Dismissed PMA cadet seeks lawmakers’ help

The Cudia family wants the Philippine Military Academy to give him his diploma

 EXHAUSTING ALL MEANS. The family and lawyer of dismissed cadet Jeff Cudia meet with Ako Bicol Rep Rodel Batocabe. Photo by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Dismissed Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia is exhausting all means to compel the PMA to give him his diploma.

Cudia, along with his parents and Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta, met with lawmakers Monday, March 31, at the House of Representatives – two weeks after he was dismissed from the academy.

Cudia’s father, Renato, reiterated they are not after the reinstatement of his son to the academy or the armed forces. They only want his diploma so Cudia can look for work as a civilian.

And they are not questioning the Honor Code either – only the alleged mistrial of his son.

“We are not against the Honor Code. We are against the unjust process of the Honor Committee. We are begging for your help,” said Renato Cudia, himself a former soldier.

Education Act

Ako Bicol Rep Rodel Batocabe is proposing to amend the Education Act to allow cadets in the same predicament as Cudia to get a certification stating that they have satisfactorily completed their academic requirements despite not being able to march for graduation.

“This is a very unique situation that really needs legislation based on humanitarian consideration,” Batocabe said. 

Besides, the government’s P2-million subsidy for Cudia’s 4-year education would go to waste if Cudia is not allowed to pursue his own career outside the academy, Batocabe added.

The lawmaker said he is not inclined to call for a probe into the affairs of the PMA Honor Committee.

Cudia was also expected to meet with Parañaque Rep Gus Tambunting Monday.

Cudia’s official records from the PMA show he is currently on “indefinite leave,” Acosta said. Cudia’s legal counsel has barred him from speaking to the media since his status could still make him subject to a court martial.  

Cudia failed to graduate from the PMA after losing his appeal to the powerful PMA committee. His is the most controversial case in recent PMA history, triggering public debate on the Honor Code and prompting a meeting between the Cudia family and President Benigno Aquino III, who is also commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Cudia supposedly lied about his explanation of why he was late in one class last year, something that the committee said violated the code.

In his appeal, Cudia presented new evidence to show alleged mistrial. One of the 9 voting members of the Honor Committee was supposedly forced to change his “not guilty” vote to make it a unanimous 9-0 vote. (READ: It’s final: Cudia not graduating)

BARRED FROM TALKING. Jeff Cudia accompanies his family but is not allowed to talk about his case. Photo by Rappler

Acosta said the Cudia family still has no update on the reinvestigation of his case that was earlier ordered by President Aquino after meeting with the family in Baguio a day before the PMA graduation.

Earlier, the Cudia family said Aquino failed to fulfill his promise to produce results in 7 days.

Acosta said the only thing left to do is to wait for the decision of the Supreme Court. The High Court has asked PMA to explain Cudia’s dismissal.

Aquino sends back report, wants PMA ‘roadmap’

Meanwhile, Aquino said he has asked Armed Forces Chief General Emmanuel Bautista for a “roadmap” on the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) that would improve the management of the country’s premier military academy.

Responding to questions in an interview with reporters after the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) commencement exercises in Silang, Cavite, on Monday, March 31, the President said he has received Bautista’s report on Cudia but sent it back for additional inputs.

Aquino said he read the “initial” report submitted to him by Bautista, who heads the special body the President had tasked to investigate the case, but was apparently dissatisfied with it.

He said “there are points that were not tackled in the investigation report” so he sent it back.

“I reiterated that to General Bautista, that these points that we saw in interviewing Cadet Cudia and others including the PMA hierarchy, some aspects of the system have to be fixed. They should give me a roadmap to put in order all these things that we need to improve for the better management of the PMA,” he said in Filipino.

The President had met with Cudia and his family on March 15, the eve of the PMA graduation, in response to their appeal for an audience with him regarding the cadet’s case. During the meeting, Aquino directed Bautista to take the lead in investigating the case. – Rappler.com

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