CADET CUDIA WON'T JOIN PMA GRADUATION RITES - PMA SUPERINTENDENT

Cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia, the controversial Philippine Military Academy cadet dismissed for violating the Honor Code, will not join the graduation rites on Sunday, March 16. “He is being recommended for dismissal from the Cadet Corps Armed Forces of the Philippines,” military spokesperson Major General Domingo Tutaan told reporters on Tuesday at Camp Aguinaldo. “[The PMA] has submitted a second recommendation for upholding the dismissal of Cadet Cudia. This has been submitted to the [AFP] chief of staff dated March 10, 2014. The GHQ [General Headquarters] has already endorsed this with the same recommendation to the Office of the President through the Office of the Secretary Department of National Defense,” he added. PMA Superintendent Major General Oscar Lopez announced the decision on Tuesday afternoon in Baguio City. The PMA’s decision on Cudia’s separation from the academy now lies with President Benigno Aquino III, the military’s commander-in-chief.

ALSO: Dismissed cadet's dad, PAO chief urge Noy to reverse dismissal

The father of cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia and the chief of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) want President Benigno Aquino III to review and correct the controversial dismissal of the aspiring soldier, who is supposed to graduate as class salutatorian this month. Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Renato Cudia said he wants his son to graduate - even without honors - from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) to receive the fruit of his four-year hardships in the premiere military school in Baguio City. "Kung nakikinig po ngayon ang ating mahal na Pangulo... Nawa po ay bigyan naman po nila ng katarungan itong aking anak na nagnanais din po namang mamuhay ng mapayapa," the older Cudia said. First Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia was set to graduate this month as No. 2 in his class. But he was dismissed by the PMA for allegedly violating the academy’s Honor Code when he lied about why he was two minutes late for a class.

ALSO: Aquino keeping an open mind on Cudia’s appeal—Palace

Malacañang said on Wednesday that President Benigno Aquino would like to keep an open mind on the dismissal case against Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia, whose case has been forwarded to the Chief Executive for final resolution. Cudia’s camp is now awaiting Aquino’s action on the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) review board’s decision upholding the dismissal of the senior cadet. The President, the commander in chief of the Armed Forces, will be the guest of honor during the graduation of Cudia’s batch, the “Siklab Diwa” Class of 2014, in Baguio this Sunday. But based on the decision of the Honor Committee and later, the Cadet Review and Appeals Board, Cudia will not be joining his classmates following his dismissal for “violating” the academy’s “honor code.” Cudia, who would have been the salutatorian of his batch, allegedly lied about the reason he had arrived late in one class. Noting that he’s a “civilian,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda struggled to respond when asked about the possibility of “revisiting” the PMA’s honor code in light of Cudia’s case.

ALSO: ‘Please let him graduate,’ Cudia family pleads

The family of dismissed Philippine Military Academy cadet Jeff Aldrin Cudia on Wednesday pleaded to let him graduate, even if he would no longer be commissioned as an officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Cudia’s sister, Avee, said it was all right that his brother would graduate without honors. He would have been eligible for at least the third top cadet. The graduation will be held on Sunday, March 16, at Fort Del Pilar, Loakan Road in Baguio City. On Tuesday, the top 10 graduates were presented to the media. Cudia will not join the 223 cadets who will be commissioned as second lieutenants. When Cudia was first ordered dismissed by the Honor Committee, it was his sister Avee that exposed it to social media. Proceedings at PMA are usually kept confidential. This earned the PMA and Honor Code public criticisms. To dismiss a cadet from service, there must be a unanimous 9-0 vote of the Honor Committee that is composed of cadets. Cudia accused that there was originally an 8-1 voting. A re-investigation was ordered by AFP chief General Emmanuel Bautista, but the PMA upheld its decision. “Regarding the commission, parang ayaw ko na rin po sya ma-commission. Hindi ko naman sa nilalahat pero nagsabi na ang ilan sa kanila, ‘Humanda siya pag nag-commission sya. Pagpasasa-pasahan namin sya.’ Meron pa rin ostracism pag labas niya. Ma-ostracize din siya,” she said in an interview on a cable news television.

ALSO: Cadet Cudia classmates: Public should accept decision of military leadership

The top two graduates of “Siklab Diwa” Class of 2014 on Saturday said the public should support the decision of the military leadership, and ultimately, of President Benigno Aquino III on the fate of their classmate, Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia. Cudia, who has been fighting his dismissal, should accept and respect whatever decision is made, they said.
“All I can tell Cadet Cudia is, he knows what is happening. Whatever decision the leadership makes, he should accept it wholeheartedly. His family and the Filipinos supporting him should accept it,” class valedictorian Cadet First Class Jheorge Llona told reporters in an interview. Llona said no one forced any of them to join the military, wherein they bind themselves to its rules and regulations. Cudia’s classmates are well aware of the support he has been able to generate among the public, especially netizens, who believe that the aspiring Navy officer should be given a second chance for the “small lie” he made on why he was late for class in November. “Maybe in their minds that was just a small lie but the PMA wants to mold leaders. Whether a lie is big or small, it is still a lie,” said class salutatorian Cadet First Class Liza Dango.


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Cudia won’t join PMA graduation rites – academy superintendent


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Cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia, PMA cadet dismissed for violation of honor code. PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK

MANILA, MARCH 10, 2014 (INQUIRER)  By Frances Mangosing - Cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia, the controversial Philippine Military Academy cadet dismissed for violating the Honor Code, will not join the graduation rites on Sunday, March 16.

“He is being recommended for dismissal from the Cadet Corps Armed Forces of the Philippines,” military spokesperson Major General Domingo Tutaan told reporters on Tuesday at Camp Aguinaldo.

“[The PMA] has submitted a second recommendation for upholding the dismissal of Cadet Cudia. This has been submitted to the [AFP] chief of staff dated March 10, 2014. The GHQ [General Headquarters] has already endorsed this with the same recommendation to the Office of the President through the Office of the Secretary Department of National Defense,” he added.

PMA Superintendent Major General Oscar Lopez announced the decision on Tuesday afternoon in Baguio City.

The PMA’s decision on Cudia’s separation from the academy now lies with President Benigno Aquino III, the military’s commander-in-chief.

Honor Code violation

Cudia was accused of violating the Honor Code, for lying as to why he was late. The Honor Committee voted for his dismissal, and was affirmed by then PMA Superintendent Vice Admiral Edgar Abogado.

He would have graduated salutatorian and was supposed to be the top cadet to join the Philippine Navy.

The Honor Code says that “one must not lie, cheat, steal nor tolerate those who do.”

The case of Cudia at PMA was supposed to be confidential as per PMA’s tradition, but it reached cyberspace as his sister, Avee, posted about his case on Facebook. This led to criticisms on PMA and the Honor Code.

Cudia’s sister also accused the Honor Committee of rigging the votes to dismiss her brother. She said it was originally an 8-1 voting for the dismissal of Cudia. A unanimous 9-0 vote from the Honor Committee is required to dismiss a cadet from the academy. After the controversy broke out, AFP chief General Emmanuel Bautista then ordered a re-investigation of the case.

Top 10

The PMA also announced this year’s Top 10. This year’s PMA valedictorian is Cadet First Class Jheorge Llona from Daraga in Albay. He will join the Philippine Air Force.

There are 223 cadets of “Siklab Diwa Class of 2014″ that are graduating on Sunday at PMA in Baguio with Aquino as guest of honor. They will be commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the AFP.

Not the first time

This was not the first time that a cadet was dropped from the rolls because of Honor Code violation.

PMA spokesperson Major Agnes Lynette Flores refused to give details on previous cases of Honor Code violators, saying it was “confidential.”

“Cudia’s case was only known because he brought his case to the public,” she told INQUIRER.net.

A PMA alumnus familiar to the honor system said it is hard to track down cases of Honor Code violators. There is a strict implementation of the Honor Code at PMA.

Violators of the Honor Code either resign from service or face ostracism.

“The mere act of resignation already restores your honor. And this ends the cause of the investigation. That is the honorable thing to do. When you get out of the service, they will not question you. They already know,” the alumnus told INQUIRER.net.
“Cadets guilty of the honor code are expected to resign honorably– something Cudia did not do,” he added.

Either way, even if Cudia would have been allowed to graduate, he will face ostracism throughout his military career.

In the late 1970s, a son of a general who was in his third year at PMA was found guilty of cheating. He was ordered dismissed by the Honor Committee but his parents took it to local courts. The cadet was allowed to go on and was able to graduate.

But the young officer only lasted about two years in the service because he did not survive the ostracism.

FROM PHILSTAR

Dismissed cadet's dad, PAO chief urge Noy to reverse dismissal By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated March 12, 2014 - 11:18am 15 1386 googleplus0 0


FROM GMA NEWS: Dad of dismissed PMA cadet appeals to AFP Uploaded on 4:27PMAt Camp Aguinaldo, Renato Cudia, father of Philippine Military Academy cadet Aldrin Cudia, talks to the media on Wednesday, March 12, as he appeals to the Armed Forces of the Philippines the dismissal of his son Aldrin. The younger Cudia was penalized for supposedly lying, a violation of the PMA Honor Code. GMA News

MANILA, Philippines - The father of cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia and the chief of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) want President Benigno Aquino III to review and correct the controversial dismissal of the aspiring soldier, who is supposed to graduate as class salutatorian this month.

Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Renato Cudia said he wants his son to graduate - even without honors - from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) to receive the fruit of his four-year hardships in the premiere military school in Baguio City.

"Kung nakikinig po ngayon ang ating mahal na Pangulo... Nawa po ay bigyan naman po nila ng katarungan itong aking anak na nagnanais din po namang mamuhay ng mapayapa," the older Cudia said.

First Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia was set to graduate this month as No. 2 in his class. But he was dismissed by the PMA for allegedly violating the academy’s Honor Code when he lied about why he was two minutes late for a class.

Lawyer Persida Acosta, chief of the PAO, said they have the testimony of a PMA professor proving that he asked Cudia to stay longer in class to wait for his grade, disallowing the cadet to arrive on time for his next subject.

'Lack of due process, unconstitutional'

With these testimonies that they have gathered, Acosta believes that there was a lack of due process when the PMA board decided to dismiss Cudia.

Acosta also pointed out that Cudia was not provided with a lawyer when he was given time to make an appeal. And when the PMA board denied his motion to extend the period of appeal, Acosta said the academy did not even state a reason.

She said they also have the testimony of the PMA naval warfare department head who had a conversation with a member of the honor committee who was forced to change his vote to dismiss Cudia.

A portion of that conversation, which was read during the ANC interview, said: "Talagang not guilty ang vote ko sa kanya (Cudia) sir... Chinamber ako sir, bale pinapa-justify kung bakit not-guilty ang vote ko, at na-pressure din ako sir kaya binago ko sir."

Acosta said this violates the Constitution itself.

"Dapat yung pagboto, bukal sa puso yan eh. Kasi buhay at kapalaran ng kadete 'yan eh," Acosta said. "Sa ating Constitution, no person shall be deprived of life, liberty and property without due process of law. Pero kung ganyang merong parang perceived anomaly, aba'y dapat tignan po ng AFP ito."

The public lawyer also said that there was a lack of transparency in the proceedings of the investigation on Cudia's dismissal.

Until today, Acosta said they don't have copies of the PMA's probe findings and minutes of the hearings.

"Basta nag-aabang na lang sa internet itong pamilya (Cudia's) kung anong ipapalabas na statement nila (PMA)," she said.

Appeal to AFP, Aquino

The PAO chief said she will now appeal to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) before proceeding to Malacañang as a last resort.

"Nanawagan po ako kay [AFP] Chief of Staff, Emmanuel Bautista, parang awa niyo, itama niyo po kung may mali," Acosta said.

She also pointed out that it would not look appropriate when President Aquino goes to the PMA commencement exercises amid the controversy hounding Cudia's dismissal.

"Ang plano ko, after ng Camp Aguinaldo, pupunta ako sa Palasyo para makipagusap sa mga taong kinauukulan para iayos ito. Kasi pupunta ang mahal na Pangulo doon (PMA), may isang isyung nakalutang," Acosta said.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Aquino keeping an open mind on Cudia’s appeal—Palace By Christian V. Esguerra Philippine Daily Inquirer 7:12 pm | Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang said on Wednesday that President Benigno Aquino would like to keep an open mind on the dismissal case against Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia, whose case has been forwarded to the Chief Executive for final resolution.

Cudia’s camp is now awaiting Aquino’s action on the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) review board’s decision upholding the dismissal of the senior cadet.

The President, the commander in chief of the Armed Forces, will be the guest of honor during the graduation of Cudia’s batch, the “Siklab Diwa” Class of 2014, in Baguio this Sunday.

But based on the decision of the Honor Committee and later, the Cadet Review and Appeals Board, Cudia will not be joining his classmates following his dismissal for “violating” the academy’s “honor code.”

Cudia, who would have been the salutatorian of his batch, allegedly lied about the reason he had arrived late in one class.

Noting that he’s a “civilian,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda struggled to respond when asked about the possibility of “revisiting” the PMA’s honor code in light of Cudia’s case.

“How do we put it? I suppose one rotten apple should not spoil the entire barrel,” he said.

“It’s a culture that they have imbibed in the four years of training in the Philippine Military Academy, and I would believe that most of those graduates continue to observe the Honor Code, even while they are no longer in the Philippine Military Academy.”

Lacierda was then reminded that many of these PMA graduates were later on involved in cases of corruption and similar irregularities.

“I share, in a sense, that kind of question that you [asked], but I cannot speak for the AFP or for the PMA on that,” he replied when asked by the Philippine Daily Inquirer during the press briefing.

“It’s a culture embedded within the PMA and so I will leave it at that. It’s better for the military to speak on that.

In 2011, the Senate investigated former military chiefs for allegedly receiving millions in “sendoff” gifts (“pabaon”) or in kickbacks from the practice of fund “conversion” within the Armed Forces.

One whistleblower was retired Lieutenant Colonel George Rabusa, a member of PMA Class 1981, who spilled the beans on his former bosses in the military while admitting that he also pocketed huge amounts in kickbacks.

‘Please let him graduate,’ Cudia family pleads By Frances Mangosing INQUIRER.net 5:57 pm | Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 49 86


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Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia. Photo from Facebook

MANILA, Philippines – The family of dismissed Philippine Military Academy cadet Jeff Aldrin Cudia on Wednesday pleaded to let him graduate, even if he would no longer be commissioned as an officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Cudia’s sister, Avee, said it was all right that his brother would graduate without honors. He would have been eligible for at least the third top cadet. The graduation will be held on Sunday, March 16, at Fort Del Pilar, Loakan Road in Baguio City.

On Tuesday, the top 10 graduates were presented to the media. Cudia will not join the 223 cadets who will be commissioned as second lieutenants.

When Cudia was first ordered dismissed by the Honor Committee, it was his sister Avee that exposed it to social media. Proceedings at PMA are usually kept confidential. This earned the PMA and Honor Code public criticisms.

To dismiss a cadet from service, there must be a unanimous 9-0 vote of the Honor Committee that is composed of cadets. Cudia accused that there was originally an 8-1 voting.

A re-investigation was ordered by AFP chief General Emmanuel Bautista, but the PMA upheld its decision.

“Regarding the commission, parang ayaw ko na rin po sya ma-commission. Hindi ko naman sa nilalahat pero nagsabi na ang ilan sa kanila, ‘Humanda siya pag nag-commission sya. Pagpasasa-pasahan namin sya.’ Meron pa rin ostracism pag labas niya. Ma-ostracize din siya,” she said in an interview on a cable news television.

Because Cudia did not resign for violating the Honor Code, he is expected to be ostracized for the rest of his military career if he would be commissioned to service.

Cudia was accused of lying as to why he was late. Lying is a grave violation in the military school. The Honor Code, which says that “one must not lie, cheat, steal nor tolerate those who do” is strictly implemented.

His father, Renato, also had the same sentiments with Avee.

“Galing ako dyan. Alam ko na ang magiging bukas niya pag sya ay na-commission. Ayoko na rin naman po. Sana lang ay ang apat na taon ng paghihirap..sana bigyan ng pagkakataon na makatapos at mabigyan ng pagkakataong makatapos at matanggap ang bunga ng paghihirap at bunga ng pagbabayad ng tax ng mga tao,” he said.

Renato was a former soldier of the Special Warfare Group but left the service to become a commercial diver abroad. This was to be able to support his family better.

“Kinuha nila ang anak namin ng buong-buo at ngayon ay ibabalik nyo nang basag,” he said.

Cudia still at PMA

Avee said that her brother remained at PMA’s holding center. “He already has a separation order, but if he leaves he is already barred from entering the PMA.”

She clarified that her brother was not detained.

“Di ko siya nakikitaan ng low morale. Tinatanong nya ako kumusta ka na? Okay ka lang ba? Ano ng plano natin? Gusto mo ba maging opisyal ako? Sabi ko kung ano ang gusto mo yun ang i-follow mo,” the teary-eyed Avee said.

On Wednesday, the family of Cudia also visited Camp Aguinaldo to submit an appeal memorandum seeking for a re-trial of the case. They were accompanied by Public Attorney’s Office chief Atty. Persida Acosta.

Cudia’s camp said they have a new evidence that there was indeed rigging of votes by the Honor Committee.

“Question lang po. What do you think is right? Sa tingin niyo po ano ang tama?” Avee said when asked what she would like to say to President Benigno Aquino III, the military’s commander-in-chief.

Cadet Cudia classmates: Public should accept decision of military leadership By Nikko Dizon, Vincent Cabreza Inquirer Northern Luzon 4:35 am | Sunday, March 16th, 2014

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City, Philippines—The top two graduates of “Siklab Diwa” Class of 2014 on Saturday said the public should support the decision of the military leadership, and ultimately, of President Benigno Aquino III on the fate of their classmate, Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia.

Cudia, who has been fighting his dismissal, should accept and respect whatever decision is made, they said.

“All I can tell Cadet Cudia is, he knows what is happening. Whatever decision the leadership makes, he should accept it wholeheartedly. His family and the Filipinos supporting him should accept it,” class valedictorian Cadet First Class Jheorge Llona told reporters in an interview.

Llona said no one forced any of them to join the military, wherein they bind themselves to its rules and regulations.

Cudia’s classmates are well aware of the support he has been able to generate among the public, especially netizens, who believe that the aspiring Navy officer should be given a second chance for the “small lie” he made on why he was late for class in November.

“Maybe in their minds that was just a small lie but the PMA wants to mold leaders. Whether a lie is big or small, it is still a lie,” said class salutatorian Cadet First Class Liza Dango.

(The PMA had belatedly corrected the claim of Cudia’s family that he was the supposed salutatorian. The school said Cudia’s grades actually qualified him for the third spot.)

Both Llona and Dango expressed support for the Honor Code and the honor system being followed by the cadet corps.

Understands civilian support

“We have an honor system and the Honor Code. We support it. We believe in it. We stand by whatever we say and whatever our faults. In case we commit an offense against the Honor Code, we will accept the punishment,” Llona said.

Llona said he understood the civilians showing support for Cudia.

“They don’t have so much idea about the honor system and the Honor Code. That’s why they are taking pity on Cudia, that’s why they had made such comments,” Llona said.

Llona said their class continues to be united despite the criticisms against them and the academy.

Cudia, he said, remains part of their class. “We are saddened by what has happened but we have regulations to follow,” he said.

And it appears that resigning from the cadet corps is still not an option for Cudia.

Members of the Philippine Military Academy Corps of Cadets, from the incoming senior cadets to their juniors, have been watching the story of Cudia unfold, top academy officials said here yesterday.

Col. Rozzano Briguez, PMA commandant of cadets, said the cadets have been anxious about the scandal generated by social media, after Cudia’s sister, Annavee, disclosed her brother’s fight to graduate today.

Briguez described his job as “the second father of all cadets,” whose chief task is to see to their physical, mental and emotional well-being.

He said the PMA had been advising young cadets to ignore the attacks on the academy’s ethics and virtues, which were launched in sympathy for Cudia.

Briguez said the cadets have been monitoring the events to see how it would be resolved because it affects the very foundation of their ideals. All cadets, however, take the Honor Code pledge: “We, the cadets, do not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate among us those who do so.”

But the PMA is also reviewing the process taken by cadets to enforce the Honor Code, Briguez told the Inquirer.

Lawyer in hearings

For example, the PMA is considering adopting a process that would require cadets put on honor report (a complaint for violating the Honor Code) to have a lawyer during the hearings, Briguez said.

“We will discuss it with the cadets themselves. The honor system may not be perfect… but it is not static, it is dynamic,” Briguez said.

He said the cadets had also learned to ignore the issue and proceed with their tasks.

On Saturday, the junior cadets had fun by pulling out members of Siklab Diwa from their barracks to be dunked into the PMA pool, an annual tradition.

But a day before graduation, Cudia’s fight remained the biggest story among parents and cadets alike.

Teotimo Bacsarsa, a Cebu resident and father of Cadet First Class Carlo Niño Bacsarsa, said he understands that cadets value their Honor Code.

Cadet Bacsarsa received the Mathematics Award in a ceremony attended by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

Alexander Balungaya of Cagayan said his son, Cadet First Class Alexander Balungaya Jr., was once turned back so he appreciates the hardships of a PMA training.

He said Cudia will not simply abandon all that he went through without preserving his dignity.

The parents of Cadet First Class Billy Codiam of Kalinga agreed.

Codiam is the third ranking cadet of Siklab Diwa, but his parents, Marciano and Ida, were worried by reports about Cudia last week when they mistook the beleaguered cadet to be their son because their surnames sounded alike.

“Our community informed us about the expulsion and we were afraid. So we phoned Billy and he told us that it was a mistake, that he was fine,” Marciano said.

Sunday’s graduation will have many highlights, including the march of the first female “goat” (or the lowest ranking cadet of the graduating class) since the first batch of women graduated from the academy in 1997.

The Philippine Information Agency Cordillera regional office announced on Saturday that Cadet First Class Ernalyn Fernando will graduate at the bottom of the 223-member Siklab Diwa class.

The PMA celebrates the “goat” for fighting all odds in order to graduate. With a report from Frank Cimatu, Inquirer Northern Luzon


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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