Aquino to PMA grads: Fight corruption

David Yu Santos
President Aquino hits Chief Justice Renato Corona anew, this time, at the commencement exercises of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Bagwis Class 2012

BEWARE OF CORRUPTION. Aside from armed rebels and lawless groups, President Noynoy Aquino warns on Sunday, March 18, the 187 members of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Bagwis Class 2012 to be wary of another enemy: corruption. (Videograb from RTVM)

MANILA, Philippines – Speaking at the commencement exercises of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Bagwis Class 2012, President Benigno Aquino II urged the 187 newest commissioned officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to carry on the fight against corruption, which has plagued not only the country but even the organization for several years.

“Congratulations on your 4-year vacation at the Fort Del Pilar (PMA’s training grounds),” Aquino told the graduates in Baguio City on Sunday, March 18.

“It is time to put to action what you have learned and confront the pressing issues the country is facing,” he said.

“More than rebels and lawless elements, be wary of the enemy called corruption,” he also said, hinting anew at Chief Justice Renato Corona who is facing an impeachment trial.


Cadet First Class Tom Puertollano, 21, led this year’s graduates, finishing first in a batch of 187. As son of a carpenter from Lipa City, Puertollano received the Presidential Saber from Aquino.

Bok, Mistah let us offer our parents a round of applause,” Puertollano said in his valedictory speech.

“Before we depart this sacred ground and go our separate ways, let us make a solemn oath among ourselves: to stand committed and serve the Filipino people, and live by the principles and virtues our Alma Mater has instilled in each of us,” Puertollano said, addressing his classmates.

“Now is the time to give back, to return the favor that we have been so honored to have received from the people and the country,” he said.

In a post-ceremony interview with government TV station, PTV, Puertollano attributed his accomplishments to being a God-fearing person, pointing out that “one’s performance, not the awards, that define a true soldier.”

Cadet First Class Angeline Esmeria who ranked number 4 in the class, offered her honors to her father, an AFP enlisted personnel. She was the only female cadet out of 14 others in the class to land in the Top 10.

“He was my role model. The actions I have shown in the PMA reflected how my parents raised me up,” Esmeria said.

The 187 newly-commissioned AFP officers will be deployed to the following service units of their choice: 102 (Army), 35 (Airforce) and 50 (Navy/Marines). They have been commissioned with the ranks of 2nd Liuetenant or Ensign.

The President reiterated to the new PMA graduates to continue to look back to their reasons for joining the PMA, to serve as bearers of courage, integrity and loyalty, the primary virtues espoused by the military academic institution, and shun falling into the temptations of corruption to pursue personal-interests. –

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