Cudia faces PMA appeals board
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Cadet Jeff Cudia last week faced the Cadet Review and Appeals Board (CRAB) to present his case against the decision of his classmates in the Honor Committee to dismiss him, according to Armed Forces spokesperson Major General Domingo Tutaan.
"Cadet Cudia was made to appear before the CRAB. He did appear last week and the investigation is still continuing," Tutaan told reporters on Monday, March 3.
"Cadet Cudia is going to submit some documents. They have not been submitted," he added.
The CRAB is a body in the PMA headquarters composed of the academy's officer corps. It is now reviewing the decision of the Honor Committee – a body composed entirely of PMA students – to declare Cudia guilty of violating the academy's honor code.
The code implores cadets not to lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those among them who do so. Cudia's tactical officer reported him for allegedly lying in his explanation of why he was late in one class. (READ: Did PMA cadet Cudia lie? Document shows details and PMA: It's not about cadet being late)
Cadets declared guilty of violating the honor code are expected to "resign honorably."
Former PMA Superintendent Lieutenant General Edgar Abogado approved Cudia's "separation" from the service, but Armed Forces chief General Emmanuel Bautista ordered a reinvestigation of the case. Tutaan said this is an option for the command in cases when cadets refuse to resign. (READ: AFP chief orders review of cadet's case)
Abogado retired last month. His successor Major General Oscar Lopez is on top of the reinvestigation. Bautista, Lopez, and Tutaan are members of PMA Class 1981.
Fighting it out
Cudia himself is fighting his dismissal. (READ: PMA cadets fights back, gets support). He has been staying in a holding center inside the academy for over a month now.
Through the Facebook posts of his supporters, Cudia's case exposed the otherwise confidential proceedings of the Honor Committee.
His family claimed it was a mistrial, citing among others a supposed move to change the voting results from 8-1 to 9-0 in favor of his dismissal. A unanimous vote is required to punish a cadet.
The Honor Committee has since ordered the "ostracism" of Cudia, saying the public statements about the case broke rules.
The PMA graduation is scheduled 2 weeks from now, March 16. His sister claimed he's supposed to graduate salutatorian and on top of the Navy class.
Tutaan said the PMA wants to resolve the issue as soon as possible but the CRAB is waiting for Cudia to submit some documents.
Tutaan also said allegations of vote rigging within the Honor Committee will also be looked into.
Tutaan dismissed criticism that the PMA is following a "primitive" honor code. "We have a cadet honor code and honor system handbook. The last of which is series 2011. It cannot be primitive," he said. – Rappler.com