No Cudia in welcome dinners for PMA 'Siklab Diwa' Class of 2014
MANILA, Philippines (Update) – Two weeks before their graduation on March 16, members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) "Siklab Diwa" Class of 2014 trooped from Baguio City to the country's capital to be welcomed by their future commanders in the Army, Navy, and the Air Force.
These are the classmates of dismissed Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia, who is waiting for the result of a reinvestigation of his case. Refusing to resign, he was placed on indefinite leave of absence. (READ: Cudia faces PMA appeals board)
Cudia is supposed to graduate salutatorian and receive the Navy saber as the top of the Navy class.
Navy spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Gregory Fabic told Rappler Cudia cannot be a part of the navy until he graduates from the academy. "If he graduates, he will be called to active duty," Fabic said.
The PMA ordered Cudia's separation following a ruling of the PMA Honor Committee – composed entirely of students – to declare him guilty of violating the honor code. His family's Facebook posts exposed an otherwise confidential proceedings. (READ: Did Cadet PMA Cudia lie? Document shows details and PMA: It's not about cadet being late)
The cadet corps has ordered his ostracism, however.
PMA forwarded to the major services the names of 223 graduating cadets.
A total of 57 cadets were welcomed by navy chief Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano on Tuesday, March 4, 119 cadets by Army chief Major General Hernando Iriberri also on Tuesday, and 47 cadets by Air Force chief Lieutenant General Lauro Catalino Dela Cruz on Monday, March 3.
These cadets will start their career in the Armed Forces with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant or Ensign in the case of Navy personnel.
A fake list of graduates reportedly circulated to include the name of Cudia. "We have to look into why a list was released through a website that is appearing to be that of the Philippine Military Academy. In our conversation with Major Lynette Flores (PMA spokesperson), that is not the official website," said Armed Forces spokesperson Lt Col Ramon Zagala.
Navy reception dinner
During the reception dinner, the navy chief answered some questions from the cadets. Fabic said Cudia was never brought up.
"The discussion evolved around their role as future navy officers. How they can contribute to the accomplishment of the navy mission, how they will pursue professional development, and their options of specialization," said Fabic.
He said they also asked about the incoming assets of the navy in the wake of the military's revised modernization program. The navy recently acquired refurbished Hamilton Class cutters from the US Coast Guard and brand new naval choppers among others.
Alano gave them "words of wisdom for their professional growth," Fabic said.
The incoming Army and Air Force officers were given their uniforms and service firearm.
Class Baron Cadet First Class Clint Achilles Ramos led 119 incoming Army officers of the military in a reception dinner hosted by the Army chief on Tuesday.
"These 119 incoming officers will beef up the Army’s personnel and operational capabilities as it continues to pursue its mandate of serving the people and securing the land," according to a statement released by the Philippine Army.
Cadet First Class Jheorge Llona, on the other hand, led the incoming Air Force officers in the reception dinner held on Monday, March 3.
"Lieutenant General Dela Cruz gave high hopes for the aerocadets for they will be the beneficiaries of new air assets such as the FA-50 Fighter Jets," said Air Force spokesperson Colonel Miguel Okol.