Dismissed PMA cadet's dad visits AFP chief

by Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 06 2014 11:08 PM | Updated as of Mar 07 2014 01:19 PM

MANILA – The father of embattled Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia on Thursday went to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters to make an appeal for his son's case.

Armed with a Christian devotional book and a bag full of his cadet son's documents, Renato Cudia traveled by bus all the way from Baguio to the AFP headquarters in Manila to meet with AFP Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista.

Cadet Cudia was recommended by the PMA's Honor Committee to be dismissed from the premier military institution because of lying -- a major offense under the PMA Honor Code.

He was charged with lying after he turned up two minutes late for class, and reasoned that he was late because the class was dismissed late.

He later on clarified that he meant to say that the teacher dismissed him late because he was instructed to wait for the grades of his classmates, which he had been tasked to distribute.

The Cudia camp asserts that the cadet did not lie, and accused the PMA Honor Committee of lying by changing their original votes in order to convict him.

Upon orders of the chief of staff, Cudia’s case is now with the PMA's Cadet Review and Appeals Board.

Renato walked to Bautista's office to personally ask for help for his son’s case.

In a letter, Renato claimed they could not submit the pieces of evidence they needed to prove Jeff’s allegations of vote-changing because the PMA refused to give them the voice recordings and minutes of his trial proceedings.

Renato teared up several times while talking about his son, and the effect the case is having on his wife and children. But he said if the cadet would not give up, neither would they.

Bautista is out of the country, and Renato was met instead by Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan, internal auditor and spokesperson of the AFP.

Tutaan received the older Cudia's letter and promised to give it to Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Alan Luga, who is the acting chief of staff in Bautista’s absence.

When Renato asked Tutaan about the chances of his son graduating, Tutaan told him to just wait for the review board's decision.

The PMA graduation rites will be held on March 16, 10 days from Thursday.

On March 10, the PMA will be announcing its top 10 cadets for 2014. The Cudia family said Aldrin Jeff is at the top of his Navy class, and is running for salutatorian in the Siklab Diwa Class of 2014.

While Renato is making the appeal for his son, the rest of the Cudia family are in Baguio to give support to the cadet, whom they say is being ostracized.

Tutaan declined to comment on whether there was ostracism in the PMA, saying it has been years since he graduated from the academy.