• Cudia a leper? Bar passers


    Recently, Pope Francis accidentally uttered an Italian swear word (the F-word kuno) during his weekly blessing ceremony in St. Peter’s Square.

    Mistakes and accident happen. A very human mistake, one said, and the world moved on.

    The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) should give dismissed cadet Jeff Aldrin Cudia his diploma and transcript of records so he could start a new life in the civilian world, according to Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, a former AFP chief of staff who headed the PMA at one time. But, would-have-been salutatorian Cudia should forget about serving in the military given the circumstances, Pong Biazon said. Cudia had been dismissed from the PMA after an honor committee found him guilty of violating the academy’s Honor Code.

    “I would agree to him being given the diploma so that he can start anew, but I would advise he should not anymore stay in the service, complete his resignation, because he will be a leper out there, Biazon told a press briefing yesterday.” (PDI, Mar. 19, 2014, p. A9, col. 1). Why not let him graduate and then assign him to Scarborough or Ayungin. I believe in Second Chances even for potential Dirty Dozen types. And in the Cudia case, was there really proportionality in degrading and destroying him in his youth?

    Now, what may (Pong Biazon and) BIR Chief Kim Henares be in violation of in our own Constitution in her scare and shame campaign? Sec. 11 of Art. II of the Constitution says: “The state values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.” The Bill of Rights has language against “degrading punishment.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stresses respect for “human dignity,” in its Preamble and elsewhere.

    In the Court of Appeals (CA) Spray Paint case decision of January 26, 2000, in CA G.R. No. SP No. 47946, the 25-page decision in ringing tones found against Hizzoner in spray-painting the homes of suspected substance abusers. Narohomsalic v. Lim did not get to the Supreme Court which refused to review it on a flimsy technicality (his lawyer did not give a copy of the petition to the CA, which probably would not have read it with all it had to do; anyway, respondents’ lawyers would be there. Maybe the erring lawyer could have been chided, fined or suspended, but take on the case).

    MABINI was one of the 15 petitioners-appellants in Marohomsalic.

    Cong. Pong, I see nothing wrong with being a leper. In our youth, in Pasig, we had Bertong Ketong, living in the kabukiran. He made for our barkada exquisite bamboo swords. He had a wife and daughter, who did not contract leprosy. When in the Senate, a constituent called my attention to my thoughtless use of “like a leper.” I considered myself told and vowed not to degrade sick people again.

    But now, I have another headache. US accessing our military bases. I voted NO on September 16, 1991, removing foreign troops from our soil after more than 400 years. But, this is a 9/11 world and before commenting on it in light of our contemporary national interests I’d like to see the text of the agreement but better to involve sana some of the twelve Malevolent/Magnificent Senators who voted NO on September 16, 1991. Certainly, Pong Biazon should be consulted, along with Senator Miriam, among others.

    I note that hundreds of South Korean soldiers have been here for some time and will stay up to the end of the year, to help deal with the damage Yolanda has wrought in Eastern Visayas. No static at all.

    And, given 9/11, I no longer look before sleeping under the bed for Americans, who may be busy looking for Osama Bin Laden Jrs.

    The Executive should not stop with Pong. Never mind Paos and Laos me with my HurryCane but nariyan po sina Butz Aquino, Manong JPE, Hizzoner Erap, Tito Guingona, Manong Ernie, Orly Mercado, Nene Pimentel, Bobby Tañada and Vic Ziga, nabubuhay. Kuya Teroy Laurel is gone. The ancient fire may be gone but there could be occasional old sparks even from smoldering embers. Last I saw Erap he sounded like his hormones are still raging, like those of the new bar passers.

    Kudos to all of them but while this is a free country, I hope some of them will remain true to the driving dream that sent them to law school in the first place, to help give our people a better life.

    It may well be that a lawyer’s first need is to make a living. “Of course,” as Judge Wyzanski noted, “when Dr. Johnson was told that a man must live, he replied that he did not see the necessity.” In any case, “because a man must live, of course it does not follow that he must, or indeed should be permitted, to do everything which will enhance his economic standard of living.” The new lawyers may note and take to heart this exhortation of Judge Wyzanski.

    The cynics may however prefer Justice Brown: “It is the desire to earn money which lies at the bottom of the greatest effort of genius. The man who writes books, paints picture, moulds statues, builds houses, pleads causes, preaches sermons, or heals the sick, does it for the money there is in it; and if, in so doing, he acquires a reputation as an author, painter, sculptor, architect, jurist or physician, it is only an incident to his success as a money-getter. The motive which prompted Angelo to plan the dome of St. Peter, or paint the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, was essentially the same as that which induces a common laborer to lay brick or dig sewers.”

    The new lawyers must however do themselves the justice to try to recall the hopes and dreams that inspired them to train in the law in the first place. Some of the new lawyers may wonder about the things they will now learn in the profession that they never learned in law school. They may ask why. Some of them may wonder if the situation and atmosphere must be accepted and lived with or if these can be improved, if not removed and replaced with something better. They may ask why not.

    As the Shavian epigram puts it, some men see things that are and ask – WHY? – while others see things that never were and ask – WHY NOT?



    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. A privilege to have words from Atty. Saguisag. I always look forward to his writings. I hope that new lawyers would have a heart like him.

    2. gilmore chan on

      Reading Saguisag’s article is like drinking a nice hot cup of coffee in the morning. His breed is rare nowadays. I always thought the PMA’s decision is wrong. Nicely put by Sauguisag – the penalty is not proportionate to Cudia’s misdeeds.

    3. Eddie de Leon on

      Your Friday columns always give me a lift. ex-Senator Saguisag.
      I like the way you write in a sort of stream of consciousness way that reminds the reader of important points in our socio-political development and the history of our judiciary.
      The great thing is you are an example of a man who takes his Catholic Christianity seriously and therefore should be listened to.
      Your students are so lucky to have a professor like you, Sir Rene.

    4. Sen, Saguisag, I believe that the Cudia’s made one BIG MISTAKE, getting POA Chair Preside Acosta their lawyer FOR FREE sdue to their poverty that they could not afford lawyer like you. First, was it not Atty. Presida Acosta was the lawyer of the 12 soldiers that were jailed for the assassination of Ninoy? Second, was it not Atty. Acosta the one who requested GMA to give Executive Clemency to these soldiers due to old age and were sick. Third, was it not when Noynoy became President, one of his first action was to remove Atty. Presida Acosta as PAO Chair?

    5. Siony Camacho Bana on

      It’s highly commendable of President Aquino to have met with the family of PMA Cadet Cudia, on top of his many pressing issues the country is currently facing. The unsolicited callous and careless comment of Rep.Rodolfo Biazon ( Cudia will be like a “leper”) is uncalled for, especially coming from a former AFP chief of staff and certainly did not add to alleviate the psychological damage already done to his integrity by the PMA honor code committee The respondents answer to the SC should and must be carefully carried out without prejudice and applied equally to all (poor and rich alike) if it will contribute to a bright and encouraging future for the young generation not only like Cudia but also others aspiring to be a good Filipino soldier and as a citizen. .