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SOUTH MANILA INTER-INSTITUTIONAL CONSORTIUM

Ethics Committee
CASES FOR THE 7th SMIIC ETHICS BOWL
Venue: De La Salle University, Taft, Manila
Date: February 21, 2014
1. PERFECT CRIME
There are two male college students, ages eighteen and nineteen, who attempt to commit
the perfect crime by kidnapping a young boy and demanding ransom from his parents. They
receive the ransom money, but they kill the boy anyway. Later, they are caught, tried and
convicted of murder and kidnapping with intent to do bodily harm. Their defense attorney, a
brilliant lawyer, successfully argues against the death penalty and both men are sent to prison
for life.
After about five years, one of the men is killed in a fight, but the other completes his college
education while still in prison and teaches other convicts English. He also volunteers for medical
experiments, allowing himself to be injected with germs in order to test new drugs. A model
prisoner, he causes no trouble throughout his entire prison term. After about thirty years, he is
paroled, whereupon he goes to a different country and continues to teach English. Thirty years
later, he dies of natural causes. Do you think the man should have been given capital
punishment? Prove your point.
2.

TO USE A BLOG AS BASIS FOR TERMINATING A FACULTY, WHEN IS IT VALID?

During the first two weeks of the semester, a female dean's lister student wrote a complaint
against her teacher through a blog. In her account, the teacher keeps on belittling them in their
class. He's putting them down as belonging to a particular course and that he says they're just
good at handling the ladle, but they do not possess any reasoning at all. The teacher has done
this throughout the whole two weeks of their class meeting. The student even said many
negative words against the teacher.
When the college dean of the student read her blog, he texted the dean of the teacher
concerned and informed him about it and the complaint of the student. The teacher's dean
made a decision right away. He called the attention of the teacher, informed him about the
complaint on a blog and told the teacher at that very moment he would no longer hold his class
and was terminated from work.
Do you think the decision of the teacher's dean is valid? If yes, why? And if no, why not?
Do you consider using a blog as basis to terminate anyone in a position, such as a faculty,
valid? Defend your answer.
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3. ON COMMUNICATION GAPS AND CALAMITIES


Paolo Ven B. Paculan, a teacher from the Ateneo de Manila Junior High School, in a letter
to the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Letters, Nov. 19, 2013, vol.28, no. 344) reacted to the
PAGASAs statement that Filipinos dont follow unless they experience the disaster. The
statement seems to imply that the weather bureau is blameless with regard to the destruction
brought about by super typhoon Yolanda that ravaged the Visayas region. Most, if not all, of the
provinces are totally unprepared for the storm surge, a new phenomenon that hit the area. A
number of the victims observed that they are unaware of it. They pointed out that if information
had been disseminated properly, the devastation would have been minimized. Leyte
Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez exclaimed that the municipality of Tacloban was
prepared for a storm but not for the storm surge. It was a tragedy that wreaked havoc especially
to a father who left his children in an evacuation center, thinking that the place was safe and
was far from being flooded. The center is located in a low lying area that was inundated by the
storm surge. All of his children drowned.
This is what teacher Paculan has to say about what occurred: I believe a big part of the
calamity was caused by a problem in communicationwith some people knowing the danger
but failing to communicate this effectively enough to save more lives. . . . I suggest that weather
reports show not just maps and satellite images but animated simulations of what might actually
happen in disaster-prone areas. This might be a strong nudge to bring our relatives, friends and
countrymen to evacuation centers and be out of danger.
Do you agree with Mr. Paculan? Why? Which moral theory would best help in making sense
of the tragedy?
4. THE ME, ME, AND ME GENERATION
On Wednesday, November 20, 2013 of Vol. 28, No. 345 of the Philippine Daily Inquirer,
Margie David Collins of the Lifestyle Parenting section wrote her musings on the present
generation, the Millenials.
Also known as Generation Y (born between 1980s and 2000s), todays youth are
generally characterized as having a period of prolonged adolescence, marked by a pronounced
sense of entitlement and narcissism; suffering from excessive and unrealistic expectations and
the need for instant gratification; and mistrustful of their parents, showing little deference and
respect for authority.
She shared that a poll study yielded the following results: that on the subject of aspirations
and ambitions, what is foremost in the minds of todays youth are they wanted to be famous,
rich and sexy; Girls wanted to be models, actresses, wives or girlfriends of famous men or
footballers; The boys aspired to be pop stars, famous rappers or David Beckham. That young
womens source of joy are Botox injections and a salon shave; that their main concerns are
body image, their hotness, eating disorders; the insidious peer pressure to fit in and conform.
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Another study that she mentioned is by a finance group on 18-30 year olds which found that
Generation Y struggles to break free of the emotional and financial hold their parents have on
them, but once back home, still expect their moms and dads to do their laundry for them, cook
their meals and give them cash to pay for their chief obsessions: themselves, tech gadgets,
phone bills, travel and leisure. Or that once back home, these puerile fledglings treat it like a
hotel: come and go as they please, raid the fridge and the larder, spend inconceivably
inordinate amounts of time on their phones, slumped in front of the TV and computer screens,
living self-absorbedly on Facebook; Instagram curating and editing their lives.
The most shocking observation of Ms. David is on the subject of sex. She noted that
Generation Y are sexting and into casual arrangements, also known as hook-ups. They dont
believe in commitments but are comfortable with having f**k buddies or friends with benefits.
A bold and adventurous sex; one gets the impression that the millenials deem it acceptable to
have no strings-attached sex with multiple partners. She lamented that this being the case,
she cant help but take note of the fact that they are not really receptive to advice and are loath
to look into the past for guidance.
As a final word on the me, me, me generation, Ms. David hoped that more Mark Zuckerberg,
the Winklevosses, Elon Musk or the Houser brothers will come out of this group to negate Joel
Steins thoughts of Time magazine, Not only do they lack the kind of empathy that allows them
to feel concerned for others, they also have trouble intellectually understanding others point of
view.
How would you assess the Millenials? Would you consider them a boon or bane? Cite a
moral theory that can best address the situation.
5. TO DISMISS OR NOT TO DISMISS
You are the president of a manufacturing company (with 550 employees) that has an
excellent reputation in the small town in which you work. A newspaper reporter has discovered
that two members of your top-level management team have been involved in buying illegal
drugs on two occasions from a street-corner dealer. Both employees (a man and woman) have
been with the company for more than 7 years, and both have excellent performance.
The reporter has written a devastating story revealing all the details, has called on you to fire
them immediately, and has given the story and an interview to the local television station. You
have already received a call from the mayor to act responsibly with regard to the matter. More
than 100 of your loyal and conscientious employees have e-mailed you, asking that you not
dismiss the two employees and that, if you did dismiss them, they too would consider leaving
the company.
Explain what you would do (not what you would hope to or like to do) in the situation and
explain why.
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6. ETHICAL? OR ENTRAPMENT?
My job requires that I lie every day I go to work. I work for a private investigations agency
called XRT. Most of the work I do involves undercover operations, mobile surveillances, and
ground work searches to determine the whereabouts of manufacturers that produce counterfeit
merchandise.
Each assignment I take part in requires some deception on my part. Recently, I have
become very conscious of the fact that I frequently have to lie to get a lead to obtain concrete
evidence for a client. I sometimes dig myself so deeply into a lie that I naturally take it to the
next level without ever accomplishing the core purpose of the investigation.
Working for an investigative agency engages me in assignments that vary on a day-to-day
basis. I choose to work for XRT because it is not a routine 9-5 desk job. But to continue
working for the agency means I will constantly be developing new and untruthful stories. And
the longer I decide to stay at XRT, the more involved the assignments will be. To leave would
probably force me into a job photocopying and filing paperwork once I graduate from college.
Recently, I was given an assignment which I believed would lead me to entrap a subject to
obtain evidence for a client. The subject had filed for disabilities on workers compensation after
being hit by a truck. Because the subject refused to partake in any strenuous activity because
of the accident, I was instructed to fake a flat tire and videotape the subject changing it for me.
Although I did not feel comfortable engaging in this type of act, my supervisors assured me that
it was ethical practice and not entrapment. Co-workers and other supervisors assured me that
this was a standard industry practice, that we would go out of business if we didnt fudge the
facts once in a while. I was told, Do you think every business does its work and makes profits
in a purely ethical way? Get real. I dont know what theyre teaching you in college, but this is
the real world. It was either do the assignment or find myself on the street in an economy
with no jobs.
What is the dilemma here, or is there one? What would you have done in the situation? Explain.
Describe the ethics of the company. Compare and contrast your personal ethics with the
company ethics revealed here.

7. CHEATING OR LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD?


During one of last years midterm examinations in my finance class in college, I was faced
with my first ethical dilemma. My friend and I were studying for the exam when he explained
that he was going to punch the formulas into his calculator. He said that he has attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and that it was difficult for him to remember formulas. I shrugged
off the suggestion in the hope that he would exclude me from his decision. A few days later,
during the examination, I looked around and noticed that he was not the only one who had
entered the formulas in their calculators. My first reaction was damn, maybe I could have done
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the same thing. Then I remembered how the professor had told us that this was not allowed
and that we had all signed onto the colleges honor code system, which stated that we would
not cheat and that we would report those who did it. It was at that moment that I realized I was
faced with a dilemma: to tell or not to tell. I violated the honor code if I kept silent; I violated my
friends trust if I told. After all, I thought, he did have ADHD. Shouldnt he be given a break?
Also, I didnt want to tell so many students. Im not a police officer.
What would you have done in this situation and why? Do you agree with this students logical
thinking and his ethical reasoning? Explain. What would you have done differently and why?
Justify your answer.
8. EXPLOITING A CALAMITY (Philippine Star, Wednesday, November 13, 2013, p.16)
As if the grievous toll from Super Typhoon Yolanda is not enough, some groups are adding
to the suffering in the disaster areas. In Tacloban, looters and muggers are compounding the
victims misery. The Philippine Red Cross and military personnel also reported that members of
the communist New Peoples Army threatened relief workers and tried to seize the goods for
delivery to evacuees from Tacloban.
Residents are trying to leave Tacloban because even those with money cant find goods to
buy for their day-to-day survival. The international community has poured in aid and the
government has begun distributing relief goods. But because of the enormity of the disaster,
relief operations have been slow and the goods cant reach victims quickly enough.
This cannot be solved by looting and taking relief goods from volunteer workers at gunpoint.
Hundreds of government forces have been deployed to maintain peace and order in the
typhoon-hit areas.
Is looting justified in this situation? Explain.
9. SLIDING BACK (Philippine Daily Inquirer, Tuesday, November 12, 2013, p. A12)
The Philippines again faces the risk of being included in a US government list of so-called
notorious markets where intellectual property (IPR) is not protected.
Each year, the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) prepares a so-called Special
301 Report that addresses significant concerns with respect to 95 of Americas trading partners,
including the Philippines. In 2010, the USTR began publishing the notorious markets list
separately from the annual Special 301 Report. This identifies selected markets, including
online markets that are engaged in piracy and counterfeiting.
In separate filings submitted to the USTR, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the
International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) sought the Philippines inclusion in the physical
piracy notorious markets list.
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The BSA is the leading global advocate for the software industry and has world-class
companies like Apple and Microsoft as members. It noted that software piracy was by far the
biggest form of copyright piracy in dollar terms, with the world-wide commercial value of illegally
installed software at more than $63B in 2011.
Studies have noted that the Philippines had long recognized the significance of IPR
protection, given the countrys pool of talents in science and technology, biotechnology,
engineering, arts and music.
Despite all these, IPR infringements in the country remained a problem. Among the main
IPR infringements cited were optical media piracy, copyright and trademark violations, and
importation of counterfeit merchandise, software piracy and even cable television piracy.
Is the use of pirated software justified simply because licensed software is expensive?
Prove your point.
10. REMOTE PARKING
Several car companies produce models with a remote parking assistance feature that allows
a driver to pull a car close to a parking space, and then get out. After exiting the vehicle, the
driver presses a button on his keychain that tells the car to park it automatically. This feature is
very useful for parking in a narrow space and for parallel parking. The car uses a system of
sensors that emit ultrasonic sounds to detect cars, the curb, and pedestrians. Many versions
also include video cameras to monitor the location of the curb and any painted parking-space
lines. A computer in the car uses this information to automatically pull the car into the space,
while avoiding collisions.
Imagine the following scenario: A driver pulls up next to a parking space, checks to make
sure the space is clear, presses the button to start automatic parking, and then walks away.
After the drivers back is turned, a small child runs into the space and is seriously injured.
Who is primarily morally responsible for the childs injury?

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