PMA: It's not about cadet being late
MANILA, Philippines - The decision to dismiss a graduating cadet at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) is not simply about coming to class late. It's about breaking the Honor Code, the PMA said Thursday, February 20.
In a statement a day after news organizations broke the story on cadet Jeff Aldrin Cudia, the PMA insisted it adhered to due process when it investigated him and decided to exclude him from this year's roster of PMA graduates.
"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," according to the statement issued by the academy through Maj Agnes Lynette Flores, chief of its public affairs office.
Cudia is supposed to graduate with honors in March. "While the Academy recognizes his academic performance, this does not exempt him from strict observance of the Code," the PMA said.
The findings that prompted the decision to put him on an indefinite leave was endorsed by the PMA command, the statement added.
The Armed Forces chief of staff, General Emmanuel Bautista, however ordered a re-investigation of the case on Wednesday, February 19. The PMA will wait for the "final disposition of the case," the statement added.
In various posts on Facebook, Cudia's family decried what they said was the "trivial" cause of Cudia's dismissal - that he was reportedly late for 2 minutes in one class. They also singled out a PMA's tactical officer who reportedly nitpicked on Cudia because the cadet was asking too many questions in class. (READ: 2 minutes late for class, PMA cadet dismissed?)
The Honor Code is a curious culture in the academy that binds cadets and alumni alike. It implores them to: "not lie, cheat, steal nor tolerate among them those who do."
It's implemented by the Honors Committee which is composed of cadets. When the committee finds a cadet guilty of violating the code, the cadet is asked to resign or face ostracism.
"The Honor Code is absolute and it does not distinguish between the degree of the offense committed," the PMA statement said. "Once they lied, cheated, stole or tolerated the commission of these offenses, there is only one punishment – separation."
It added: "As the breeding ground for future leaders of the AFP, PMA will continue to uphold the tenets of the Honor Code which have been emplaced 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."
Ironically, the PMA has also produced graduates who got involved in corruption. Corrupt practices in the military have been repeatedly exposed, in particular "conversion," which allowed military officers to produce fake receipts in exchange for cold cash.
A retired major general, Carlos Garcia, is now in jail on charges he pocketed millions from soldiers' funds. (READ: Gen Garcia: How the big fish got away).
A former defense secretary, retired general Angelo Reyes, killed himself in 2011 following allegations he was given millions in retirement money. - Rappler.com
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