• Graduation issues and ignoble commencement speeches

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    A member of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) 36th graduating class was barred from joining the commencement ceremonies due to a “minor violation” of the cadet guidelines.

    PNPA officials assured us, however, that the senior cadet will eventually graduate after being penalized with additional tasks, stressing that the offense he committed does not involve lying or anything to do with ethics.

    “It has nothing to do with any violation of our Code of Honesty, which is considered a major offense and entails outright dismissal,” a PNPA spokesman said.

    So, this case is far from resembling that of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Cadet 1st Class Aldrin Cudia, who was excluded from graduation last year for a major violation of the Code of Honesty… he lied about coming two minutes late in class.

    Both these cases, though, dramatize just how much importance the PNPA and the PMA managements give to strict compliance with rules of conduct, be it under the cadet guidelines or the Honor Code.

    President Noynoy would have found this topic on the need to adhere to highest standards of conduct appropriate for his speeches at the PNPA graduation rites last Thursday and at the PMA two weeks ago.

    After all, the top officials of the Armed Forces, as well as the PNP, graduated from the PMA. Ranking PNP officials are from the PNPA.

    But the Commander-in-Chief told them to “show him understanding” for the Mamasapano debacle at the graduation of PNPA’s Lakandula Class.

    At the PMA’s Sinaglahi Class graduation, he cited the country’s “economic gains,” as well as issues affecting the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

    I happen to have been invited to address the graduating class at my Alma Mater last Friday.

    I would have picked the topic or theme of honor code, command responsibility and chain of command but I did not speak to a promising group of commissioned officers in the PNP or AFP.

    Indeed, I hold our police and military men in high regard, as I was raised by a well-decorated officer in the Philippine Constabulary. I myself had a fulfilling military stint.

    I was as greatly humbled as I was exhilarated speaking to the college and high school graduating class of Puerto Princesa’s Seminario de San Jose.

    I attended the minor seminary at the revered institution, where I learned at an early age the value of honesty and the importance of asking for forgiveness for your mistakes not only from God, but to your fellowmen as well.

    The four-day visit of Pope Francis proved to be a “spiritual super typhoon” that swept the country in January.

    We were still “high” with his inspiration and message of Christ’s love and compassion days after the Pope’s historic visit.

    And then, all hell broke loose!

    Another shocking Maguindanao tragedy shattered the images the whole world had witnessed, of multitudes of Filipinos gathering to shower the Holy Father with affection and genuine hospitality.

    They were replaced with the horrifying images of the ghastly carnage of men in uniform, enforcing an arrest warrant versus two high profile terrorists, by a group trying to make peace with the government.

    But, more horrifying than the expense of human life was the incessant lying, whitewash and cover-up of the people in Malacañang and the government peace panel itself, whom many senators believe has become the mouthpiece of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

    What a shame!

    etulfo2011@yahoo.com

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