PMA class of 2014 graduates without Cudia
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The Philippine Military Academy class of 2014 graduated Sunday...
but controversial Cadet Aldrin Cudia was not among them.
The case transcends the questionable decision that caused his dismissal and sheds light on the academy’s honor code.
Carmela Fonbuena reports.
222 members of the “Siklab Diwa” Class graduate...
in the middle of a controversy on the academy’s PMA Honor Code.
The trigger, Cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia.
He fights the system to overturn the Honor Committee's ruling to dismiss him for lying.
He gains strong public support and gets the President’s attention.
PMA head Major General Oscar Lopez's speech is filled with metaphors.
MAJ GEN OSCAR LOPEZ, PMA SUPERINTENDENT: Happily ever after. This familiar line <garbled> that no matter how difficult the situations are, no matter how horrible the villains, are the hero always wins. The good prevails. And so the story ends with everyone living happily ever.”
What makes the hero always win despite all odds is that he has already won himself by living a perfectly living honorable life so that the happily after is actually just the fruit of the sturdy tree of goodness planted in life.
The President tells the new graduates: practice the Honor Code beyond the walls of the academy.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: Kung tungkulin nating parangalin ang Honor Code sa loob ng institusyong ito, panindigan din natin sana sa labas ng PMA. Kung bawal magsinungaling sa klase at sa kapwa kadete, di ba't hindi din dapat hayaan ang sinuman na linlangin ang kapwa at batas.
(Translation If it’s our duty to follow the Honor Code inside the PMA, we should also stand by it outside the institution. If we are not allowed to lie in class and to our fellow cadets, we shouldn’t let anyone fool his fellowmen and the law.)
Cudia fails to persuade President Aquino to overturn his dismissal after a last minute meeting.
The last glimmer of hope for the cadet: the President orders another probe.
The probe will be led by Armed Forces chief Emmanuel Bautista, a PMA alumnus himself.
The President will most likely leave the PMA alumni to resolve the issue.
Calls for reform echo beyond the academy especially in view of the military's spotty human rights records.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin says there may be a need to review the code.
VOLTAIRE GAZMIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: May mga batas na tayo ngayon na noong araw, noong panahon namin, ay wala pa itong mga batas na ito gaya ng International Humanitarian Law, yung Human rights. Marami nangn naidagdag na noong araw, wala pang ganiyang batas kaya walang kaming navaviolate. kaya kailangan pag-aralan. Naitasan ni Chief of Staff si Superintendent to form a technical working group to study all these things.
(We have laws now that we didn’t have before in my time. We didn’t have the International Humanitarian Law or the Human Rights. We didn’t have these additional laws so we weren’t violating anything. We have to study it. Our Chief of Staff assigned the Superintendent to form a technical working group to study all these things.)
Class Valedictorian is Jheorge LLona, a farmer's son from Albay.
He asks his classmates to stay true to the values they learned.
JHEORGE LLONA, CLASS VALEDICTORIAN: Nararapat lamang na ating isa-puso ang mag aral na itinuro ng ating pinakamamahal na akademya, courage, integrity at loyalty, na mas pinatibay pa ng ating honor code at ng edukasyon na nakuha natin dito.
Taas-noo ko pong masasabi na hinubog ng PMA ang kanyang mag anak upang maging epektibong leader ng AFP.
(We should take to heart the teachings of our beloved academy - courage, integrity and loyalty, which is further strengthened by our honor code and the education we received. I can proudly say the PMA molds its students to be effective leaders of the AFP.)
CARMELA FONBUENA, REPORTING: The controversy comes at a perfect time because the PMA system is currently under review. The issue is bigger than Cudia graduating from PMA. It is reviewing the honor system that molds future leaders of the military and the country. Carmela Fonbuena, Rappler, Baguio City.