Still on Cudia but a little more sober this time

Dismissed Philippine Military Academy Cadet Aldrin Cudia’s case could just be the beginning of, what the development evaluation community refers to as, significant change.  The catalyst we’ve all been waiting for, if these two pre-requisites are in place:  (1) the Filipino public will be more scientific and intellectual in its view of the case (as against it’s usual emotional reactions to critical public events and preponderance toward leaving things to God), and (2) the Philippine judiciary, known for its systemic underhanded dealings, will not impede but rather let justice run its course.

I’ve nothing against the Academy’s Honor Code and System per se.  In the previous article, I wrote that what disturbed me was there are certain rules of the System, reportedly executed in Cudia’s case, in conflict with, hence sidestepping the person’s/cadet’s rights under the Constitution.  

I more than understand the significance of such a code and system for the military as I was for some time inside the convent and the religious life follows a similar code and system.  My time (up to the present) is what is known in seminaries and convents as Vatican II, meaning the rules governing these formation houses are now more humane, relative to, and as history writes it, the pre-Vatican II period when rules were rigid and harsh (at least what these appear to us now. Example, flogging oneself as a form of repentance or sacrificial offering to God (read the lives of the Saints) was quite the fashion then but in Vatican II teachings, this is disallowed.  Vatican II, reportedly, shocked Church leaders at the time, I can imagine it, but the winds of change had been going on in nooks and crannies of the Church and the big change when it came was inevitable.).  Formation houses are now relatively more transparent with their rules, disciplinary measures for instance.  Sisters in formation are informed of all the rules (and consequences) and those who’ve merited disciplinary measures are accorded due process.  The Saints (well, maybe not St. Teresa of Avila who was a reformer and a woman ahead of her time) must be amused that religious sisters (brothers/priests as well) now are given that because in their time it was unthinkable to “talk back” to your superior (although in the Saints’ case they became saints because they “talked back” when they know it’s the right thing to do).  It just was not the way things were done.  One’s head was always, literally, at risk of falling off, then.  And one’s reputation was so ruined that death, in comparison, is a kind relative.  

Having experienced religious life, my view is that, such a life is hinged on it’s own unique code and system.  Many can’t comprehend the relevance of adhering to chastity, poverty and obedience at a time when their opposites are what’s aspired to: the pursuit of material happiness. But, take the code and system away and religious life becomes redundant.  It might as well disband itself and become part of the secular world (which is why, if you ask me about priests marrying, my view is that brothers and priests, having taken the vows of this particular life, should, must, and work on remaining chaste or unmarried. If they so want to marry they have to get out of the religious life and embrace secular life.  This is what makes priests honorable, in their own eyes (even if they don’t “see” it), their congregation’s, the faithful’s in the church, their community’s.  To lead a double life is most dishonorable (at least to me).  However, according to Vatican II, priests going through such a struggle are given all the support they need and only when all possible measures are exhausted that priests are let go of.).  So, there, before I ramble off completely, I am all for an honor code and system in the military but while adhering to one, constitutional rights of members of the honor group should not be compromised. Otherwise, it is no different from that followed by pirates and rogues.

Let’s now go back to my first sentence about this case, if handled well, being a catalyst for significant positive change.  I did a quick scan of writings and case summaries of issues in the honor code and system particularly that in the US from whom this country borrows much of its education format.  Were there similar cases in the Academy there?  If so, how were these handled?  What were the decisions?

First off, ‘West Point Honor Code Separations: Duty, Honor, Country…Fairness?‘ written for  The American University Law Review (Vol. 27). The authors went right to the heart of the matter, that of the Academy being shaken to its core in 1976 with 160+ cadets cheating on their exam, and take home at that!

The incidence opened the door to a scrutiny by the US Congress of the Academy’s honor code and system:

But, who’s in charge of separating erring cadets from military service?  This is crucial, in fact, the first thing needing clarification.  In the US, it’s clear:

It is also clear, over there, that “no cadet…legally, could be forced to resign or be separated from the Academy solely by action of the Cadet Honor Committee”.  The footnote on this clarifies that “rigid and harsh” practices such as peers ostracizing the cadet were formally abolished in 1973.

Another document, a case summary decided in 1975 of two appeals directed to the US District Court who subsequently dismissed the cadets’ claims of denial of due process. This Court’s justifications of it’s decision touch on key issues surrounding Cudia’s case.

Three common issues are raised by each appellant: (1) whether the proceedings before the Cadet Honor Committee comported with the procedural safeguards required by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment; (2) whether the procedures and the standard of proof utilized in the Board of Officers’ hearings under Army Regulation 15–6 comported with the procedural due process guarantees of the Fifth Amendment; and (3) whether the sole penalty of expulsion of each appellant constitutes a violation of constitutional rights.

Andrews (one of the cadets) raises two additional issues unique to his case: (1) whether the requirement that he submit a written statement which was later used against him in the administrative hearings violated his Fifth Amendment privilege against compulsory self-incrimination; and (2) whether he was erroneously foreclosed by the dismissal of the complaint before discovery from factually establishing the impact of the finding of guilty by the Cadet Honor Committee upon the members of the Board of Officers.

In summary, the basic question before this Court is whether the procedures followed by the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in the separation of appellants for Honor Code violations were constitutionally sufficient.

The whole summary can be read online here. For purposes of this article, I’ll mention only the definitions made by the District Court clarifying certain vague terms used in the West Point Honor Code and System.  Some of these, which have significant bearing on Cudia’s case, are:

1.  Art.16 of the Regulations for the US Military Academy, promulgated by the Secretary of the Army, governs the separation of cadets.  Section 16.04 deals specifically with separations for Honor Code violations;


While nothing in Section 16.04…indicates that the Cadet Honor Committee plays any part in the process of separation for Honor Code violations, it appears that the Academy has developed the practice of referring all alleged violations to the Honor Committee. This procedure, as now outlined in a memo from the Commandant entitled ‘USCC Processing of Cadet Honor Cases’ and distributed throughout the Academy command on November 29, 1972, specifically requires that apparent violations discovered by officers be first referred to the Cadet Honor Committee.

The Cadet Honor Committee is a student organization of the United States Corps of Cadets made up of 44 elected members. According to the Corps of Cadets’ publication, The Cadet Honor Code and Systems, the Honor Committee is directly charged with the supervision and administration of the Honor Code and the Honor System, and ‘acting for the Corps, investigates and determines whether or not the alleged offender has actually transgressed the Honor Code.’

The Cadet Honor Code in force at the United States Military Academy consists of a single maxim: ‘A cadet does not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do.’

When a case is referred to the Cadet Honor Committee, there is first a preliminary subcommittee investigation, and then twelve members are designated by the chairman to sit and hear the evidence. After all the witnesses have testified and the evidence has been presented, a secret vote is held to determine guilt or innocence. The vote must the unanimous, and if there is one ‘not guilty’ vote, the proceedings end and the case is closed. During proceedings before the Honor Committee, an accused cadet is allowed to testify and to present witnesses on his own behalf. It should be noted that a cadet is not guaranteed any minimal time in which to prepare a case brought before the Honor Committee… A cadet is not given formal written notice of the charges against him, and he has no right to know the identity of or cross-examine the witnesses against him.

The cadet publication (printed by the Academy) referred to above further explains that ‘(i)f there be a finding of guilty, the Commandant reviews the case with his advisors and with the Chairman of the Honor Committee. He then interviews the accused after advising him of his rights, reminds him of the findings and recommendations of the Committee, and, in effect, extends him the option of resigning or having his case considered by a Board of Officers. The accused is urged to confer with his parents and, if he desires, to seek legal advice before he makes his decision.’

In all of the cases encompassed by the present appeals, the Cadet Honor Committee found a violation of the Honor Code which was adopted by the Commandant, whereupon appellants were administratively segregated from the Corps and placed in ‘Boarders Ward.’ The purpose of Boarders Ward is to quarter those cadets who are undergoing separation actions. Permitted to attend classes, the cadet is sequestered in Boarders Ward until final disposition of his case.

In the cases now before us after being given the option to resign or have a Board of Officers’ hearing, each appellant chose to appear before a Board of Officers. Each Board of Officers was composed of five officers from the Academy staff summoned to hear one case. The proceedings were conducted pursuant to Army Regulation 15–16, Procedures for Investigating Officers Conducting Investigations, which provides in part that after a full hearing, the Board will, based on a standard of ‘substantial evidence,’ decide a case by a majority vote.

The point that I’d like to highlight from above is that while the Academy has established an Honor Committee as the first “court of instance” to try cadets found in violation of the Code, the final decision rests on the Board of Officers (comprised of Academy staff).  This further clarifies the statement in the first document about the illegality of cadets being judged solely by an honor committee, a provision made in the US Army Regulation.  Moreover, the committee has to unanimously agree that a cadet is guilty, otherwise as for instance in an 8-1 vote the case is thereby dismissed, as provided in the honor code. Cudia’s case, as reported, was rigged through the commandant’s “bullying” of the member who voted him not guilty. This and some others (e.g. disallowing him his own witnesses and counsel)are what appear as loopholes in PMA’s contention against Cudia.

And, what exactly does due process mean in such cases?  The DC has this to say on record:

(i)n approaching the question of what process is due before governmental action adversely affecting private interests may properly be taken, it must be recognized that due process is not a rigid formula or simple rule of thumb to be applied undeviatingly to any given set of facts. On the contrary, it is a flexible concept which depends upon the balancing of various factors, including the nature of the private right or interest that is threatened, the extent to which the proceeding is adversarial in character, the severity and consequences of any action that might be taken, the burden that would be imposed by requiring use of all or part of the full panoply of trial-type procedures, and the existence of other overriding interests, such as the necessity for prompt action in the conduct of crucial military operations. The full context must therefore be considered in each case.

Further, the DC borrows from another case (Wasson v. Trowbridge)

due process only requires for this dismissal of a Cadet from the Merchant Marine Academy that he be given a fair hearing at which he is apprised of the charges against him and permitted a defense

That, fair hearing is defined in the Wasson case as

The Cadet must be apprised of the specific charges against him. He must be given an adequate opportunity to present his defense both from the point of view of time and the use of witnesses and other evidence. We do not suggest, however, that the Cadet must be given this opportunity both when demerits are awarded and when dismissal is considered. The hearing may be procedurally informal and need not be adversarial.

. . . The requirement of counsel as an ingredient of fairness is a function of all of the other aspects of the hearing. Where the proceeding is non-criminal in nature, where the hearing is investigative and not adversarial and the government does not proceed through counsel, where the individual concerned is mature and educated, where his knowledge of the events . . . should enable him to develop the facts adequately through available sources, and where the other aspects of the hearing taken as a whole are fair, due process does not require representation by counsel.

To which, the DC reaffirmed that

it is clear that before a cadet can properly be dismissed or separated from his service academy, he must have a hearing, be apprised of the specific charges against him, and be given an adequate opportunity to present his defense both from the point of view of time and the use of witnesses and other evidence.

Such, according to the DC, clarifies how

A military proceeding conducted within these bounds of procedural due process would be proper and immune from constitutional infirmity.

Moving on to whether activities of the Honor Committee are governmental activity or of public interest, the DC concludes

The relationship between the Cadet Honor Committee and the separation process at the Academy has been sufficiently formalized, and is sufficiently interdependent, so as to bring that committee’s activities within the definition of governmental activity for the purposes of our review. While the Academy has long had the informal practice of referring all alleged violations to the Cadet Honor Committee, the relationship between that committee and the separation process has to a degree been formalized. The November 29, 1972, memorandum from the Commandant, ‘USCC Processing of Cadet Honor Cases,’ provides in part that apparent violations of the Cadet Honor Code will be referred by the Deputy Commandant to the Chairman of the Cadet Honor Committee; if a cadet is found by the Honor Committee to have committed a violation and then elects to have proceedings before a Board of Officers, the chairman of the Honor Committee will be notified, and if the Board’s findings do not support the allegations of the Cadet Honor Committee, its chairman will be advised by the Deputy Commandant to reconsider the case.

Regardless of whether the relationship be deemed formal or informal, the Honor Committee under its own procedures provides that a single ‘not guilty’ vote by a member ends the matter, while a ‘guilty’ finding confronts a cadet with the hard choice of either resigning or electing to go before a Board of Officers. An adverse finding there results not only in formal separation from the Academy but also in a damaging record that will follow the cadet through life. Accordingly, we conclude that the Cadet Honor Committee, acting not unlike a grand jury, is clearly part of the process whereby a cadet can ultimately be adjudged to have violated the Cadet Honor Code and be separated from the Academy. Therefore, the effect of the committee’s procedures and determinations on the separation process is sufficiently intertwined with the formal governmental activity which may follow as to bring it properly under judicial review.

And, final point for this article, is the DC’s take on the

challenge to the manner in which the written explanation of his (Andrews’) alleged disciplinary infractions was obtained and later used against him in his separation from the Academy.

…the government’s contention that failure to give warnings cannot excuse subsequent false statements offered by a suspect in order to exculpate himself.

‘The government analogizes the situation at bar to that where a person suspected of a crime perjures himself before a grand jury in the absence of Miranda warnings, and then seeks to prevent prosecution for perjury (by invoking the exclusionary rule) on the basis of absence of warnings. Such failure to warn does not require exclusion of the perjurious statement in the subsequent perjury prosecution. United States v. Winter (2d Cir. 1965, Judge Weinfeld) 348 F.2d 204; United States v. Ponti (E.D.Pa.1966) 257 F.Supp. 925; United States v. Provinzano (E.D.Wis.1971) 326 F.Supp. 1066. Were it otherwise, one would be well-advised to give false testimony, in the hope of avoiding prosecution for the offense originally charged with assurance that there could be no prosecution for the perjury by which such result had been achieved.’ Andrews v. Knowlton, supra, 367 F.Supp. at 1265.

It is clear from United States v. Winter, supra, that the absence of warnings does not prevent prosecution for perjurious statements before a grand jury and by analogy, while the absence of warnings might prevent Andrews from being prosecuted for improperly being on campus or violating some other military regulation, his false statement is still subject to ‘prosecution’ as a breach of the Honor Code.

Another document, the third and final for this article, is a summary of a case (read here) decided in 1976, filed by Michael T. Rose challenging the Department of Air Force under the Freedom of Information Act.  Accordingly,

Respondents, student editors or former student editors of the New York University Law Review researching disciplinary systems and procedures at the military service academies for an article for the Law Review, were denied access by petitioners to case summaries of honor and ethics hearings, with personal references or other identifying information deleted, maintained in the United States Air Force Academy’s Honor and Ethics Code reading files, although Academy practice is to post copies of such summaries on 40 squadron bulletin boards throughout the Academy and to distribute copies to Academy faculty and administration officials. Thereupon respondents brought this action under the Freedom of Information Act.

(Incidentally, Michael T. Rose went on to publish the study under the book title, A Prayer for Relief:  The Constitutional Infirmities of the Military Academies’ Conduct, Honor, and Ethics Systems.  He is now a US Senator.)

The District Court, without actually looking into the requested case summaries, upheld the Air Force’ contention of nondisclosure. But, the Court of Appeals, on second circuit, reversed the decision, and it’s explanations were

1. The limited statutory exemptions do not obscure the basic policy that disclosure, not secrecy, is the dominant legislative objective of the FOIA.

2. Exemption 2 does not generally apply to matters, such as the summaries here involved, in which there is a genuine and important public interest.

(a) The phrasing of that exemption reflected congressional dissatisfaction with the “internal management” exemption of former § 3 of the Administrative Procedure Act and was generally designed, as the Senate Report made clear, to delineate between, on the one hand, trivial matters and, on the other, more substantial matters in which the public might have a legitimate interest.

(b) The public has a substantial concern with the Academy’s administration of discipline and procedures that affect the training of Air Force officers and their military careers.

3. Exemption 6 does not create a blanket exemption for personnel files. With respect to such files and “similar files” Congress enunciated a policy, to be judicially enforced, involving a balancing of public and private interests. Regardless of whether the documents whose disclosure is sought are in “personnel” or “similar” files, nondisclosure is not sanctioned unless there is a showing of a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, and redaction of documents to permit disclosure of nonexempt portions is appropriate under Exemption 6.

4. Even if “personnel files” were to be considered as wholly exempt from disclosure under Exemption 6 without regard to whether disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, the case summaries here were not in that category although they constituted “similar files” relating as they do to the discipline of cadets, and their disclosure implicating similar privacy values.

5. The Court of Appeals did not err in ordering the Agency to produce the case summaries for the District Court’s in camera examination, a procedure that represents “a workable compromise between individual rights ‘and the preservation of public rights to (G)overnment information,’ ” which is the statutory goal of Exemption 6.

(a) The limitation in Exemption 6 to cases of “clearly unwarranted” invasions of privacy indicates that Congress did not intend a matter to be exempted from disclosure merely because it could not be guaranteed that disclosure would not trigger recollection of identity in any person whatever, and Congress vested the courts with the responsibility of determining de novo whether the exemption was properly invoked.

(b) Respondents’ request for access to summaries “with personal references or other identifying information deleted” respected the confidentiality interests embodied in Exemption 6 and comported with the Academy’s tradition of confidentiality.

The CA further explained why the military and its schools and the educational system in these are of public interest

The implication for the general public of the Academy’s administration of discipline is obvious, particularly so in light of the unique role of the military. What we have said of the military in other contexts has equal application here: it “constitutes a specialized community governed by a separate discipline from that of the civilian,” Orloff v. Willoughby, 345 U.S. 83, 94, 73 S.Ct. 534, 540, 97 L.Ed. 842, 849 (1953), in which the internal law of command and obedience invests the military officer with “a particular position of responsibility.” Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733, 744, 94 S.Ct. 2547, 2556, 41 L.Ed.2d 439, 451 (1974). Within this discipline, the accuracy and effect of a superior’s command depends critically upon the specific and customary reliability of subordinates, just as the instinctive obedience of subordinates depends upon the unquestioned specific and customary reliability of the superior. The importance of these considerations to the maintenance of a force able and ready to fight effectively renders them undeniably significant to the public role of the military. Moreover, the same essential integrity is critical to the military’s relationship with its civilian direction. Since the purpose of the Honor and Ethics Codes administered and enforced at the Air Force Academy is to ingrain the ethical reflexes basic to these responsibilities in future Air Force officers, and to select out those candidates apparently unlikely to serve these standards, it follows that the nature of this instruction and its adequacy or inadequacy is significantly related to the substantive public role of the Air Force and its Academy. Indeed, the public’s stake in the operation of the Codes as they affect the training of future Air Force officers and their military careers is underscored by the Agency’s own proclamations of the importance of cadet-administered Codes to the Academy’s educational and training program. Thus, the Court of Appeals said, and we agree:

(Respondents) have drawn our attention to various items such as newspaper excerpts, a press conference by an Academy officer and a White House Press Release, which illustrate the extent of general concern with the working of the Cadet Honor Code. As the press conference and the Press Release show, some of the interest has been generated or at least enhanced by acts of the Government itself. Of course, even without such official encouragement, there would be interest in the treatment of cadets, whose education is publicly financed and who furnish a good portion of the country’s future military leadership. Indeed, all sectors of our society, including the cadets themselves, have a stake in the fairness of any system that leads, in many instances, to the forced resignation of some cadets. The very study involved in this case bears additional witness to the degree of professional and academic interest in the Academy’s student-run system of discipline. . . . (This factor) differentiate(s) the summaries from matters of daily routine like working hours, which, in the words of Exemption Two, do relate ‘Solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency.’ ”

In sum, we think that, at least where the situation is not one where disclosure may risk circumvention of agency regulation, Exemption 2 is not applicable to matters subject to such a genuine and significant public interest. The exemption was not designed to authorize withholding of all matters except otherwise secret law bearing directly on the propriety of actions of members of the public. Rather, the general thrust of the exemption is simply to relieve agencies of the burden of assembling and maintaining for public inspection matter in which the public could not reasonably be expected to have an interest. The case summaries plainly do not fit that description. They are not matter with merely internal significance. They do not concern only routine matters. Their disclosure entails no particular administrative burden.

On what sort of files are of public interest and should hence be divulged

Congressional concern for the protection of the kind of confidential personal data usually included in a personnel file is abundantly clear. But Congress also made clear that nonconfidential matter was not to be insulated from disclosure merely because it was stored by an agency in its “personnel” files. Rather, Congress sought to construct an exemption that would require a balancing of the individual’s right of privacy against the preservation of the basic purpose of the Freedom of Information Act “to open agency action to the light of public scrutiny.”

the House Report states, H.R.Rep.No.1497, p. 11: “The limitation of a ‘clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy’ provides a proper balance between the protection of an individual’s right of privacy and the preservation of the public’s right to Government information by excluding those kinds of files the disclosure of which might harm the individual.” Similarly, the Senate Report, S.Rep.No.813, p. 9, states: “The phrase ‘clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy’ enunciates a policy that will involve a balancing of interests between the protection of an individual’s private affairs from unnecessary public scrutiny, and the preservation of the public’s right to governmental information.”  Plainly Congress did not itself strike the balance as to “personnel files” and confine the courts to striking the balance only as to “similar files.” To the contrary, Congress enunciated a single policy, to be enforced in both cases by the courts, “that will involve a balancing” of the private and public interests.

these summaries, collected only in the Honor and Ethics Code reading files and the Academy’s honor records, do not contain the “vast amounts of personal data,” S.Rep.No.813, p. 9, which constitute the kind of profile of an individual ordinarily to be found in his personnel file: showing, for example, where he was born, the names of his parents, where he has lived from time to time, his high school or other school records, results of examinations, evaluations of his work performance. Moreover, access to these files is not drastically limited, as is customarily true of personnel files, only to supervisory personnel directly involved with the individual (apart from the personnel department itself), frequently thus excluding even the individual himself. On the contrary, the case summaries name no names except in guilty cases, are widely disseminated for examination by fellow cadets, contain no facts except such as pertain to the alleged violation of the Honor or Ethics Codes, and are justified by the Academy solely for their value as an educational and instructional tool the better to train military officers for discharge of their important and exacting functions. Documents treated by the Agency in such a manner cannot reasonably be claimed to be within the common and congressional meaning of what constitutes a “personnel file” under Exemption 6.

On the other hand, the CA affirmed the US Air Force’ deletion of cadets’ names from the case summaries requested by the researchers, for the reason that

the disclosure of these summaries implicates similar privacy values; for as said by the Court of Appeals, 495 F.2d, at 267, “identification of disciplined cadets a possible consequence of even anonymous disclosure could expose the formerly accused men to lifelong embarrassment, perhaps disgrace, as well as practical disabilities, such as loss of employment or friends…”

Which is common sense really.  We don’t want to eat double dead fowls.  And what’s the point of killing fowls more than once if not for insanely bizarre reasons?

From these documents, the one thing that struck me most was everything – honor code, proceedings, regulations, etc. and related superior provisions such as regulation by the US Army of these – are all laid down, coded.  The Honor Code of West Point, for instance, is publicized for all to read and it’s online.  The USAF outlines on its website what it’s honor code is about.

Codification of rules (as opposed to arbitrary procedures), allowance of studies into public institutions, and transparency are salient features of a democracy.

At this point, I think I’ve had my fill of Cudia’s case and I don’t want to go any further except that it is clear from the above case scan that there are some critical changes that need to be made in the PMA’s Honor Code and System.  This is notwithstanding, of course, Cudia’s pursuit of his case in the court.  I believe change at the Academy is for the best, most of all, for the cadets themselves.  And of course for the institution.  If it wants to be the best military school in this side of Asia it has to reengineer itself toward that vision.  It also needs a “Vatican II” moment.  As to the wider public, I was surprised and sad that media and Congress did not give this case importance especially that the Freedom of Information Act Bill has just been passed.  It’s like we’re searching and looking everywhere for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow yet fail to see that it’s right under our noses.  Cudia’s case is a very timely test case for the FOIA but we weren’t paying attention. Once again, we focused too much on the form: his looks (as many in twitterland raved about), for instance. I’m sad that media and many on social media viewed Cudia’s case merely as an individual person’s “kaawa awa” situation hence he needs all our “awa”; as one dismissed schoolboy’s defiance of an institution, the powers that be.  Yes we’re allowed to pity him but the more significant lesson there for the public is, his case, if we look closely, holds an all too familiar pattern that belies the widespread injustice in Philippine society (think Maguindanao massacre, PDAF Scam probe), the tattered state of democracy in this country, the kind of future we’re faced with in as far as how our leaders are being schooled into certain mindsets (disregard of the law, of individuals’ liberty and constitutional rights) that we have professed again and again but just verbally we are so tired of, already. In a previous article, the subject was about persistence and this country’s general lack of it.  The attitude, this time with Cudia’s case, is it’s so yesterday, move on, just accept it na lang, by the way, what’s for tomorrow ya think?  And the questions we ask, what do you think of the President’s decision of Cudia’s case? The comments, the President’s non-interference is for the best.  My god. Did we stop to think for a moment to ask what the laws of this land provide?  That it’s not whether or not the President is interfering but rather is it his duty under the law?  How many times have we asked ourselves that question, exposing our sheer ignorance of our own laws (or, perhaps there’s no codified law for that) and conned by unscrupulous leaders in the process? As mentioned in that article about persistence, it’s precisely why this country has not yet arrived. o      

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