Cadet’s fate lies in Aquino’s hand

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Friday, February 21, 2014


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The fate of Kapampangan Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Cadet 1st Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia lies in President Benigno Aquino III.

That is, if the reinvestigation ordered by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista on the case of Cudia will reach Aquino’s level.

"The President, being the Commander-In-Chief of the AFP, will just wait for the result of the reinvestigation and if it will reach his level. General Bautista has already ordered the reinvestigation on the case of Cudia, so we will wait for it before the President makes his decision on Cudia’s fate," PCOO Sec. Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

Cudia, a native of Arayat town, is supposedly a member of the PMA 2014 graduating class this coming March 16 where he is the No. 2 cadet. But because of the Honor Committee's recommendation for his dismissal, he cannot join the PMA graduation rites where President Aquino is the guest of honor and speaker.

The ouster of Cudia from Asia's premier military school is not about being tardy but about violations of the sacred honor code. PMA information officer Agness Lynette Flores said tardiness was the original offense of Cudia but as investigation of the PMA progressed, officers unraveled a deeper misdeed.

Flores declined to elaborate on the grievance Cudia committed but said violations of the honor code are based on three basic offenses lying, cheating and stealing.

"The Code does not tolerate anyone who will do these," the PMA information officer said. Flores added Cudia’s case was also opened to social media initially and then picked up by newspapers, radio and television.

"We at the PMA do not announce these cases to protect the cadet as well as the institution," Flores said.

In a statement, the PMA said, "The development of character and integrity among the cadets is a fundamental objective of the Philippine Military Academy. The Honor Code and the Honor System are among the primary instruments in attaining this objective. It is a unique system, which molds all the cadets to develop themselves into upright leaders of tomorrow."

It is one of the few times the information has leaked.

Flores said, "Cadet Cudia’s case is not an issue about being late in class. While it started as a violation of the regulations, which is coming to class late, the findings of the preliminary investigation conducted revealed a possibility of Cdt. Cudia violating the Honor Code which led to the opening of formal investigation by the Honor Committee. While the Academy recognizes his academic performance, this does not exempt him from strict observance of the Code."

Flores said the case went through the process, which assures Cudia of fairness passing through his instructor who initially triggered the investigation about his tardiness, then elevated to the tactical officer and finally to the Honor Board.

The Honor Board deliberated the fate of the cadet and finally decided to let him go.

The PMA statement added, "On the part of the Academy, due process was observed in the disposition of his honor case. The case folder bearing the recommendation of the PMA Superintendent for his separation from military service has been duly endorsed to higher headquarters in the Armed Forces of the Philippines for appropriate action. In line with this, the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines has given a guidance to conduct a re-investigation of the case. As to the status of Cadet Cudia in the Academy, he was already placed on an indefinite leave while awaiting the final disposition of his case."

Despite the academic excellence of Cudia, the academy put the Honor code as its highest gauge of character saying “As the breeding ground for future leaders of the AFP, PMA will continue to uphold the tenets of the Code which have been placed for generations. This code takes its roots within the heart and continues to live on long after each cadet graduates from the Philippine Military Academy. This binds the Cadet Corps with its alumni or the members of the long gray line.”

Flores said “We are deeply saddened in seeing such great talent go. But for PMA, and the Cadet Corps, in particular cannot be selective in its application of the Code regardless of a cadet’s academic performance and even personal circumstances. (With Ma. Elena Catajan/Sun.Star Baguio)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on February 22, 2014.

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