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SC allows Cadet Cudia’s mother to intervene in son’s case

Buena Bernal

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SC allows Cadet Cudia’s mother to intervene in son’s case
The SC orders the PMA to comment on the petition of the mother of Cadet Cudia
Cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia sits next to Public Attorney's Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta while Cudia's father, Renato, shows off the grades of his son at the PAO office in Quezon City on Monday, March 24. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) found reason to hear the petition of Cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia’s mother, allowing her intervenor status to resolve more effectively the legal dispute on Cudia’s dismissal from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
In a notice dated March 31 but released Friday, May 9, the SC Third Division granted Filipina Cudia’s plea to become an intervenor in the case, even if she is not a direct party to it.
In her petition, Filipina Cudia asked the “PMA to restore Cadet Cudia’s rights and entitlements as a full-fledged graduating cadet, including his diploma and awards.” 
Cudia’s case stems from his dismissal over charges that he lied about his “explanation” for his tardiness in his 3 pm English class on November 14, 2013
The PMA Honor Committee, a powerful group in the PMA composed entirely of cadets, found Cudia guilty of violating the PMA Honor Code and voted for his dismissal from the academy. The committee probes into and rules on reports of alleged violations of the PMA Honor Code, which compels cadets not to lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those among them who do.
Based on the committee’s recommendation, Cudia failed to graduate. According to his family, he was expecting to graduate as salutatorian of his class and at the top of his Navy class.
The Cudia family used social media to air their grievances, and the scandal that stretched for weeks raised questions about the rigid secrecy of the Honor Committee.
Cudia’s case also led the AFP leadership to order a review of the PMA’s Honor System. 
Filipina Cudia’s petition
The SC Third Division ordered the PMA to comment on Filipina’s petition within 10 days from their receipt of the notice.
Filipina Cudia said the trial that led to her son’s dismissal from the country’s premiere military institution is a “sham,” saying that votes changed due to pressures applied on at least one committee member.
Attached to her petition was an affidavit from one Commander Junjie Tabuada, who said he heard of the pressures faced by the Honor Committee member who initially voted against Cudia’s dismissal.
“Compounding his persecution, Cadet Cudia was given nothing but a sham trial. The affidavit of Commander Junjie Tabuada is enlightening. He recalled Cadet First Class Lagura stating, ‘Chinamber ako sir, bale pinapa-justify kung bakit NOT GUILTY vote ko, at na-pressure din ako sir kaya binago ko, sir.’ (I was sent to the chamber and was asked to justify why my vote was NOT GUILTY and I was pressured so I changed my vote, Sir.)”
The admission of Lagura, said Cudia’s mother, is “vital information which could shed light to the case of Cadet Cudia.”
A sworn statement directly from the said cadet cannot be obtained, the petition said, as the order to ostracize him if he spoke of the incident was in place.
“Cadet Cudia cannot access or approach the cadets who were present during his trial and who witnessed the said 8-1 voting result as they are subject to the same order to ostracize,” the petition read.
“This practice of penalizing cadets who violate the order to ostracize is extremely unfair and runs afoul with the basic tenets of due process, which certainly is the bedrock of the trial of Cadet Cudia even when done under the auspices of a closed organization like the Corps of Cadets of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” it further read.

(Read the SC notice on Cudia’s case below.)

G.R. No. 211362

– Rappler.com

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