BELEAGUERED Philippine Military Academy (PMA) First Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia may still hope for some good news about his case from Malacañang, which decided to look into the circumstances surrounding his dismissal from the premier military school.
Cudia made a last ditch attempt to be allowed to graduate with his classmates at the Philippine Military Academy on Sunday by filing a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, before the Supreme Court. He also pleaded for a temporary restraining order or a status quo ante order against the PMA.
Cudia may not be able to join his fellow cadets during their graduation march on Sunday, but Deputy Presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said his case would continue to roll until “closure” is reached.
Valte said Cudia still has a fighting chance to appeal his dismissal from the PMA. “I would not be in a position to judge. But certainly there will have to be a closing on this particular issue, necessarily,” she stressed.
Valte said Public Attorneys Office chief Persida Acosta and her team of government lawyers were on their way to Fort Del Pilar in Baguio City to meet with members of the Honor Committee who voted 9-0 in rendering a guilty verdict against Cudia who was accused by his tactical officer of lying, a violation of the Honor Code.
“I understand that there has been movement since yesterday… So let’s see what happens next. But at least from the end of the Office of the President there is no update yet,” she said.
Valte said while every institution such as the PMA has the prerogative to adopt a particular Honor Code or at least a set of rules that would govern the behavior of its members, there are still a number of options for people like Cudia.
“There has been a decision and the cadet is not left without recourse. There are several things that are in play that are in process. So let’s wait for a determination of that,” she added.
Had he been allowed to graduate, Cudia should have been among the top of his class this Sunday. His case stemmed from an Honor Code violation slapped against him for arriving just two minutes late for his next class.
The Honor Committee initially voted 8-1 on Cudia’s case but the lone dissenter was “pressured” to change her vote and eventually concurred with the other cadets.
Critics said the Honor Code though sacred, is mired by an obsolete and abuse- prone Honor system such as giving young cadets the job of a judge when they are not competent to handle matters of law. Also, it was observed that the Honor Committee proceedings are done without the guidance of military lawyers such as those from the Judge Advocate General.
Cudia filed his case before the Third Division of the SC as he sought the tribunal’s intervention to give him the honors and awards he deserves. He belongs to the Siklab Diwa 2014 class.
He also prayed to the SC “ to commission Cadet Aldrin Jef Cudia as the new ensign of the Philippine Navy if all the material requirements for his baccalaureate degree have been completed in time for 16 March 2014 Commencement exercises.”
Further, he wanted the court to stop al the cadets from ostracizing him and to compel the Honor Committee to submit to the PMA Cadet’s Review and Appeals Board all the records of the proceedings done against Cudia.
Plea also to allow Cudia a right to counsel who could actively participate into the proceedings and allow them to cross examine the documents and confront the witnesses against him.
“For the PMA to cease and desist from approving the guilty verdict of the Honor Committee as the basis for separating or expelling Cadet Cudia from the Academy.
Cudia was expelled due to lying after he came late to class.