PRESIDENT Aquino urged the 2014 Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduates to assert the institution’s “Honor Code” outside of school in his speech during the 2014 graduation ceremony.

“[T]his is the challenge to all of us: If our task is to enforce the Honor Code inside this institution, let us uphold the code outside the PMA,” he said.

PMA’s Honor Code states that cadets “do not lie, cheat, steal nor tolerate those who do.”

The President’s remarks were small comfort for PMA cadet Jeff Aldren Cudia. Set to graduate salutatorian, he was dismissed for allegedly lying when asked why he was two minutes late for class.

They were small comfort because aside from being the casualty of the PMA Honor Code, alumni of the PMA who have ended up in high office have obviously found a lucrative living from lying, cheating and stealing.

Dismissing a student for lying in coming up with an excuse why he was two minutes late may be harsh for some. But rules are rules, especially in the military academy which hopes to produce true officers and gentlemen to protect the nation.

Considering that the PMA is a training ground for soldiers and officers who are supposed to follow the chain of command, certainly its students should be bound by higher standards of discipline.

The PMA and its members should be bound to a higher standard of discipline because, to be sure, even an ordinary citizen has to uphold the truth and not lie.

Public officials should also be held to a higher standard of discipline, especially lawmakers.

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It is thus a shame that the country has reached the point wherein Congress has become a synonym for the word “corruption.”

The crisis brought by the pork barrel scam has really scarred the Republic and the people’s trust for the government. What was supposed to be “presumption of regularity” turned into “presumption of irregularity.”

It’s heart-piercing to know that there are people, public servants to make it worse, that have the gall to lie, cheat and steal without so much as shame.

It was reported recently that a poor man was charged with theft for pickpocketing a P10 keychain. If convicted, he stands to be imprisoned. Thus, this logic can be inferred: if a man steals a cheap keychain, he goes to jail. But if he steals millions, he either stays in power or is confined in a private hospital. And to make things worse, one of the most guilty in the pork barrel scam has plans in 2016! Now, where is honor in that?

It gives a little comfort that at least the case is moving forward as the Ombudsman has recommended the filing of charges certain lawmakers.

There may be merit after all in PMA’s decision to stand by its decision to dismiss Cudia. Today, a child may lie about the reason why he was late for school. Tomorrow, he may lie about his disbursement of public funds.

It’s all about seeing things in a wider perspective and in the long run.

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