Philippine Military Academy Cadet 1st Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia, through the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), has appealed to the Supreme Court (SC) that he be allowed to graduate even after he was dismissed from the PMA in March last year.
In a motion for reconsideration, Cudia asked the SC en banc on Monday to reverse its ruling on February 24, 2015, that blocked his graduation and withheld his diploma over a breach of academy rules.
“In filing the instant motion, we seek not to deprive the [PMA] of academic freedom; we, in fact, recognize the same. But, it is one thing to say that the PMA enjoys said freedom to establish a disciplinary system and impose disciplinary action against an [allegedly]erring cadet; quite another to conclude that in the process, a cadet did not suffer serious transgressions of his constitutional rights. After all, this Honorable Court ruled that disciplinary proceedings, even in a military academy, must be conducted within the bounds of procedural due process. Truly, it cannot be used as a tool in violating the constitutional and human rights of a person,” he said through his legal counsel, Persida Rueda-Acosta, PAO chief.
Cudia was not allowed to graduate after he was accused of lying and violating the Honor Code of the PMA.
He is now asking the SC en banc to take a second hard look at the facts and circumstances of his case.
The PMA, the PMA-Honor Committee of 2014 and the PMA Cadet Review and Appeals Board, in deciding against Cudia), were said to have failed to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process enunciated in the court-cited cases of Wasson v. Towbridge, Hagopian v. Knowlton, Andrews v. Knowlton and Guzman v. National University.
The violations were noted earlier on by the Commission on Human Rights, which had the opportunity to talk to almost all of the personalities involved and assess the situation from the ground.
”It has also been held that while the discretion of a [court]will not ordinarily be controlled by mandamus, where such discretion of the [court]can be legally exercised in only one way and it refuses to act, mandamus will lie to compel the [court]to exercise it. Mandamus can be employed to correct errors of [lower courts]to prevent a failure of justice or irreparable injury where there is a clear legal right and there is an absence of any adequate remedy, as where there is no appeal or such remedy by appeal is inadequate. It may also be employed to prevent an abuse of discretion or corect an arbitrary action, which does not amount to exercise of discretion,” Cudia’s petition said.
Acosta implored the High Court’s justice and compassion for there could be life for Cudia even outside of the military.
“Indeed, Cadet Cudia may still have a future outside of the military; but this does not mean that his life and career were not at all tainted by all the persecution he went through. After all, he did dream of serving his country as a military man–a dream which he will never be able to achieve,” she pointed out.
Cudia can only do so, according to Acosta, by having his diploma or allowing him to graduate and pursue his career, even outside of the PMA.
“Even if Cadet Cudia and his entire family would soon face the reality that he has to give up on this dream once and for all [as soon as this motion is denied], it cannot be ignored that he already lost four long years of his life. Without a diploma, a clean transcript of records and a degree, all the subjects he already finished–with flying colors–would entirely be put to waste; this, he and his family cannot afford with their very meager means. Verily, he has to retake some, if not all, of the subjects he has already taken and he has to go back to first year of college,” she said.