – not “civilian supremacy”. Perhaps Jesuits are uniformed enough not to be pure civilians and civilian chauvinists neither.

              ​​​​​Civilian authority
              ​The so-called “civilian supremacy” clause should actually be “civilian authority supremacy” clause indeed. As mentioned earlier, it was apparently taken from Eisenhower’s Commonwealth Act 1 declaration that civil supremacy shall always be supreme over the military. Please note again that the said Act was civil, not civilian. It was “always”, not “at all times”. In the said Act, the latter was mandated for military mobilization. Perhaps that is why our mobilization readiness juxtaposed with civilian supremacy is neither “always” nor “at all times”.
              ​To be sure, as Father Bernas said: “Under the 1935 Constitution civilian authority was not expressly articulated. It was merely implicitly contained in the provision which made the civilian President Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces”. Under the penumbra of martial law the corrective by the 1971 Constitutional Convention did not check the growing abuses of military elements.
              ​Be that as it may, the stress should be on the authority and less on the supremacy. As Father Bernas emphasized “authority can only come from law”. No civilian Tom Dick and Harry can claim any power not granted to him by law.
              ​Civilian authority over the military without responsibility for the controlled is civilianism just as military authority without responsibility to the controller is militarism. James Madison delimited the parameters of responsibility in Federalist No. 63: “Responsibility to be reasonable, must be limited to objects within the power of the responsible party, and in order to be effectual, must relate to operations of that power”. In short, political maturity is imperative, to be responsible.
              Alas, as Diamond and Plattner stated in “Purple Patch: Towards Civilian Supremacy” 2004: Establishing civilian supremacy depends on the quality of political leadership and strategy.”And that holds true not only for the controller but also the controlled. By the way, the Philippine Military Academy has raised the ante. Its vision now is to produce not only military leaders but national leaders. And the Board of Visitors seem not to mind.

              ​​​​​Cavalier cavalier
              ​The history of civilian supremacy from the peninsulares over the insulares (1823 creole officers) until the Manila Peninsula in 2007 was at most cavalier. To be cavalier is to be supercilious, blasé, off hand, and carefree. Cavalier is also what the alumni of the PMA call each other, as retired officer and gentlemen or otherwise. Civilian control of the military in the Philippines is, for practical purposes, control of the Cavaliers.
              ​Cavalier in local usage must have come from Spanish “caballero” which means a gentleman atop a horse that he owns. Unfortunately, only Colonel Jacobo Zobel could afford to buy horses. Cavaliers were also the palace guards of English Charles 1 during the civil war by Oliver Cromwell. The puritan cavalry of Cromwell praised the Lord and passed the ammunition. The cavaliers of King Charles praised the King and made passes on the ladies of the Court. Charles and his cavaliers lost. Some of our Cavaliers praised the President and passed coup rente rumours.
              ​It was supercilious in the time of Marcos because he was super even to Cavaliers who were not silly. In the time of Aquino, it was blasé because she majored in French. In the time of Ramos, it was off hand because he was known to be on hands. In the time of Estrada, it was carefree because ERAP jokes. To be less facetious, in the time of Arroyo, it appears to be all of the above.
              ​The irony was that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s father, Diosdado Macapagal, preceded Marcos. During the delayed counting of the Macapagal-Marcos presidential contest, Army colonels were said to have gotten out of the barracks to salute Major Marcos. It was suggested to call the marines, literary and figuratively. But President DM directed that marines stay put in the Palace marine barracks. That was constitutional and objective civilian control.
              Alas, President Marcos stayed put for 20 years, however. President GMA must have learned from that. Her cavalier control of the Cavaliers was also enriched by the lessons from Aquino and Estrada.

              ​​​Subjective/Objective Control
              Huntington describes civil-military relations as the role of the military in society equated in terms of “civilian control”. Civilian control may be subjective or objective. Subjective control is a condition advanced by one civilian group or personality as a means to enhance its power at the expense of other groups. It is also a condition “wherein the civil authority belonging to a particular group maximizes control of the military”. Objective civilian control “minimizes military power by professionalizing the military, by rendering them politically sterile and neutral”. According to Huntington, “objective civilian control not only reduces power of the military vis-a-vis all civilian groups but also maximizes the likelihood of achieving military security”.
              From Marcos to date, the civilian control of the military was quite subjective except for some objectivity in Ramos term. But Ramos had the luxury of having come from the military and the dissipation of military adventurism and separatist and communist insurgencies in a landscape of economic growth. With the landslide of Estrada in the elections, he needed not pander to the military and tended to allow the AFP to be professional except that he was admittedly not. Of course there is no Academy for Commander in Chief. His war in the South was called “total war” that the military explained as “total effort” and the “blockade” at the South China Sea was explained by Emil Jurado, his former English teacher, as block as in basketball. The advantage of Arroyo, as she related jokingly in a PMAAA luncheon, was that she was a general in her former life.
              Arroyo had no choice but to be subjective even before she reportedly admittedly connived with the military and police to oust Estrada. A quarter after her assumption she was subjected to an EDSA 3-type revolt that would have succeeded with military support. Paraphrasing Teddy Benigno, it was pandering to the military and police in her first 100 days. She was not to repeat the complacency of Estrada on the impeachment attempts and not to give an inch to demonstrations in size and duration.
              Beset by Edsa 3, Oakwood, and succeeding “coup rentes” GMA became even more subjective, characterized by the so-called ‘revolving door’ policy on the CSAFP ending with a choice post-retirement government position and doubling the number of generals – openly rationalized to counter coup attempts. Attempts to professionalize were initiatives of the AFP leadership.
              CSAFP Abu remarked that even with 81 M people in the streets, the AFP would remain in the barracks. His fourth class math seemingly excluded the military from the people and its avowed “protection”. Later CSAFP Senga declared that nobody can “hawak” (hold) me. Ostensible he was talking for the AFP and not to rebel generals, Miranda and Lim. Somehow, it also reinforced the unavoidable subjective civilian control of Arroyo with a little help from “executive privilege”.

              As mentioned earlier, objective civilian control is by military professionalism. The 1987 Constitution mandated in Article XVI, Section 5 (3): Professionalism in the armed forces and adequate remuneration shall be a prime concern of the State. The armed forces shall be insulated from partisan politics.
              The dominant view is for professionalism to contain the three ingredients of Huntington: “expertise, social responsibility, and corporate loyalty to fellow-practitioners”. His argument is that “the surest way to insulate the military from politics is to encourage them to be fully professional”- to be “politically sterile and neutral”. He added that “a highly professional officer corps stands ready to carry out the wishes of any civilian group which secures legitimate authority within the state”. But in the Philippine situation: Which should come first – insulation from politics or professionalism?
              Granting it is possible to be professional before being politically neutral, S.E. Finer cited in that connection the notorious cases of highly professional military that intervened in politics – the German, Japanese and French. But in the case of the British and American, professional responsibility has become problematic. In the Curragh mutiny in Ireland the issue was responsibility to the State symbolized by the Sovereign and not to the Government. In the case of MacArthur, this distinction was explicit in 1952: “I find in existence a new and heretofore unknown and dangerous concept that the members of our armed forces owe primary allegiance or loyalty to those who temporarily exercise the authority of the Executive Branch rather than to the country and its constitution which they are sworn to defend.” (Finer) Responsibility to country and people rather than the Commander in Chief by the professional military is not exactly a Filipino invention indeed.
              Huntington’s professional expertise applied to developing countries in war with domestic insurgency has been experienced to be a problem. The professional military sees itself as the nation’s defender against foreign foes – the foreign invader is the enemy. But the AFP has been used ever since to wage war against its own people.
              The third professional ingredient is corporate loyalty. There was an old Barracks ballad: “Shall brother strike brother”? In the movie Four Feathers of four British officers from the nobility, they were asked as to where loyalty rests. Shall it be to the King, the aristocracy, the country or the army? The answer was to the comrade in the fox-hole. Alfred McCoy had a good-reader “Closer than Brothers” about two classes from the PMA. During the series of coup attempts after EDSA 1, some civilian controllers complained about “acoustics warfare” until the 1989 coup, when many brothers shot against brother. In a sense, civilian control was achieved at the expense of military professionalism ala Huntington.
              The three ingredients of the said professionalism tend to push the military in collision course with civilian control. To arrest the tendencies, Finer (The Man On Horseback) suggested that the military absorb the “principle of the supremacy of the civil power” as a separate and distinct concept not part of the dominant model of professionalism. The Philippine experience would validate his view. Indeed, is professionalism the tail to wag by the dog of political neutrality or vice-versa? Yet that explicit principle in Section 3, Article II of the Constitution should be loud and clear for the controllers and the controlled.

              ​​​The Chain of Command Principle
              Loyalty to the chain of command is a swan song by the military spokesmen during rumours of coup attempts. According to Helms, this principle may be analyzed focusing on the adherence to or strengthening of constitutional policies. “The chain of command, sometimes called the scalar chain, is the formal line of authority, communication, and responsibility within an organization. XXX. By utilizing the chain of command and its visible authority relationships, the principle of unity of command is maintained. Unity of command means that each subordinate reports to one and only one superior”.
              Ideally, the chain going up is also the chain going down. Thus, the Commander-in- Chief communicates to the Secretary of Defense in the U.S. and then the Secretary to the Chairman JCS on the way down. That used to be the case in the Philippines until Secretary Enrile was taken out of the chain of command. In the US civilian command and control is exercised by the President through the Secretary and so on. In our case the SND has only policy control, whatever that means. Civilian command control becomes mostly symbolic if not ineffective without an executive department in the chain.
              In the US case no former military officer can be Secretary of Defense within 10 years of his retirement. The reason is conflict of interest on high value contracts entered into during the incumbency of the officer concerned. Thus, Marshall, Haig, and Powell became Secretary of State – the most senior member of the Cabinet – right after retirement but not Secretary of Defense. In the Philippines, the Davide and Feliciano Commissions recommended the banning of a former military officer as Secretary of Defense in the name of “civilian supremacy”. Alas, EDSA 1 and 2 occurred when civilian Enrile and Mercado were SND. The Philippine Senate, however, has passed a bill prescribing 3 years within which a former military officer may not be SND.
              The alter ego doctrine is relevant in the placing of the SND in the chain of command, the latest jurisprudence of which is Constantino versus Cuisia GR 106064, 13 October 2005. The personality of the Cabinet Secretary is a projection of that of the President, or in the words of Jefferson, “should be in the President’s bosom confidence”.
              After all the chain of command principle does not deprived the highest authority to communicate direct to the man in the fox-hole or to a general who does not like the SND. This principle is more than a sound bite by military spokesmen, indeed. ​

              Classic Liberal Civilian Control of the Military
              ​In theory and practice, according to Kohn, it is when “every decision of government in peace and war – all choices about national security – are made or approved by officials outside the professional armed forces; in democracies, by civilian officials elected by the people or appointed by those who are elected. All matters great and small, from the resolve to go to war to the potential punishment prescribed for a hapless sentry who falls asleep on duty, emanate from civilian authority or are decided by civilians. Even the decisions of command – the selection of strategy, of what operations to mount and when, and what tactics to employ – derive from civilian authority, falling to uniformed people only for convenience or out of tradition, or for the greater efficiency and effectiveness of the armed forces.”
              ​There was a time during the US civil war when Lincoln was doing all of the above with hardly any help from his Secretary of War. But then after the boozing generals were replaced and the Union was hungry for victory, he even made a deal with General Hooker to risk a military dictatorship if the tide of war could be reversed.
              ​This model is almost one of an ideal type just as liberalism as a theory of national security is. But above heuristics, a Secretary of Defense in the chain of command and a Defense department that do not have to depend on retired officers would be imperative. For a start, top DND civilian officials should at least audit NDCP or CGSC classes.

              ​​​Structural/Rationalist theory of civilian control
              ​In his structural theory, Desch argues that “the structure of domestic and international threats shapes the behaviour of individual actors, state institutions, and the military, and ultimately affects the strength of civilian control of the military”. He observed that in the Cold War era US maintained a stable civilian control. But in contrast, “the combination of a high internal threat and a low external threat suggest decreasing civilian control”. This theory partly explains the state of civilian control in the Philippines.
              ​In an internal security situation, Feaver’s “agency theory” is more relevant. He argues that the core of civil-military relations is the strategic interaction between civilian principals (superiors) and military agents (subordinates). The actors are considered rational and thus decide to interact based upon a cost-benefit analysis of their respective situations. Expectations of both civilian and military actors are determined by material factors and incentives, the degree to which the civilian and military interests coincide, and the political strengths of the actors involve. Thus, the strength of civilian control depends on whether civilians can detect and punish military disobedience, and whether the military can expect to get away with disobedience. This theory partly explains the state of civilian control in the Philippines.

              ​​​​Concluding thoughts
              ​The ethic of civilian control over the military in the Philippines is a work in process. A further study of theories and approaches and exotic practices is imperative. Even the most practical men are actually governed by some theories that he may not be aware of. It is said that we are all influenced by some defunct economist or philosopher. The importance of civil-military relations in peace and in war could not over-emphasize the development of an effective and acceptable civilian control. But we seem to be confused in theory and practice.
              ​The controlled military is not without blame. But since the civilian controllers have the authority of law and the presumption of supremacy, they are more to point in a blame game.
              ​To be sure, objective civilian control is not a fast fact but a slow process long in the making indeed. This anecdotal-descriptive paper that is hopelessly normative as an advocacy aim to make it a little faster.

              ​​​​Post Script
              ​The Thailand recent regime change cannot happen here according to some politicians because we are more mature, a self-congratulation the Thai ambassador protested diplomatically. To be sure, the Thais has improved upon its most recent military coup participated by two Thai graduates of the PMA, commanding armoured columns. This time they merely allowed the protesters to do their thing without adequate interference from the military and police. Then the Army Chief merely asked the Prime Minister to resign that was ostensibly ignored. But the Constitutional Court came into the picture by ruling that the “People Power Party” committed election fraud while the revered King participated by silence. Some immaturity!

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Karl, thank you again very much.

                1. To recap, the summary of the presidential-military relationships seems to be cavalier, defined as “showing a lack of proper concern.”

                2. Cavalier can be supercilious, blasé, offhand, or carefree. The nature of successive presidential relationships with the military is described as:

                2.1. Marcos was supercilious, defined as superior and patronizing.
                2.2. Cory was blasé, defined as unimpressed with or indifferent.
                2.3. Ramos was offhand, defined as nonchalant or cool in manner.
                2.4. Estrada was care-free, defined as free from anxiety or responsibility.
                2.5. Gloria was all of the above.

                3. In terms of subjective/objective control, the civilian authority has been subjective, meaning the military has been used to enhance political power at the expense of other groups. This has been true for all presidents except for some objectivity during Ramos’ terms.

                4. And what about Duterte?

                4.1. I think with Duterte the relationship is NOT cavalier at all. Duterte is respectful of the military and sees both the military and police as central to his ambitions and effectiveness. He expects them to obey his commands and, in exchange, he consults with them, promises to double their salary, appoints them to positions of power, and attends their wakes.

                4.2. But there is a great difference between the police and the military. Duterte’s control of the police has been supercilious and subjective, but his control of the military has been objective – not because of his wishes but because of the distance, the professionalism, by which the military has held itself.

                4.3. With the military, the controlled is, to some extent, controlling the controller!

      • karlgarcia says:

        From NATO:
        The Role of the Military in a democracy.

        • Edgar Lores says:

          Karl, thanks very much.

          I like:

          1. “Worth mentioning is also that the rules of the International Law predominate over the Basic Law.” This in relation to Andanar’s observations as posted by Sir NHerrera.

          2. “As extremely progressive decision, the constitutional lawmakers inserted an article into the Basic Law, which states, that the basic human rights of military personnel may be restricted only to the extent being absolutely necessary to ensure the functioning of the armed forces.” This is in relation to the Code Red case.

          As this is from a German major general, I can see the mathematical thinking — partly reflected in the enumeration.

  5. NHerrera says:

    edgar, thanks for the well-articulated article and completion of the presentation of your two-part thesis, a collector’s item — Three Primary Virtues or TPV and Three Sieves of Ethics or TSE:

    TPV = Honor, Duty, Loyalty
    TSE = Virtue Ethics, Consequential Ethics, Deontology Ethics

    MY THOUGHT: in general, in countries where the people learn and have time enough to think of TPV and ESV, much more than in a country such as PH — that is in countries such as Greece, US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia — I note that there is a range of behavior, consisting of a mixed application of the components of TPV-TSE. In the end, there seems to me a significant component of Circumstances (you yourself implied or stated this in so many words) that drives the behavior:

    Behavior = TPV-TSE + Circumstances

    Also, if my observation is correct, recent history of these countries tells me that the scope of TPV-TSE application seem centered more on self and or family and only a small fraction on country and much much less on the world.

    Since in the PH, TPV-TSE and its scope of application is much less learned and thought/ discussed about in a coherent way, than in those countries mentioned, Circumstances, then, is consequently the main driver.

    I am really not saying anything new here, but I am just saying it, more to myself, drawing from thoughts of your thesis and how I see the situation in the PH in a broad-brush way.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      My reason for writing this essay is contained in the first sentence of Part 1: “The moral landscape is a wasteland.”

      There is no comprehensive moral guide.

      As to your formula:

      o Behavior is mostly TPV… and there is hardly any TSE to contain it.
      o TPV, we agree, is mostly centered on self and family.
      o As to Circumstances, it is mostly the cultural milieu which is a weird blend of pre-Hispanic, Hispanic, American, Western, Christian, Islamic, and what-not influences.
      o There is hardly any moral clarity in this milieu. Oh, sure, there are the Western notions of democracy and the Christian deontology rules, but the theoretical ideals in each are so far from what is in practice.

      So, yes, you see the situation rightly.

  6. Sup says:

    Just close your eyes for a while and try to imagine that after Gloria the next President elected would be Duterte….Empty state coffers, mediocre economy, hardly a reputation under diplomatic corps abroad, a rampant corruption system and hardly any large projects … How long would it take for Duterte diehards to turn against him? Ps. After Duterte Pnoy became President…..

    • Rather fascinating exercise. Two years, or three. Like now.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      It is hard to imagine a run of bad luck such as that.

    • NHerrera says:

      This may be relevant

      I took the SWS chart of the Net Satisfaction Rating of the Presidents from Cory to Duterte. Of the 6 Presidents, I examined the completed six year terms of Cory, Ramos, Arroyo and Pnoy. Since I don’t have all the data points for the quarterly ratings of the Presidents (in short, conserving this writer’s geriatric energy by searching, etc. 🙂 ) I decided to “eyeball” the trend line of the ratings. (I have enough experience on regressing trend lines that I believe my eyeball result is reasonably good.) See the link I posted at imgur below.

      I am only interested in the average coefficient of deterioration per year of the net satisfaction and not the starting point (thus, for example, Arroyo’s trend line will be viewed only from her last full-six-year term, the later six years of nine; the first 3 being “inherited from Estrada.”) I have not done the trend on Estrada and Duterte since their terms are uncompleted or still uncompleted in the case of Duterte.

      Here are the trend line coefficient numbers

      Cory: -8.5
      Ramos: -9.0
      Arroyo: -13.5
      Pnoy: -6.2

      One can assess these numbers in different ways. Note that all the Presidents with completed terms have negative trend lines — some more benign than the others.
      Without focusing on Pnoy’s number, let us instead focus only on Ramos, who had his strength in turning around admirably Cory’s electricity-brownout-years and in rallying all sectors of society to pull the ship of state in one direction (his rating mainly marred in the second half of his term by not satisfying the populace’s cry to save a convicted Filipina from the gallows of a foreign country).

      My question is: after six years, given the current situation and reasonable assumptions going forward, will the current President have a more benign trend line coefficient than Ramos? And why will that be the case?

      • Edgar Lores says:

        Thanks for this evaluation. It sums the comparative performance of the presidents as seen by the public through surveys. I wonder if this reflects, though, the comparative performance by “objective” indicators? I believe US presidents are ranked by historians more by moral categories than economic ones.

        By my lights, the current President will have a trend line coefficient more malignant than Arroyo’s.

  7. Sup says:

    Send it back Duterte/Cayetano…..?

    6 hours ago……..

    The European Union (EU) is reportedly planning to give another development aid worth 70 million euros to the Philippines despite the recent tirade by President Duterte.

    Former Senator Edgardo Angara, currently President Duterte’s special envoy to the EU, said this would be on top of the 250 million euros recently extended by the EU for peace and development efforts in Mindanao.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      Duterte and Cayetano are at odds on this one.

      o Cayetano says reject all aid.
      o Duterte says reject only those with conditions attached.

      What if the condition is for Marawi rehabilitation?

  8. Sup says:

    Here we go again….

    NAIA no more worse airport….

    Give credit to the REAL government Tulfo!!!!!

  9. Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

    Dilemma here, would want your input, please: (I apologize for the long post which is anecdotal, err famildotal, just skip it at your discretion)

    I understand that a dole out is different from a loan. As an upright uncle-in-law once said, “iba ang utang, iba ang bigay”

    One of my brother-in-laws have a needy cousin who kept on asking for loans after crying all over him with one sob story after another. To help out, he decided to shoulder the 4 years rather high cost of private secondary school expenses of one of her children – from tuition fees to books, uniforms, shoes and school service fees, not expecting to be reimbursed at all.

    Still not satisfied she kept asking for loans so frequently that she ended up with more than 300K total, promising to deed a piece of residential land in a subdivision somewhere in Antipolo. Before any papers have been drawn up and because of one emergency after another, he did not refuse the requested fund only to discover that the family has already sold the lot to another creditor. That’s a first cousin, mind you, not a stranger engaged in scam.

    Still, she promised to pay when their circumstances get better and they waited. And waited. And waited in vain. Repeated reminders only gave them a curt answer, “I’m trying to find somebody to give me additional loan, how can I pay you?” So my sister and I tried to help her, her husband and her eldest son get employed, thankfully we were able to do so and now, all three are gainfully employed and thriving but still no loan repayments are forthcoming.

    Fast forward…that brother-in-law wasn’t able to board his next ship assignment after he failed to pass his medical exam – he has uncontrolled blood sugar. Since his unemployment was rather unexpected, and they failed to save enough for his early retirement, things got difficult for them, financially speaking. He has car loans and credit card bills still to be paid and health emegencies came in a worrying frequency that tempers come flaring further aggravating thier health status. I sent my sister to an executive check-up confinement to find out once and for all what her medical issues are as well as her ICU confinement for a mild heart attack. I did not expect repayments, either… but their loans had to be settled, long story short, I ended up having to loan them a total of 300K over a period of three years.

    I tried to remind her cousin of the long outstanding loan as my brother-in-law has, unknown to me, been pawning their hard earned jewelries just to cover the cost of their subsistence and told her so. You know what she did? She and her other food buddies curtly said that “if you have done something good to someone, don’t dare remind him of that; don’t expect that to be given back”.

    I tried to make an in-depth analysis on where they are coming from and came up with this:

    It seemed that they took exception to my suggestion that they try to make a proper stewardship of what they are receiving by way of their combined earnings. I told them that I usually avail of interest free company and other types of loans (SSS/PAg-ibig), deposit all of them in the bank and then forget all about it, effectively saving more than 20% of my annual earnings for emergencies and.or investments. If they cannopt forego their sophisticated eating habits, why not shop in the supermarkets for snack items and other ingredients and cook the gourmet meals they are so fond of since she can cook well, instead of going daily to fast foods and specialty resturants and conveneince stores whose prices are tripled compared to supermarkets and malls. That way they can save money so they can help out the one person who came to their aid in their time of need, even a little bit per week will be a lot of help. That did not go well for her and her food buddies who fear a change in their comfort zones and lifestyles.

    I honestly believed that I was not overstepping the bounds by suggesting that proper stewardship thingy, In my honest belief, I was sharing what I learned in various JIL seminars in topics like Proper Stewardship over God’s blessings in my effort to help them settle their long outstanding debts, knowing that when their salary is not credited on time to their ATM cards, they are all whining left and right. It is mortifying to realize the truth in the adage – when you truly wants something done, there’s a way, if not, there’s always an excuse. “Pag gusto may paraan, pag ayaw may dahilan.” And I believe that non-payment of loans is tantamount to stealing, and alienating the uncles and aunts with my brother-in-law to save face is not ethical.

    • Iyan MG.. very typical stories that exist in every Filipino family.. and in the national family:

      1) the unmarried nerdy kuya who fixes the finances for 6 years is hated..

      2) while the irresponsible uncle who kills the poorest relatives, takes his favorites to malls on different Islands every week, spends the money saved and lends even more, is loved by those who like so many Pinoys want to be among the tsuwariwariwap (c) PAB na libre lahat..

      3) and the Chinese lenders laugh and say, wait and see, we own their house soon, and them.

      No surprises. Even during Marcos times, the middle class spent money that Marcos printed, that wasn’t there, only then things didn’t happen so fast and the punishment came later. Hut hasnt Philippine culture consistently failed the marshmallow test, again and again?

      • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

        True, in our province an OFW coming home for a short vacation is mobbed by relatives, jeeepney loads of them from the airport to his/her residence…friends and neighbors expecting pasalubongs and a chance to ask for loans. Binge drinking follows daily is naturally expected.

        Before the homecoming, regular money remittances are subject to disputes between wives and in laws…children were given gadgets galore, parties and all.

        Pretty soon, the poor OFW will have to process the contract again without delay as money is no longer there, no savings at all for the future.

        That has been called “sharing your blessings”. Enjoy life while you can, life is short and being stingy or kuripot will make you alone, ostracized by relatives and friends, no that cannot happen…never.

        Until such time you cannot get another contract due to health or war zones in places of employment.

        Exceptions are those wives investing in succesful businesses to prepare for leaner years, children who have finished schools because they are motivated enough to better their lives and not to win the race to get the latest version of popular gadgets or to be the most popular among their peers by endless partying with drinks, drugs and the latest fashion.

        • NHerrera says:

          Mary, it is sad how these “manna” or “Katas ng Saudi” has not been effectively used. I recall a time when my kids, then in HS, had to go to their school library to line up for some encyclopedia to do their homework. My daughter was commenting that a schoolmate didn’t have such problem, her Mom, the wife of an OFW, brought her the whole set of Encyclopedia Britannica. She also mentioned a lot of other things, including frequent lavish parties at her schoolmate’s home. Sorry to say, she and two siblings didn’t fare well — no one finished college. And the family was in a dire situation I learned years later.

          There are/ were many exceptions of course.

          • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

            Again proper stewardship and Virtue Ethics. Your children knew the value of self discipline as well, and they honored you with that knowledge. Honored and respected you to be able to give back by striving to be better than their peers, a reward on its own for your sacrifices.

            Congratulations sir NH.

        • Edgar Lores says:

          There is another aspect of OFW life. In Rappler, I read that some have fallen into the debt trap because of the expenses in looking for an overseas job.

          There are lending agencies connected to recruiting firms that will shell out loans at exorbitant interest rates for medical expenses, fees, and travel documents. For example, workers bound for Taiwan spend the first 8 months of their contracts paying off their debt.

          Some who find menial jobs in the Middle East are maltreated and do not get paid regularly, and are unable to meet the monthly repayments.

          Thankfully, there are more success stories than sob stories. And the country floats on the current of dollar remittances from the OFW army.

          • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

            Yes, sir Edgar…

            I find it hard to comprehend that a seaman who has already decades of boarding ships, already an officer at that, like my brother in law, trying to get another contract with the same firm has to enroll in weeks-long seminar to repeat all the trainings he had succesfuly undergone every year costing a lot, from 20K to almost 50K each time. Yes, and all for nothing as he failed to pass his medical exam right before he was to sign his second to the last contract (he planned to retire after 2 more ship boardings, planning to save most of his 150K per month salary as his nest egg.)

            • Edgar Lores says:

              Is the enrolment a government requirement or that of the hiring company?

              In either case, it is an absurd prerequisite considering his previous training and experience.

              • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

                Per my brother in law, it is an international maritime requirement, although being implemented yearly due to supposedly upgrades and innovations. Schools referred might, might give referral fees, marina, agencies all earn substantial amounts from this requirement.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                If nothing new has been introduced, or if your brother-in-law would be working with existing technology, then the international maritime body, perhaps at the behest of the hiring firm, should allow exemptions for proven years of experience.

                Or refresher courses should be designed and given for innovations and not a full basic course.

              • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

                Unfortunately, the hiring firm gets to enjoy a share of that stiff fees charged by the training school. For all we know, training schools are sister companies of hiring firms. Applicants are left with no choice. My brother in law did not complain saying that other people need to eat too and shrugged off the last cost of training that did not result in a new contract for him. That’s part of life, he says.

                My sister had to just grin and bear it as it’s her husband who has been suffering the hardships while on board the ships, and he quite enjoyed sharing his blessings to relatives and friends year in, year out…not knowing that his last 2 years of boarding he planned to establish his retirement funds will not materialize leaving her family with nothing but car loans and credit card bills to pay.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Ah, that would explain it. The hiring firms are getting something up front. If there are many applicants and only a few get hired, then the firms are subsidizing their labor costs even before their recruits step on board.

              • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

                That’s about it…On the brighter side of things:

                I remember a cousin in Batangas who had lost a lot of money trying to land a job overseas (a victim of illegal recruiters too many times over). Left with no more options, he went to a government agency and entered into a government-coordinated recruitment program which sent a lot of Filipinos to South Korea, free of charge. After the limited contracts (5 years), he was required to go home to give way to other Filipinos but he chose to stay in SK as TNT, worked here and there, running to the woods when immigration agents are spotted. For another five years, he worked, ran, worked and saved, ran some more and sent funds to his family, saved more until he got caught and forcefully sent back home. He now has a piggery, poultry business and 5 Videoke units he rents out throughout the barrio while his wife works in a factory nearby.

                I hear there is another government-coordinated recruitment program towards the end of Pnoy’s term, this time for caregivers, destination – Japan. There’s free language training; caregiving techniques as well.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Gusto ko sana sumingit pero di naman ako ang mat masalimuut na karanasan kundi si erpat.

                Mas mahirap maninggil sa kamag-anak.
                Charge to experience…..di naman lahat.
                Pero meron din naman kung magbayad lampas lampas pa, kaya I can not complain din..
                Parang sugal, win some lose some.

                There are still good people in this world.
                Let us not forget to count our blessings, I often forget that.

              • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

                Tama ka, Karl.

                Ang matindi kung pinalabas ka pang monster at devil dahil lang nag try kang maningil….haaaiiiist. Tapos yung dati mong friends naniwala ba naman…ay naku dahil lang food buddies sila. hahaha

      • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:


        1) the unmarried nerdy kuya who fixes the finances for 6 years is hated..

        2) while the irresponsible uncle who kills the poorest relatives, takes his favorites to malls on different Islands every week, spends the money saved and lends even more, is loved by those who like so many Pinoys want to be among the tsuwariwariwap (c) PAB na libre lahat..

        1) is Pnoy who’s hated now and has to spend his pension to defend himself at the Sandigang Bayan re his decision to enlist the services of a suspended general, destroyed and humiliated by MAD black propaganda to render his endorsement of Mar (who was also victimized) ineffective and to lay down the cunning and diabolical plan to install the irresponsible uncle Du30 as the next president.

        2) the now maligned OFWs bought the black propaganda and they constituted a very effective endorsement of the irresponsible man from the south – to whom? To their friends and relatives here in the country…most of whom have already and unthinkingly, gullibly swallowed hook, line and sinker the same black propaganda and fake news

    • That story needs to be broken apart and put back together again looking at what motivates each party. Guilt is a popular tool used hereabouts, and everywhere, I suppose, where gifts and grants for needy causes are pushed into the face of someone who just happened to be standing there. Then it’s partner, no responsibility or debt of gratitude is flipped upside down to condemn the gift-giver if he asks for a return of the donation. It makes no sense, through reason. It only makes sense through emotion when one is dealing with an emotionally damaged person, or persons. “No” to the first request for money would have been the only correct solution on hindsight. The generous giver did not factor ‘risk’ and ‘future’ into his calculus. My own solution is only to lend as much money as I am willing to see never come back. That means a lot of “nos”. I don’t partake of guilt because it is only me who is responsible for the financial future of me and my family. No one else.

      That helps no one in your case, but it may help others, in working this out. There are a lot of emotionally underdeveloped people in the PH, through no fault of their own. Lending money is a battle of emotions attached to future facts and can seldom be a reasoned exercise.

      • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

        I refuse to be a bleeding heart, hence my effort to help the needy cousin and cousins in law and their eldest son to have a gainful employment hoping that they could return the favor as their benefactor had suffered financial setbacks. They have the capacity to pay the loans but they don’t have the desire to do so. It’s the loan repayment we are after, not the financial aid, but alas…balasubas pala talaga. Bad debtors, they are.

        Quite unexpected as they are quite religious with the huge image of Mama Mary always in their homes for a week as arranged with their local church where they pray everyday together wilth the whole family and neighbors afterwhich they will partake of a feast prepared for the occasion.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      Mary, the situation you describe mostly falls under Virtue Ethics. Consequentialism is not involved. Deontology might be involved in the rule: “One must pay one’s debts.”

      But what you have described is not a legal situation as, I assume, there were no written contracts only verbal agreements. A series of loans in exchange for a piece of land.

      So the deontological rule is really a rule of duty in the realm of Virtue Ethics. That is, it is a moral obligation rather than a legal one.

      But it is a moral obligation that the needy cousin of your brother-in-law no longer recognizes. Add to this the bad faith in selling off the piece of land promised as collateral. So I would say there was no sincere intention to repay from the very start. There was only the intent to cheat and to take advantage.

      Now your sister and brother-in-law are in dire straits.

      You are within your rights to remind the needy cousin of her obligation.

      Other than that, there is no formal recourse that I can think of… unless there is another collateral asset? There might be one in the informal clan family structure. The expressed disapproval of the generational tiers — uncles and aunts, the grandparents, the cousins, the children, the grandchildren — might persuade the needy cousin to fulfill her obligation.

      It is a big ask considering your description of their undisciplined ways. The irony is that they have reversed the moral obligation (of loan repayment) and laid the moral (?) obligation (of not collecting the loan) on your back and that of your sister and brother-in-law.

      How people handle money is one of the surest ways of judging character.

      • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

        As far as I know, there were consistent efforts to collect to no avail. In the interest of maintaining mental and physical health, and to preserve family relation, they did so in a civil manner.

        The needy cousin and the husband are themselves the reason for the family’s relationship to turn sour and antagonistic from the usual warm and sweet one, with their thuggish attitude.

        The tragedy of it all is that the uncle is such a nice and amiable guy and I miss our usual friendly banter.

    • NHerrera says:



      That is a case of a loan based on payable-when-able terms which happens quite a lot with loans provided by relatives.

      Just to lighten the day from our very serious discussion here. 🙂

  10. popoy says:

    My simple, common sense understanding of a revolutionary government is that
    it is fueled by oppression from the top and a successful retaliation from BELOW.
    It is the government of the masses which displaced a legit government turned oppressive .
    To distort it’s true meanings in words and action is portentous and infantile. Any
    revolution from the top constitute aberration and corruption of governance.

    It is the dire amoral of what is moral, the barreness and nothingness of intentions.
    In a bright and trying day, a revolutionary government of whoever and whatever
    it is the coming of the darkest and longest night. The dawn will only come from
    heroism from below.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      The definition sounds right. Duterte is proposing a dictatorship.

      “It is the dire amoral of what
      is moral, the barrenness and
      the nothingness of intentions.

      In a bright and trying day,
      a revolutionary government
      of whoever and whatever.

      It is the coming of the darkest
      and longest night. The dawn will only come
      from heroism from below.”


    • karlgarcia says:

      Noon tinanong kita tungkol kay Duterte at ang iyong tugon ay mahaba ang iyong pisi kay Duterte.
      Ganun pa din ba hanggang ngayon?

      • popoy says:

        Karl MAHABA pa rin ang pise sa akin ni Du30, Pero yung dulo tila kita ko na. Maski Yabang lang parang Kitang-kitang ko Eh. IF and WHEN he chose to ride the tiger. Inside the cage na siya. Iba kasi ang pagkahulugan ko sa pisi. Mga post ko tungkol sa kanya mas paalala kaysa tuligsa. Nandyan naman ang mga apostoles ng TSOH Eh.

        Hindi haba ng pasensiya o paghanga. Puede din ang haba ng pisi haba rin nang hula, haba din ng haka-haka, maaring ang dulo hindi masagwa tulad ni Noynoy at ni Mar at ni Cardinal Tagle (puedeng maging first Asian Pope).

        Humaba ang pisi (hula) ko dahil sa ehemplo ni Dadong Macapagal, F. Marcos, Erap at Gloria Arroyo. Meron din pisi ng korapsyon at tapat na pamamahala. Dalawang pangalan Binay at Duterte, GINISA sa Senado, sa tingin ko, kita na mga tao ang dulo ng pisi nila kahit mahaba pa. Sori Karl sa dami ng sinabi ko sa maikling tanong mo. Kahit na-aalimpungatan gusto ko gising ako sa pancitan. Heto pa: Ang mga pilosopo kanila lang pilosopiya ang kinakampihan. Their philosophy I think is their only price. Lalo yatang lumabo Eh.

    • popoy says:

      read liked a poem

      My simple, common sense understanding
      of a revolutionary government is not vice versa
      BUT it is fueled by oppression from the top
      and a successful retaliation
      by the masses from BELOW.

      It is the government of have-nots
      which displaced a legit government
      turned oppressive.

      To distort its true meanings in words
      and action is portentous and infantile.
      Any revolution government from the top
      constitute dictatorship
      an aberration and corruption
      of democratic governance.

      It is the dire amoral of what is moral,
      the vileness maybe. but the barreness
      and nothingness of good intentions.

      In a bright and trying day,
      a revolutionary government rom the top
      of whoever and whatever
      warns of the coming of the darkest
      and longest night. Unless
      The dawn comes steadfast from
      heroism from below.

    • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

      Succesful retaliation from BELOW, just like Cory’s time after Edsa 1.

      Some radical groups are of the opinion that Cory missed the chance of a lifetime to achieve a thorough cleansing of the ravages left by decades of the Marcos plunderous and dictatorial regime and should have ruled under a revolutionary government until the end of her 6-year term. That way, the Marcoses and the remnants of his cronies and enablers who were left behind after the dictator fled the countr y could not have rebounded so the gains of the peaceful revolution could have been preserved. But then, it was not Cory’s way…restoration of democracy was her number 1 priority. She was able to negotiate for a lighter terms of repayment of the billions of dollars loaned to the Marcoses, most of which we know now as salted away in Swiis secrete accounts…the economy was poised to recover nicely but it was not meant to be, with Enrile and Honasan’s numerous coup attempts which succeded to derail the economy, destroyed lives and properties, something that the peaceful revolution was not able to do, the destruction, I mean.

      • popoy says:

        Cory’s character was her fate, She stayed in Character. That’s why her destiny is heroic. She knew kalawang ang sumira sa bakal na pinalitan niya. And she knew the characters of kalawangs who surrounded her. What could have been may not have been better for the Philippines. The Philippines still needs potent rehab and high quality construction. To demolish derelict old buildings the country needs better and heavier wrecking balls.

  11. Edgar Lores says:

    While I am twiddling my thumbs, let me address the moral issue at the center of the movie, “A Few Good Men.” This issue was raised by LCpl_X in Part 1 of this essay.

    1. The issue revolves around the issuance of a Code Red by Colonel Jessup. A Code Red is an extrajudicial punishment administered to an underperforming marine, a sad sack. The object of the punishment is to reform the sad sack into a dependable and professional soldier. However, in the movie, the administration of the Code Red ended in the killing of the sad sack named Willy.

    2. The issue is made complex by the number of personnel involved and the consequent corollary ethical issues. For example, Colonel Jessup considered what is his prime duty, whether to transfer Willy off base or to remold him. Deciding on the latter, he issued the Code Red order to two subalterns, and this raises the question of obedience or disobedience.

    3. To analyze complex ethical issues. It is necessary to break it down and simplify. Simplification means establishing the main constructs involved, identifying the normative ethical system, and stating the moral issue as a simple question.

    3.1. Like in discussing the Drug War, we concentrated only on Duterte and the mass killings of drug personalities. We ignored the police hierarchy and such corollary issues as vigilantism and the planting of evidence. We also classified the issue as primarily one of Consequentialism. And we asked the question, “Is the Drug War moral?”

    4. We will do the same in this Code Red case.

    4.1. We will ignore all intermediary actors and identify the constructs as:

    o Moral actor – Colonel Jessup
    o Moral object construct – Private Willy (Santiago)

    4.2. The moral act — the administration of a Code Red.

    4.3. The justification for the moral act is stated in the following Jessup quote:

    ” You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives! You don’t want the truth, because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like “honor”, “code”, “loyalty”. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline.”

    4.3.1. Note that Jessup uses the greater good of the Marines as his justification for ordering the Code Red. Therefore, this issue is primarily one of Utilitarianism.

    5. Let us begin the analysis.

    6. First, from the viewpoint of deontology, was Code Red a legal order? No, it was not.

    6.1. The judicial military training techniques that I am aware of are dressing downs, pushups, sit-ups, squats, cradling the rifle, and bivouacs carrying full packs.

    6.2. First conclusion: A Code Red, like the attempt to shave Willy’s hair, was extrajudicial.

    7. Second, from the viewpoint of virtue ethics, was Jessup’s order one of loyalty, honor, and duty?

    o Yes, he was being loyal to the Marines.
    o Yes, he was doing his duty to train.
    o No, he was not being honorable in issuing an illegal order.

    7.1. Second conclusion: Jessup was not being virtuous.

    8. Third and lastly, from the viewpoint of consequentialism, is the reform of Willy for the greater good of the greatest number of the Marines?

    8.1. Without a doubt, yes, under the original formulation of the Greatest Good Principle.

    8.2. However, under my revised formulation, the Code Red violated the Pareto Minority. Willy was not only worse off, he died.

    8.3. Third conclusion: The consequence was unacceptable.

    9. So given the simple analysis above, why is the Code Red issue considered a difficult case?

    9.1. The reason lies in the corollary issues but mainly in Jessup’s justification. When he speaks of the greatest number he is not only talking about the Marines. No, he is talking about saving the lives of the American people. In his mind, the wall that protects the people is his Truth. This is the Truth that other people cannot handle. This is the Truth that justifies all modes of action and all manner of moral trespasses.

    9.2. The question arises: Is Jessup’s Truth valid within the perimeters of the problem? Is it tenable for him to use the construct of the Nation to justify his action?

    I will throw this question to the floor.

    • The movie answers Question 9.2. with no. LCPL_X so far seems to say ‘it depends’.

      Most Filipinos might say no when they have just gone to Church, it depends if cornered about their support for Duterte and the drug war, and yes when drinking with the boys?

      • Edgar Lores says:

        1. Yes, I gather the answer in the movie is no.

        2. I like your comparison to the Drug War. Filipinos are indeed saying yes.

    • NHerrera says:


      There are two questions here.

      On the first question: my view is that based on the three filters or sieves as defined and explained in the blog and the framing in the current post, Jessup’s Truth or Justification does not survive the gauntlet, or as asked, is not valid.

      On the second question, there is a question of urgency and associated weight of the situation assessment.

      Let me use an example: the North Korean problem as assessed by the US. There may come a time when a technical red line is crossed by NK where A-1 intelligence shows that NK has all the technical problems solved — of ICBM range to hit any target on earth, accuracy, hydrogen bomb miniaturization and warhead re-entry issues — and electronic chatter and materiel movements verified an imminent launch of an ICBM with nuclear warhead to the US.

      In the example, a pre-emptive strike by the US on NK passes the filters.

      In the Jessup Case, we do not have such great urgency and assessment weight, and he had viable alternatives. So, the action is not justified.

      • Proportionality of means comes to mind. Easier for me to handle than so many sieves.

        Do I have to kill a suspect fighting back? Police can retreat and get backup.

        Do I have to kill a hostage taker? If it is needed to save other lives, maybe?


        Do I have to bully a soldier who might just be too weak for the assignment?

        Sun Tzu says use different kinds of wood where they fit best – reassign! etc. ..

        • Of course I am always talking about passing sieve 3 here.. the don’ts. The first sieve of the dos is also implied in my examples. Sieve 2..needs a second look I think.

          • Edgar Lores says:

            The Code Red issue can be looked at just using Sieve 2. I just used all sieves to be clear on all fronts.

            I agree Sieve 2 is the most complicated one in actual application.

        • Edgar Lores says:

          Code Red is bullying.

          I like Sun Tzu’s analogy to fitting in different kinds of wood.

          • Sup says:

            Happening now in the USA…

            Here’s how Sanders responded:
            “If you want to go after General Kelly, that is up to you. If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that is something highly inappropriate.

            Just in case you don’t get what Sanders is suggesting, it’s something like this: General Kelly is a highly decorated soldier. As such, questioning things that he says is “highly inappropriate.”
            That’s not how democracy works. Not at all. In fact, it’s the opposite of how democracy works.


      • Edgar Lores says:

        1. Agree on the no answer to the first question.

        2. Thank you for introducing the factor of urgency — a consideration of time. You are right, there is no urgency in the situation. I also agree with the no answer in the light of this factor.

        • NHerrera says:

          By way of paraphrasing and rounding up the points already made by you and Irineo above: of the three sieves of ethics described in the blog, the middle one — the Consequential Ethics — is indeed the one mostly used or implied by many, especially the pro-Admin groups, although crudely or vulgarly phrased by them. That along with the limited circle or scope of application used: self or family, rarely the country although they used that glibly (Exhibit A: Cayetano), and even more rarely, the world.

          • Country in the view of the authoritarian, old-school crowd = government = President.

            For constitutionalists of the 1986 school, country = state = people – the modern view.

            • Different definitions of destabilization, for example, are rooted on these differing premises. Destabilizing the power of the President is already seen as the same as destabilizing the country by some. These people also think the vote gives the President nearly a free hand..

              • NHerrera says:

                Nice, Irineo!

              • Edgar Lores says:

                The old school concept goes back to royalty and kingship and even further down into history.

                “L’etat, c’est Moi,” as Louis XIV (the Sun King) declared.

                o Royalty died in England in 1215. (With the signing of the Magna Carta.)
                o Royalty died in France in 1792. (With Louis XVI. Not XIV.)
                o American republicanism was born in the 18th century. (With the Declaration of Independence in 1776.)

                Republicanism is the idea that the people are sovereign.

                The 1899 Malolos Constitution envisioned a republic.

                o Artículo 3 La soberanía reside exclusivamente en el pueblo.

                Translated: “Article 3 Sovereignty resides exclusively in the people.”

                That was 118 years ago. The concept has been successively carried in the 1935, 1973, and 1987 constitutions. But still… old habits die hard.

          • edgar lores says:


            That is an interesting thought about pro-Admin groups.

            I have been toying with the idea that we have a personal preference for an ethical system.

            o Filipinos, on the whole, tend to be consequentialists. (The end justifies the means.)
            o Priests, naturally, tend to be deontologists.
            o Philosophers tend to be virtuists.

            On the personal level:

            o LCpl_X tends to be a consequentialist. (Results are all that matter.)
            o JoeAm is between a virtuist and a consequentialist. (Pragmatism is important.)
            o Chemrock is a virtuist.
            o Irineo is a deontologist (Sieve 3) by his own admission?

            In the last post, “Of Power and Truth,” Chemrock made a comment on LCpl_X’s query on whether it is now safer to walk the streets at night. In part, he said: “For me, this type of scenario is very troubling. Difficult to philosophize at times, but sometimes it’s really easy. I guess it’s situational.” And I remarked, “Interesting comment.” When I made that comment, I had this idea of a personal preference.

            I tend toward Buddhism which sees motivation as all important. I am primarily a virtuist. But with this synthesis of the three normative systems, I tend to be a generalist.

            • NHerrera says:

              Good and short-and-sweet profiling!

            • “Virtue Ethics is being true to oneself. Consequentialism is being true to others. And Deontology is being true to God and Country.”

              oLCpl_X tends to be a consequentialist. (Results are all that matter.)”


              I’d say for sure I have no Deontology sieve (or if I do, I don’t use it as deontology, but virtue, for me);

              I’d say I’m both a virtueist and consequentialist also (but of a different sorts from Joe) ,

              essentially my premise in our drone debate was that All murder’s bad (very Jainist notion, but I don’t use this jain precept as deontology, I myself feel that All murder is bad, ie. true to myself).

              Then I weigh good , for me first, (the assumption here is that my preference for Austerity allows me a better vantage from which to tell good-better-best to good-bad-to worst, ie. all the John Muir talk), the environment, and then others (assuming here Others like petty stuff, like iPhones, malls, parking lots, fast cars, etc. which is to say most of the time– if not all– against the interest of the environment, hence against me).

              So yeah, I only use 2 sieves.

              (sorry, i didn’t post yesterday… the weekend started early for me, now can only post this quick one— though I’m still stoked MRP’s back , I saw that ‘tongue lashing’ bit … now redacted, by the way, MRP, classic!!! 🙂 ,

              but will be back at weekend’s end. won’t pursue Ethics of EJKs now, rather push the idea of the B-C new middle class’ perspective of EJK and how that’s Ethical to them, using the 3 sieves. Be back! Great read all. Thanks!)

              • Edgar Lores says:

                That summation of the three ethical systems quoted from the essay is significant.

                In Zen Buddhism, Norman Fischer notes that there are three levels of precept reality in relation to the problem of good and evil:

                o Relative (or literal)
                o Compassionate
                o Absolute

                I think these levels correspond to virtue ethics, consequentialism, and deontology respectively.

                As I have noted virtues can be vices. They are relative.

                Consequentialism is about others. In its original formulation, it is compassionate in intention, but as expressed, it does not guarantee compassion. Hence, the importance of the two amendments of duration and equity.

                Deontology I would say is the highest form — the absolute essence — of ethics. Here we arrive at self-evident truths that are axiomatic in nature. No proof is required. Human rights. Liberty. And so on.


                On a personal note, I think we are all born virtuists in a narrow sense. By this I mean, we are mainly concerned with Self. It is only later that we grow into the broad sense of loyalty, honor, and duty to others.

                I would apply the dichotomy of narrow and broad to each ethical system.

                A narrow consequentialist only considers the ingroup. A broad consequentialist considers both the ingroup and the outgroup.

                A narrow deontologist only considers his absolute truths. A broad deontologist considers the absolute truths of others.

              • “Deontology I would say is the highest form — the absolute essence — of ethics. Here we arrive at self-evident truths that are axiomatic in nature. No proof is required. Human rights. Liberty. And so on.”


                I definitely think that there are Laws of Nature, similar to how I belief in Murphy’s Law, but to say these are “self-evident truths” is IMHO virtue/vice also. For example, Do animals and/or single celled organisms exercise Animal Rights, Human Rights and Liberty? And so on?

                If these “self-evident truths” are “axiomatic in nature”, why don’t animals exercise Animal Rights, Human Rights and Liberty? Or am I just wrong here and we were not prey (before we over-populated the hell out of Earth?)? ‘splain “axiomatic in nature”, edgar?

                I know there’s “No proof” required, as stated, but what you’re saying just doesn’t jibe.

                (just this quick comment for now, gotta run again, be back).

              • Edgar Lores says:

                1. Good question.

                2. There is no duality.

                3. I have been talking about normative ethics within the dimension of human-to-human interaction. But there is another dimension that we have not touched on. This is the dimension of human-to-natural world interaction.

                4. If you read my original essay on “The Hierarchy of Loyalties and Ethics Part 1 – The Making of a Model,” you will find that my initial concept of the Hierarchy extends to this other dimension.

                5. To quote from the essay: “I have extended the model downwards to include what I call the Physical Sustenance Hierarchy (PHSH – pronounced “push” like the word to invoke babies). These are non-human constructs that also command, to varying degrees, man’s loyalty. Like the top Hierarchy, they also sustain his psychological well-being but more importantly they nourish his physical being. A quick glance will show that the elements are arranged in a descending level of order that is reflective of that inexplicable attribute called consciousness:”

                6. This is the diagram that shows both dimensions of the hierarchy:

                7. The ethical issues in this second dimension are varied and, quoting from the essay, include:

                o Should we eat Ben, our pet pig?
                o How do we humanely treat animals that we use for food?
                o Should we all be vegetarians?
                o Are we taking enough care of our planet to sustain future generations?
                o What is the protocol for visiting extraterrestrials?

                8. I would consider your question of animal rights under this dimension, but I have not fully developed my thoughts on the matter. So my full answer will have to wait for another time.

                9. Please keep your tone respectful — watch it — and do not return to your obnoxious self.

    • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

      Back to A Few Good Men

      Jessup’s Truth is within his own narrow world to justify his unethical order to escape accountability much like Du30’s justification for his drug war and eventually his dream of ruling a revolutionary government.

      Here’s hoping there are more and not just a few good men in the AFP who will think of the whole stateand the whole citizens, that PA’s 80% and SWS 67 % notwithstanding… also that more good men in the AFP will not equate Du30 and his enablers as the state.

      • Edgar Lores says:

        Mary, you make a good distinction with the phrase the “narrow world.” The construct of State is distinct from the construct of People. This distinction is congruent with Irineo’s differentiation between the old-school crowd and the new constitutionalists.

        The Consitution says, “The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State.”

        The military should defend both the State and the People. Where there is conflict — as when the State oppresses the People — the military should give priority to the defense of the People.

        I think a further distinction should be made between the State and the government of the day. The military should protect the State from foreign invasion. However, it is the right of the People to resist an oppressive government-of-the-day. And, if necessary, to overthrow the current government.

        Irineo’s observation is spot on: “Destabilizing the power of the President is already seen as the same as destabilizing the country by some.”

  12. karlgarcia says:

    What about the comments of this nation does not move forward because if too many laws and too many technicalites.

    Legislators are there to simplify and update but end up making it more complicated.

    • “Sa iyo ang Batas,sa akin ang Katarungan” is the name of an old Tagalog action movie – ‘Thine is the Law, Justice is Mine”. Often the Filipino idea of justice is from a personal viewpoint only.

      Randy David recently wrote that most Filipinos distrust institutions, as they screwed them from colonial times onwards and afterward – precolonial Philippines had no real institutions, leadership and justice was informal, the datu was either makatarungan or was not..

      As for NHerrera’s comment of Consequentialist Ethics being used crudely or vulgarly by the pro-Admin groups, that is exactly the post-colonial form of misapplied law as injustice. You are rich and powerful, the law is interpreted in your favor, if not you land in jails much like those in Pirates of the Caribbean or worse, practically for life. If at least the Secretary of Justice wore a wig like those worn by British or Singaporean judges, or Jamaican ones, it would look cool..

      Most Filipinos today are like city dwellers of Medieval up to 18th century Europe who were relieved when the “bad people” were executed. They have not yet realized what Solhenitzyn wrote, that the front between good and evil goes through every man’s heart.

      Most will quote something from the Old Testament, while a lot of things from the New Testament have probably not yet arrived in the Filipino mindset of today.

        • accounts of trials in Spanish colonial times say that rivaling native groups tried to come in as great a number as possible – even then the idea of “many makes right” was common it seems.

          This cultural belief is what troll armies use to their advantage – “everybody says something”. There really are people who believe De Lima is guilty because “everybody say she is”. This was how gossip worked in the simple communities of old. An affidavit is often signed gossip..

          • karlgarcia says:

            Muchas Gracias Irineo!

            • The idea of a conflict being not between right or wrong, but between rivalling groups is what underlies all of this I think. That is why some say – what is wrong with Duterte impeaching the Chief Justice and the Ombudsman, didn’t Aquino do the same? Maybe the other group does NOT have that sense of right or wrong on a national scale yet, AT ALL, while Magdalo, the “yellows” and the left have it, even if their definitions and interpretations may vary..

              Backtrack to MGs conflict with family members because of utang – Edgar suggested to go to some mutually respected elders to try to solve the conflict. The entire idea of courts in the past grew out of mutually respect older persons in the community, mature and experienced enough to see the common good beyond petty rivalries. No need for white wigs and robes yet, then.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Sauce for the geese is the same sauce for the gander.

                Council of elders.
                Even the SC calls for an amicus curiae(spelling)
                or friend of the court.
                MG’s case is felt by most families.
                Even financial advisors are at a loss when ir comes to family.
                I read a series about hospital expenses and that financial expert just said he would not know what to do if it happened to him.
                But he tolf his readers to prepare for such eventualities.

              • edgar lores says:

                “Rivalling groups” echoes the discussion on the distinction between insiders/outsiders and ingroup/outgroup in the previous blog. As Chemrock observed, “Thugs and tards of the same amygdala, flock together.”

                And this, in turn, traces back to the virtue of loyalty (to the flock) in the Loyalty Triangle.

              • karlgarcia says:

                We see many kingdoms, institutions fell not because of lack of loyalty or even treason.
                It maybe simple infighting for simpler reasons.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Before I refuse to believe that they see it as we against yellow, but even post from dds relatives prove that it is thr case, pati tuloy mga jamag-anak ko tingin ko di na marunong tumingin sa tama at mali pero di ko sinasabi ng harap harapan baka magkasumpaan pa dahil lang sa pulitika.
                Sa pera na nga lang nagkakasamaan na ng loob sa pulitika pa.

          • edgar lores says:

            That last sentence… shades of MRP!

      • NHerrera says:

        What a getup — the wig and the robe: the heat and the associated smell that goes with that. Nope, I definitely don’t want to be a “Justice Man,” Irineo.

      • edgar lores says:

        Where’s the Like button?

      • karlgarcia says:

        Justice is a lady celebrate justice ………

        Justice is supposedly blind because of the blindfold, but the weighing scale means justice favors the heavier………just an observation, it is not always balanced as it should be.

  13. Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

    What could be their ethical justification for the insistence of the supermajority congress to turn themselves into a constitutional assembly to rewrite the constitution and:

    1) change our presidential system to a federalism/parliamentary form of government and/or

    2) transform an already dictatorial pseudo democratic form of government to a revolutionary one so that Du30 can rule over the whole country as if she is an expanded Davao City, create laws and act like a king/ruler/mayor for life with his family members to succeed him as they do in Davao

    We need to prevent this unethical supermajority in Congress from turning this country into several fiefdoms led by family dynasties equipped with enough firearms lest we become like Libya, Iraq & Iran with civil war in the offing. US and allied intervention was not enough in those countries where tribal and civil wars continued to create chaos, mayhem, and destruction.

    • karlgarcia says:

      From what I understand a revolutionary government voids the constitution.
      Now can a president do this on his own if he perceives that there is government take over?
      Stranger than fiction things have happened before.

      • popoy says:

        Karl You said it already Eh: . . . THINGS HAVE HAPPENED BEFORE. Marcos had done it with the help of some jellyfish testicles in the Supreme Court and the clueless raising of hands by the Barangays.

      • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

        For sure, the super majority will not impeach their lord Du30 for violating his oath of office if he voids the constitution by declaring a revgov.

        The AFP as protector of the state should step in and be with democratic loving people. They should not be the Armed Forces of Du30.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      The first item is on the table for the Con Ass to consider. The second item may not be. It’s an extraconstitutional maneuver that Duterte is contemplating.

      I am in favor of a Con Con. A Con Ass is not to be trusted.

      The current hurdle to the calling of a Con Ass is the role of the Senate. Whether the senators will vote separately or vote together with the House to meet the three-fourths requirement.

      This is important: the senators should vote separately. If not, all is lost.

      There are currently 23 senators, so 17 senators will constitute three-fourths. (Leila is incarcerated, but 17 (?) senators will still make three-fourths.)

      It will take 6 senators to defeat an amendment.

      These may be the 6 that can be counted on: Drilon, Pangilinan, Bam, Trillanes, Hontiveros, and Recto.

      If this holds true, it looks like an uphill battle for the Administration. (If in their view, the battle is unwinnable, they may wait until after the 2019 elections and hope for an easy 3/4 majority.)

      The Undecideds might be Binay and Lacson (?).

      (Binay would be in the hot seat. But she may be controlled by promises/threats to her father.)

      My opinion.

      • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

        Du30, IMO, is impatient, could not wait for con ass, con con to do the work for him or for the possibility of the group of 6 to defeat an amendment. Impeachment left and right and the TRAIN deliberations take time.

        It is his long dream to rule via revolutionary government as expressed in his interview with Maria Reza during the campaign season, with the military and police as the enforcing arm.

        Pedrosa’s defense and his reliable propaganda machine in the social media are busily preparing the minds and hearts of the whole citizenry with his supermajority looking on salivating for one to sawa rule one way or another.

        His antagonistic remarks against the jeepney drivers and operators, I think, are meant to provoke them, supported as the are by the left leaning groups to organize more rallies, strikes and one hint of violence could trigger a declaration of a revolutionary government.

        Heck, could be in the rally being coordinated by the church on Nov 5, infiltrated by enough provocateurs.

        In these cases, I hope and pray to be proven wrong, God help us if I’m right.

  14. popoy says:

    The Presidency as Life of a Nobody

    Easily it comes to the minds
    not of those with narrow and feeble ones
    that the life of a President must not be that hard
    like it is of rich public servant with
    lots and lots of his own public servants
    to do his biddings and whatever he wants.

    Like a paid house servant everything
    is fix and dandy by his oath and duty.
    Unlike a King everything in public service
    has long been made total ready for him.

    Whaaat ? Is this the new politik nonsense?
    The President truly is number one
    the most reverend, honorable, and righteous;
    the highest authority, His Excellency.

    Thaaat , my dear Watson is the theory.
    Napakasakit, mabigat Kuya Eddie to think
    that in practice and reality:
    that is the dung and rubbish of a polity.


    The President is the only adult made by Law
    who can sleep the longest hours like a new born baby,
    only to wake up when something is wrong with his ecology.

    Like a baby Providence gave him his OATH as his milk
    Like an adult his people gave him the CONSTITUTION
    As the framework of his Ten Commandments,

    The President can play golf or make love all s(he) likes
    The President can see the world using state visits
    The President if he likes can be
    with his people anytime anywhere.

    Neither theory nor reality not a bullet or a bomb
    but The Law, ONLY THE LAW and a JAIL can forbid
    the President what HE CANNOT DO.

    He can be a NOBODY if he wants to
    if he can make ALL PUBLIC SERVANTS
    live and work by their OATHS of office,
    do their duties, obey and NOT BREAK the Law.

    His cabinet and their employees in Health,
    Education, Labor and Employment,
    Public Works, Transportation, Agriculture,
    Natural Resources, Foreign Affairs, Etcetera.

    Let all of them public servants: Justices to janitors;
    His Consultants, Secretaries, Directors, Chairpersons
    and the battalion of what ever paid for by taxpayers
    DO THEIR JOB or get fired or jailed without exception.

    Them agencies and departments personally give him
    achievement reports or briefings regularly
    Only then can a President be a NOBODY
    and sleep angelic like a new born baby.

    There is so much eche bucheche in the presidency
    Theory and abstraction makes esoteric what’s simple duty.
    Politics and ethics, law and economics intellectualize
    leaders and followers, just to reach the apex of their full potential.

    Simplified as the above piece of Edgar but with a little twist
    In a hierarchy of existence and significance
    God stands alone at the apex in divine omnipotence
    Leader and followers as the self in a concentric list of existence
    lies not at the center but the outermost periphery of a universe
    where God is nucleus and all his creations only peripherals.

    It might be faulty thinking but can be imagined
    The President as Self may go and be gone
    But the family remains ; some families may go
    but the community remains or some be gone
    still the church remains, some churches be gone
    yet country remains, a country totally destroyed
    surely the world remains, when the world is gone
    of course, God and his universe remains.

    When this abstraction explodes rather implodes
    in the circle of playful intellection, it is fix
    God is nucleus and all his creation only peripherals.
    October 21, 2017

    • Edgar Lores says:

      Aha, you have reversed the Hierarchy of Loyalties and placed God in the center. You are saying all things flow from God.

      My original diagram can be interpreted to say God encompasses all things.

      So the concept is virtually the same.

      The paradox of non-duality, of two-in-oneness, is found in the Gnostic identification of the outer with the inner and the inner with the outer.

      “Jesus said to them, ‘When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner as the outer, and the upper as the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male shall not be male, and the female shall not be female: . . . then you will enter [the kingdom].’ ” – The Gospel of Thomas

    • NHerrera says:

      Hahaha. You two are talking einsteinian physics garbed in religious terms. I am out of my depth here, but still reading and trying to understand the to-and-fro, if only to hold alzheimer’s at bay.

      • NHerrera says:

        Here is an example of einstenian logic (with my apologies to my idol, A.E.):

        On the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s plan to send a team to observe the trial of de Lima when it commences, here is Andanar:

        “We should stand up to this kind of meddling into our domestic affairs. Their intent is not to merely observe De Lima’s trial by our laws, but to meddle in our democratic as well as judicial processes …

        “Over and over, pronouncements from the IPU portray the Philippines as a lawless nation when there is abundant evidence to the contrary.” (Highlighting, mine.)

        • Edgar Lores says:

          There are several perspectives on the matter.

          But first a clarification: when you say einstenian logic (I note the small “e”) are you referring to:

          o (a) “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
          o (b) “Everything is relative.”
          o (c) “God does not play dice with the universe.”

          My assumption is (a).

          First perspective. Andanar’s first observation is consistent with the observer effect in quantum physics: “Simply observing a situation or phenomenon necessarily changes that phenomenon.” However, I would quibble with Andanar’s use of the word “meddle” defined as to “interfere in something that is not one’s concern.”

          Second perspective. I note that you have emphasized the world construct in your comments. Andanar, like China, is wrong in that he ignores this higher construct. Everything in the world affects us. In theory, this is the butterfly effect of Chaos Theory. In practice, we are a member of several world bodies and we are bound by our international commitments and covenants. The world, as represented by the IPU, is not interfering but doing it’s duty. For example, we allow international observers to watch over the conduct of elections.

          Third perspective. Leila is a political prisoner. The Judiciary has been remiss in its duty. Justice Carpio has called the recent Supreme Court decision “one of the grossest injustices.”

          Fourth perspective. Your highlighting of the phrase in Andanar’s second observation is indeed einsteinian logic. If there is abundant evidence to the contrary to the claim that the Philippines is a lawless nation, there is also abundant evidence in consonance with the claim. Perhaps the abundance in consonance is more abundant than the abundance to the contrary. No, there is no “perhaps” about it.

          Without a detailed analysis, Andanar fails the test of the three sieves. One can see he is not honorable. Leila is a Pareto Minority. And her incarceration is not only a cause of great harm to her being and the body politic, but also a theft of the days of her life.

          • sonny says:

            I agree to (a) choice since of the three e-analogs to ethics, choice (a) comes closest to the axiom that the speed of light is an absolute constant (physics) like existence of God is an absolute constant (metaphysics).

            Note: to my mind, Einstein’s mind comes closest to alignment to Christian thought, viz Aquinas, Augustine & Anselm. These three fell in love (agape) with God-revealed, Christ.

          • NHerrera says:

            edgar, sonny: Item (a) re Andanar’s “brillant” statements. Thanks to both your notes.

  15. popoy says:

    Anoo? Einsteinian ? Ano yun? Hah, hah,

    Itong si Andanar at iba pa, Mga anak ng . . . . este Mga Anak lang ba
    ni Freddie Aguilar ang mga ito? Sige nga pakinggan si Freddie.

    Mukhang maki ang lyrics, baka nyong baguhin.
    Kahit ano pa, maganda pa rin ang musical composition eh.

    • popoy says:

      Naalala ko pa
      Kainitan ng bakbakan para sa kalayaan
      Nasa Pagadian ang tropa ko
      Mga research assistants gaganda
      Matatalinong dilag ng Diliman
      Naatasan pagaralan PADAP
      Impact daw ng Australian Project
      Ilang sunod sunod na gabi
      sa ibaba ng aming bintana
      may dalang kariton naghaharana
      mga kantang Tagalog nakaumang
      sa bansa hindi sa mga dalaga
      Tanong ko Sino ba sila? Okay ba?
      Sir, MGA ASIN sila,, mga peaceful
      Nagpapahiwatig, Pabayaan nyo lang sila.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Di lang anak ni Freddie pati na rin anak ng Pasig
      Everything is relative, or everyone are relatives so if there is a will there are relatives.

  16. andrewlim8 says:

    How do I dress up as a bank waiver for Halloween? It’s the scariest thing in town these days. 🙂

    • Edgar Lores says:


      Dress up as a P500 bill, the one with Duterte on it, and wave your arms.

      Don’t know if the Duterte bill is a real one… but it’s scary.

  17. karlgarcia says:

    Human rights is always brushed aside by Duterte and his followers.

    For our feference and guidance.

    Click to access training9chapter1en.pdf

    International Human Rights Law and the role of the legal profession.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      Karl, thanks.

      There is a gross contradiction, a cognitive dissonance, in Duterte’s dismissal of human rights as shit.

      Is not the rationale of the Drug War the human rights of the non-addicted people?

      I haven’t read all of your offering but this right here says it all, a self-evident truth:

      “Human rights are inherent in all members of the human family.

      Human rights are thus universal and inalienable rights of all
      human beings.”


    • popoy says:

      Karl, thanks. I was long a trainor and was curious so I click the link
      you gave about training. As I scrolled the headings and
      lead paragraphs, the past streamed by and I wrote for a start . . .


      Think of cave men days
      there was no human rights then
      think of Adam and Eve
      to the days Moses and God’s Commandments
      then marvel at the philosophy of SPA
      who are Socrates, Plato and Aristotle
      to the days of the Caesars of Rome
      and the birth and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

      Then like Father time take a pause for
      a few centuries while as humans traveled
      along the road from simplicity to complexity
      from days of barbarity to modernity
      improving hunting and fishing to building
      monuments of habitat, towns, cities, metropolis
      waging internecine feuds and war of conquests,
      to epochs of revolution, reconstruction, followed
      by renaissance and reformation.

      Yes, it’s centuries counted by fingers in both hands
      Almost a millennium for the seeds to flower
      to bloom; for human rights to make man
      truly above the trees and animals in
      world’s forest called civilization.

      So? So what? Why not read on the UN Declaration?
      Human rights saga can be lengthy ILIAD
      If Homer is alive and chose to write about it.

      • popoy says:

        to continue being merely deductive . . .

        HR is O2

        Human rights is Oxygen
        Humans cared not to notice
        Until they start losing it.

        Oxygen by itself is LIFE
        Until death turns it into
        hydrogen and nitrogen,

        Body and soul really
        Is organic and Inorganic
        chemistry; the ever changing
        permanent content of
        the larger human universe.

      • When Cain asked his father Adam, “am I my brother’s keeper”? there is no recorded answer.

        Did it really take millennia until the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to answer: YES?

        • Edgar Lores says:

          Given that the UHDR was just signed in 1948, less than a century ago, perhaps we should not be so hard on ourselves. Since it took millennia to reach that point in 1948, perhaps we should give it another millennium or two for it to be entrenched in the man’s consciousness and be adopted worldwide.

          But, I keep thinking, at least our national leaders must be schooled in the precepts.

  18. Sup says:

    This morning in my Facebook messenger..

    ”Sa mga supporters ni Tatay Digong ipakalat po sa lahat ng ka DDS. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help me spread this news…..according to our source who works with a liberal party politician, the yellow and oligarchs abroad hired I.T. experts / hackers to hack selected Philippine Banks to create a problem to pull down the economy………….this is confirmed and need to spread the news immediately THIS IS A FORWARDED MESSAGE. LET’S PRAY FOR OUR NATION PHILIPPINES AND TO OUR BELOVED PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE. GOD BLESS FILIPINO NATION.
    Dipo ito
    mahirap ipasa. Salamat po.”

  19. karlgarcia says:

    I think your example of ten commandments is institutional, granted that an individual must follow or else( also consequential) it is the whole congregation that must obey or else.

    As per usual you can always correct me.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      I think in olden times the concept of the individual, of the Self, was not as pronounced as it is in modern times.

      A person belonged to the tribe and a person was known for the role he/she played in the tribe.

      The Tablets of the Ten Commandments were handed to Moses as the tribe, the children of Israel, looked for the Promised Land. The tribe was fleeing from the highly stratified society of ancient Egypt, where they worked as slaves.

      Exodus 24:12 says: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” [Bolding mine.]

      So you are right or, rather, half-right. The Ten Commandments was addressed to “them,” the Israel tribe as a congregation. I have just learned that the term congregation has, in fact, the connotation of “the people of Israel.” (Refer to the fifth definition in

      In modern times, the West maintains the Christian tradition of the Decalogue. However, there are now multiple indistinct tribes and society is highly individualized. So it is the Christian family unit and the individual, and no longer the tribe, who follow and carry the commandments.

      The Filipino Christian nation — collectively and individually — pay lip service to the commandments.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I guess when Christians say church, it means the people ot the Christians themselves. I don’t know if this confuses more, if church is every individual…..forget it.

        • Edgar Lores says:

          In my understanding, the “church” primarily refers to people, secondarily to the building, and tertiarily to the institution.

          A church is a gathering of people engaged in worship. (Primary meaning.)

          It may be that they gather and worship in a building, and that building can be called a church. (Secondary meaning.)

          It may be that the building belongs to a greater religious organization. (Tertiary meaning.)

          Can a church be a gathering of one? I don’t think so. It is a collective noun.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Many thanks for the enlightenment and clarity.
            And you explain in an orderly fashion.

            • Edgar Lores says:

              I should add, the specific usage of the term is derived from the context in which it is used.

              • sonny says:


                In the Catholic Church, church with capital “C” is nuanced from church with small “c”.

          • popoy says:

            Margaret T., Britain’s or UK’s Iron Lady
            Says there’s no such thing like SOCIETY.
            An invention of the mind, it does not exist
            To fret, worry, debate and fight about it is crazy.

            A church or a chapel if not a building
            to the mindless is nothing but an intangible invention
            for good or bad or insidious whatever
            defines a gullible from a pious man or charlatan.

            • Edgar Lores says:

              The Iron Lady is half-right. Abstract constructs are just that — abstract — but they are nevertheless real. And we interact with abstract constructs in reality.

              A nation, as well as a church, is an abstract creation. True, a nation has mountains and rivers just like a church has walls and spires, but each construct is more than the totality of its material components.

              Society is as much the individuals composing it as well as the institutions and traditions that bind it. When we write a comment, which is an abstract concept, we address it to the Society of Honor, which is an abstract construct. And the blogs of the Society are addressed to the Philippines, which is an abstract construct.

              Abstract ideas are realized into concrete existence.

              • popoy says:

                Thanks for the prompt explain Edgar. M. Thatcher was iron lady and PM, and I am just molecules.

              • Yuval Noah Harari mentions the capability for abstraction as the major leap of mankind in his book “A Short History of Mankind”. Of course there are those incapable of abstraction, I am not mentioning any Presidents or Mayors here, as I do not wish to destabilize their brains.

      • The idea of one God kept people together for a while. But when the Jews were in the desert, they started to worship idols. Moses went up the mountain, and had to come back with the Ten Commandments.Common morals are useful to keep large communities together without having to resort to fear which God-Kings and Warlords did, or rely only on faith in God. When the Spanish missionaries introduced the Ten Commandments to the natives from 1521 onwards, after Magellan and his men introduced the missionary position to native women, the natives were genuinely confused. What if I want to kill my enemy? What if I feel lust for someone who is not my wife? Some say according to Manny Pacquiao, if she is not your neighbor’s wife it is OK. What I have heard from the diwatas of old is that the natives introduced two more commandments, in order to be able to adjust old ways to the new order of things:

        11th Commandment: Thou shalt not get caught.
        12th Commandment: If caught, thou shalt not admit.

        • Stage 2) Villages: agriculture is more efficient in sustaining larger groups, but once people have more you need to regulate property. Conflicts were settled by going to the chief, a role the barangay captain has until today. Germanic tribes had primitive versions of today’s American juries – trial by councils, and simple forms of democracy with village assemblies.

          Stage 3) Warlords started in places where there were many people around big rivers that made large-scale agriculture possible. They controlled the people who worked the fields by fear and took their surpluses. Nebuchadnezzar was Babylonian, in the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. These often shifted their course, causing fertile areas to change, with numerous conflicts as a result. The epic Gilgamesh and the movie 10000 BC show the shift from villages to warlord-run cities.

          Stage 4) Pharaohs and Chinese Emperors were the first God-Kings. Pharaohs maintained control of both the upper areas of the Nile and the lower areas and controlled water and harvest distribution. Cats were holy in ancient Egypt because they guarded the granaries. The novel Ancient Evenings by Norman Mailer shows how Pharaoh Ramses was head of the harvest and fertility cult of Egypt. Women adored him. He even shows his erection at a harvest festival. God-Kings also made final decisions, literally over matters of life and death, war and peace, by themselves.

          Stage 5) Prophets were rebels. Moses led slaves out of Egypt, the Pharaoh pursuing him. The idea of one God kept people together for a while. But when the Jews were in the desert, they started to worship idols. Moses went up the mountain, and had to come back with the Ten Commandments. Pirates were also rebels. Greek democracies had their origins in mercantile city-states, but it is clear that the Greeks started as pirates. Troy was simply a pirate raid on a rich city run by warlords. Pirates in the Carribean also had some form of democracy. Vikings also did.

          Stage 6) Moral lawmakers. Moses became a moral lawmaker with the 10 Commandments. St. Paul of course was a more prolific moral lawmaker, his Letters to different Greek and Roman cities were lectures on how to behave correctly. Common morals are useful to keep large communities together without having to resort to fear which God-Kings and Warlords did, or rely only on faith in God. Bonifacio with his Kartilya and Mabini with his Dekalogo also tried to give Commandments to the Filipino people. One of Bonifacio’s Commandments was to respect women.

          • Edgar Lores says:

            So we have slid down from Stage 6 to Stage 4. Not good.

            • popoy says:

              Edgar, if those are stages of Cancer, the backslides of stages from stage 6 to stage 4 isn’t far enough. It’s like a journey back from being earth bound roaming spirits to inside casket for funeral viewing.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Ah, the poetic imagination!

              • I invented Stages 1 to 7 to model the theory somehow.. but there are those who say the greatest mistake was agriculture (greater productivity, but also more diseases from the livestock, including the common cold from the pigs), the next greatest was industrialization..

                look at every major city on a map, does it not look like a metastasis. The greatest mistake many say was the computer.. – but of course regressing can lead exactly to the likes of Duterte:

                The country is now ruled by Thanes who worship power and hate knowledge, while exploiting the many weak and ignorant:

                “And of course ideas are a poor substitute for true power. True power lives in the bone. It courses through the blood. Even you should be able to see that. We are men. We were meant to be warriors. We were meant to exist in a wild world.”

                Their secret enemies are the Memorialists, people devoted to keeping the memory of the civilized past alive in a present where even writing things down – called trace – is prohibited. Units of measurement – called accounting by the memorialist rebels – are outlawed, numbers above forty are forgotten, the last person who could read or write died ten generations ago. The memorialists rely only on memory passed on by secret word of mouth.

          • sonny says:

            Stage 2) Villages: agriculture is more efficient in sustaining larger groups, but once people have more you need to regulate property.

            From 5000 BC settlers on the fertile land of southern Mesopotamia (now Iraq), known then as Sumer, founded the beginnings of the world’s first great civilization. These Sumerian farmers worked the valleys along the Tigris & Euphrates rivers and grew an abundance of grain and other crops to create surpluses which allowed them to stay in one place and trade their surplus for other goods with others … By 3000 BC city-states had developed in Sumer (population 40,000). The first known system of writing began… — from Emma Marriott

            The basics of civilization: economic abundance, a stable physical (domicile) and human geography (peace and order).

        • Edgar Lores says:

          Ahaha! That makes me curious — no, never mind!

        • popoy says:

          Ireneo, just a banter, in a lighter vein . . .

          “after Magellan and his men introduced the missionary position to native women, the natives were genuinely confused.”

          Whaaat? Are the women of the islands so naive and uninventive doing only the doggie style, not the dominating macho missionary position? Ah but that’s before Magellan proceeded to Goa, India where he could have learned the 69 positions in the Kama Sutra. He could have had given more position choices to the askance women. As I said, pardon ni me, nagpapatawa lang eh. Pero, does this not illustrate the extent to which fake news and opinion writers can do dancing TWISTING the facts away?

          • You must look at the context (c) Abella:

            1) first the missionary position for the women

            2) then the missionaries save native souls

            or the physical comes before the spiritual

            “that was the start of our Catholic life” (c) Yoyoy Villame

            • sonny says:

              PiE, “(c)” = “citation from”?

              • (c) = copyright, somewhat ironic. Abella always says remember the context when interpreting Duterte’s speeches. In fact, I think many of us sometimes think high context and then use a low context language to express – losing certain nuances.

              • sonny says:

                Thank you for the explanation of “(c)”. Very apropos.

                re: hi vs lo context in the use of language, many times we are not aware ambiguity takes a free ride here.

        • popoy says:

          Hah, hah, hah, Irineo, abstraction and verbal skills can be elementary to some like Sherlock of Baker St. London. There was this singer said to be so good because at age four he was already talking in complete sentences with subject and predicate. Would the people know some people already in their seventies who still speak in stutter of words and phrases? It’s a kind of genius, could be.

          • If the President and some around him see the Constitution as a mere piece of paper, not the covenant (c) sonny that it is, then I seriously doubt their capability for abstraction.

            Their understanding of more concrete terms like prostitution (rhymes) I do not doubt.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      Karl, did I understand and answer your question properly?

      I am not sure whether you are also asking if the Ten Commandments should fall under Consequentialism or not.

  20. karlgarcia says:

    Edgar below is something from my dad, he was thinking aloud about the means and the end of the Oakwood and Manila Pen Coups.
    “Poor Trillanes. He was sincere. But he was sincerely wrong. Wrong because there was hardly a ghost of a chance to succeed. Rebellion because Magdalo did not turn out to be Magdiwang (Victory)! Hubris if he really expected otherwise. Foolish if we could demonstrate our demands any wiser. Senator Enrile reportedly thought it wiser to have done the thing in the courtroom, while Senator Lacson thought he could have marched to the Senate to deliver a privilege speech. .
    Was it an investment for the future? (Bernas, 2007) The tanks crashed the initial public offering (IPO). But the few suicide investors might be hoping to cash in at the expense of the Magdalos in the near future. In Oakwood, a large plurality of 49 percent agreed with the ends he was fighting for though poorly substantiated but less than 20 percent agreed with the means. The ends he manifested in Manila Pen as listed in the full-page ad might have resonated more with the public but much less than 20 percent might have agreed with the means.
    To be sure, there were no suicide bombers on both sides. Even the SAF with vests would still need armor for cover and fire effect. No one has a monopoly of patriotism, the assault commander reminded the assaulted. But only history, if not the coming years, would judge the Oakwood and the Manila Pen affairs in the making or unmaking of our nation.
    Are Filipinos “worth killing or dying for”? We would hardly die or kill for a cause that we love more than ourselves. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) would die for their families, not necessarily for the nation that separated them from their families. They are the protectors of their families. The ruling families of this country are the protectors of their Life (property), Liberty (more property) and Property (plunder) not to mention the happiness of pursuit. They would die to the last Marine.”

  21. popoy says:

    pang libang:

    We are global, we are the world

  22. Edgar Lores says:


    1. The consequentialist justification of national security – that is, the greatest good for the American people – has been used in other complex issues such as drone warfare, Guantanamo, the Edward Snowden affair, waterboarding, and rendition.

    2. When deploying the use of inhumane acts – like waterboarding, of torture – careful consideration should be given to international covenants. There is, in this particular case, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT)). And, generally, there are the much-cited Geneva Conventions.

    4. Overriding the construct of the country is the construct of the world. The greater good of humanity demands that nations do not stoop down to the use of inhumane means.

    5. I believe America has been exceptional in this regard. We should thank Obama for this awareness. His efforts have not been entirely successful, such as in the closing down of Guantanamo and in Assad’s use of biological weapons. But the uplifting consciousness is there.

    6. In our own neck of the woods, we have a long journey to make. To take. We have a leader who would follow in Hitler’s footsteps. The Drug War is unabated from recent news reports. We must push back. The struggle continues.

    • “I believe America has been exceptional in this regard.” I kinda share Bill of OZ’s skepticism and cynicism re American exceptionalism, edgar. Yeah, we may veneer it better than most, but America is a very unkind place, Laws of Nature typa place.

      Though I believe we are at the apex right now, with Costa Rica the closest next 😉 .

  23. Karl, your father’s comments about PMA ethics violations confirm something I have often observed and what I always thought could be a pattern in the Philippines:

    Honor and Shame is less about what you do than about not getting caught doing it!

    In fact there are leaders and parents who get more worked up about things they are TOLD by people around them, especially important people, regarding children or employees etc., than the wrong they see on a day-to-day basis which they could use to teach people how not to do things..

    But no, those who get caught are often permanently marked and often chosen to be blamed the next time, so the question is: is LOOKING GOOD more important for some Filipinos than BEING GOOD?

    Of course your father is right, those who have honor from childhood onward can never get caught, probably a system like PMA enhances their honor – others learn to lie better for survival, I guess.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      Generally, looking at politicos — the Marcoses, the Binays, the Revillas, the Estradas — we value or are impressed by appearance more than substance.

  24. karlgarcia says:

    Good thing, I saw your comment asap Irineo.
    As per usual, very good observation and perception!

  25. “5. Let us begin the analysis.

    6. First, from the viewpoint of deontology, was Code Red a legal order? No, it was not.

    6.1. The judicial military training techniques that I am aware of are dressing downs, pushups, sit-ups, squats, cradling the rifle, and bivouacs carrying full packs.

    6.2. First conclusion: A Code Red, like the attempt to shave Willy’s hair, was extrajudicial.”

    -The American military (and i’m sure every other military around the world), allows for this, edgar; It’s not called “extrajudicial” (i see what you’re doing with EJKs here, by the way, sneaky 😉 ) , but (NJP)

    Was the intent of the “Code Red” to re-train, motivate, encourage, etc. or was it to maim or kill? If you watch the movie, the intent wasn’t to kill, but to put fire on Pvt. Santiago’s arse. That’s kinda an important point to consider, before proceeding.

    “7. Second, from the viewpoint of virtue ethics, was Jessup’s order one of loyalty, honor, and duty?

    o Yes, he was being loyal to the Marines.
    o Yes, he was doing his duty to train.
    o No, he was not being honorable in issuing an illegal order.

    7.1. Second conclusion: Jessup was not being virtuous.”

    -Again not necessarily illegal, edgar.

    NJPs are usually carried out by enlisted personnel, the highest officer that may catch wind of this would be a Captain (at the Company level). There’s also the preference to remold, retrain, remotivate, encourage, rather than transfer personnel out, especially for combat arms where there are more billets than folks to man ’em.

    “8. Third and lastly, from the viewpoint of consequentialism, is the reform of Willy for the greater good of the greatest number of the Marines?

    8.1. Without a doubt, yes, under the original formulation of the Greatest Good Principle.

    8.2. However, under my revised formulation, the Code Red violated the Pareto Minority. Willy was not only worse off, he died.

    8.3. Third conclusion: The consequence was unacceptable.”

    -edgar, keep in mind the original intent was to remold, improve, and not to maim and/or kill.

    It just so happened that Private Santiago, had some health issue. But let me introduce a What If? here, let’s do some thought experiment, and say, Private Santiago having received the Code Red, was able to wake up the next day, with minor aches & bruises, realized, ” I need to get my act together here, or this will be the longest deployment of my career ” (which is the original intent, remember).

    Does that change your third conclusion? And if your third conclusion, which IMHO should’ve been the first consideration in this whole analysis, ie. the potential of a positive outcome, doesn’t it render moot your 1st and 2nd conclusions, edgar? Why or why not?

    I’m more with Ireneo’s take here below, that…

    “Proportionality of means comes to mind. Easier for me to handle than so many sieves.

    Do I have to kill a suspect fighting back? Police can retreat and get backup.

    Do I have to kill a hostage taker? If it is needed to save other lives, maybe?”

    -In the movie, the Code Red was a little over the top (I agree, not proportional ), where Private Santiago had to only talk to the platoon Corpsman (Navy Medic), who then would’ve been duty bound to send Santiago to the base hospital, after X-rays, etc. they would’ve found him unfit, either transfer him to a better climate, lateral him to a different MOS, or medically discharge him (thus securing his VA medical benefits and stipend).

    I always tell other Marines, the lesson of that movie isn’t all the moral bs mumbo jumbo, but that your platoon corpsman is your best friend. First thing you do when you report to a unit is make friends with your corpsman, ie. buy him a pack of beers or smokes. 😉

    Now for the fun stuff…

    edgar : “8. I would consider your question of animal rights under this dimension, but I have not fully developed my thoughts on the matter. So my full answer will have to wait for another time.”

    …And why I don’t place too much stock on your Deontology sieve, edgar, since this more than not is the most prone to bs, ie. nothing universal or natural, just all man-made, all you have to do is look at Nature.

    Consider also the biggest organism in the world,

    As you may be aware, Plants and Animals branched off a long time ago, whereas Fungi are seen as having branched off from the Animal Kingdom, much later, hence our similarities.

    99% of the time fungi and plants have symbiotic relationships, mycelium (Fungus roots?) envelopes a plants root system, Fungus sucks up sugars, while sharing water to the plant.

    In the case of the Honey Fungus in Oregon above, it’s sucking up nutrients of a whole forest , it’s so big. The moral dilemma is , do we humans kill said Fungus in Oregon to save the forest, or do we let it grow bigger and leave it alone? Honey Fungus is edible, though you’d need to cook it, so we can totally destroy it by eating it. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

    At the end of the day, which is better the big Fungus or the Forest (plants), and where do we as humans stand to benefit here, we fight for the Fungus or the Forest?

    I bring this up because, this is the Natural order of things, not man-made Human Rights and Rule of Law,

    yes I agree (and I’m sure Ireneo would agree with me here) there is a sense of balance in Nature (ie. 99% of fungi and plant, and animal and fungi , interaction is very positive and for the better), but my point here

    is that there’s a lot of EJKs in Nature, so how do you jibe that with your Deontology sieve, edgar? 😉

    (p.s. —- sorry my “weekend” took longer than expected, I hope I covered all the necessary angles I left this thread when it was much shorter, karl, any chance you can submit your Dad’s articles as guest articles here? I think those articles you posted require their own blogs and thus proper discussion. Maybe as series? thanks.)

    • Edgar Lores says:

      Thank you.

      1. On item 6:

      1.1. I agree the intent was not to kill. I wrote, “The object of the punishment is to reform the sad sack into a dependable and professional soldier.”

      1.2. Code Red is extrajudicial and NOT non-judicial punishment.

      1.2.1. The cited Wikipedia article classifies and lists non-judicial punishments for officers and enlisted men. Nowhere is shaving mentioned. This is a degrading punishment and may be considered to be a human rights violation.

      1.2.2. One of the sub-ethical issues in the movie was: Is it ethical to obey an illegal order? This is related to the Principle IV of the Nuremberg Trial principles. From Wikipedia: “This principle could be paraphrased as follows: ‘It is not an acceptable excuse to say ‘I was just following my superior’s orders.'”


      1.2.3. If Code Red was a legal and judicial order, what was the point of the main ethical controversy in the movie? The ending of the movie affirms, in its own way, that Jessup was in the wrong.

      2. On item 7:

      2.1. From the above, it follows that a Code Red was dishonorable.

      3. On item 8 – Consequentialism:

      3.1. The What-if scenario is a variant of the ends-justify-the-means argument of Consequentialism. Within the context of the two other sieves, the consequentialist argument does not stand.

      3.2. I have maintained that the means are the ends, that the journey is the destination.

      4. On item 8 – Plant and the Animal Kingdom

      4.1. I don’t think there are EJKs in the non-anthropomorphous natural world.

      4.2. EJK is an abstract human notion applicable only to the human species. Although there are a host of ethical issues about the interaction between man and the non-human constructs (plant, mineral, animal) in the natural world.

      4.3. As mentioned, I have not extended my analysis into this area. However, I can see some principles of stewardship that are developing, such as:

      4.3.1. Man should limit his intervention in the natural order (principle of non-interference).
      4.3.2. Man should limit his consumption according to his current unwasteful capacity (principle of frugality).
      4.3.3. Man should replace that which he consumes (principle of sustainability or conservation).
      4.3.4. Man should employ non-harmful methods of utility (principle of humaneness).

      • “1.2.1. The cited Wikipedia article classifies and lists non-judicial punishments for officers and enlisted men. Nowhere is shaving mentioned. This is a degrading punishment and may be considered to be a human rights violation.”

        I agree.

        Though the list is not exhaustive. For example, the most common type of NJP is to collectively punish your unit, as you watch (not doing anything), edgar. Which leads to other punishment from ostracism to modern day lynching (ie. soldiers, Marines, sailors getting tossed out of barracks or ships). The collective punishment (w/out you) is NJP, though what happens after is murky, sometimes criminal.

        Another is what you’ve listed, ie. physical punishment, though 10 times tougher, in tougher units, the Sgt. will “run you to the ground” , which means he is doing the same thing as you, you’ll get injuries, etc. but if the Sgt. is with you the whole way doing exactly the same exercises, thus proper supervision is it then “too much”.

        At the end of the day, it’s about keeping things in line and in order, the 1st example is collective, ie. the collective pissed will incur its wrath upon the individual; the 2nd is man to man, designed to dominate and as such create the necessary heirarchy , elicits respect. The requisite , the Sgt. has to be top dog, you cannot “run” anyone to the “ground” if you’re unable.

        There’s a lot of grey here, edgar. Accidents happen.

        “4.1. I don’t think there are EJKs in the non-anthropomorphous natural world.

        4.2. EJK is an abstract human notion applicable only to the human species. Although there are a host of ethical issues about the interaction between man and the non-human constructs (plant, mineral, animal) in the natural world.”

        Your mistake in approaching my query is you are separating human and the rest of nature (hence anthropocentric); whereas I’m placing us, right smack in the middle of Nature, thus negating Human/Animal Rights and Rule of Law.

        Like Private Santiago, the Philippines can die, or in an alternative What If ending, the Philippines can be better for it. EJKs I mean. 😉 No one has the luxury of future sight.

        • “1.2.3. If Code Red was a legal and judicial order, what was the point of the main ethical controversy in the movie? The ending of the movie affirms, in its own way, that Jessup was in the wrong.”

          You’re right, I’m mixing real world here (what actually happens vis-a-vis the movie, it was a play first, but if a Marine had some input 😉 ), the ending is apt and Col. Jessup was the villain.

          I’m simply adding context, granular stuff. The moral drama of the film is pretty cut and dry.

        • Edgar Lores says:

          4. I was aware of my anthropocentric approach. We see things through human eyes. What other approach is feasible within the context of ethical issues?

          • That we are in fact part and parcel of Nature. if we don’t see Orcas deliberating if they should leave Grey Whale babies alone, not eat ’em; or that Honey Mushroom (biggest organism on the Plante) deliberating whether or not to gobble up a whole forest in Oregon, etc. etc. Why are we?

            What is the purpose of these 3 sieves in the bigger scheme of things, edgar? ie. beyond anthropomorphous. I understand, this question isn’t within the purview of your article, but What If? What if EJKs result in a more peaceful, prosperous Philippines in the long run, just as the Philippines did not have to go thru a Vietnam-type conflict, ie. with American forces involved, etc. Couldn’t we also say, that in that regard the Philippines may have been better off?

            Though, Vietnam is ascendant right now; so maybe a Vietnam-type conflict would’ve been the smart choice then, similarly a DU30 type baby killing fields may have some cathartic benefits. Hence,

            • Edgar Lores says:

              The essay — Parts 1 and 2 — would provide the answer to your question.

              • I re-read Parts 1 and 2 and couldn’t find it, edgar.

                Essentially, my question is (maybe I wasn’t clear enough, forgive me, my bad…) if the 3rd sieve is an illusion, and only 2 sieves exist (one solipsistic ; the other requires considering “others”) ,

                can you make moral; good; ethical decisions just with these 2? The first requires the ability to meta-think, or maybe not, maybe its innate; the 2nd merely considers results and whether more stand to gain from said decision, the easiest one.

                So with the 3rd as illusion; the 1st sieve as only few having; 2nd requiring only a group or the masses’ agreement (which DU30 got, pre-election, til now), how do you introduce 3 and 1, when through the 2nd has already been decided on?

                I hope that was clearer.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Sorry. My answer was in response to the question, “What is the purpose of these 3 sieves in the bigger scheme of things?” The purpose is to overcome the fact that our house, our world, is on fire. Or, to mix metaphors, the dictum of “The moral landscape is a wasteland.”

                The third sieve — taken as “divine” commandments — may seem to be illusory. In particular to people, like you and me, who do not entertain the concept of an anthropomorphic deity.

                My take is that they are NOT illusory as they are “common” to the major religions and, thus, possess a “universal” quality.

                As I assert: “Deontology I would say is the highest form — the absolute essence — of ethics. Here we arrive at self-evident truths that are axiomatic in nature. No proof is required.”

                No proof is required and no proof can be given… except the perceived commonality in all religions.

                One may or may not accept this truth of the categorical imperative. To me, the consequence of non-acceptance is to render the two other sieves absurd. Non-acceptance is to believe in a nihilistic universe.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Addendum: A “scientific” basis of deontology would be Jonathan Haidt and his Moral Foundations Theory (MFT).


  26. edgar lores says:

    The results are in for the same-sex plebiscite in Australia — and it’s a YES!

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