MANILA - It wasn't about tardiness but lying.
The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) on Thursday justified the decision of the PMA Honor Committee to dismiss a cadet for lying.
PMA spokeswoman Maj. Lynnette Flores said the academy is saddened that Cadet Alrin Jeff Cudia, who is supposed to graduate salutatorian of his class next month, will be out of the academy.
She said Cudia violated the PMA Honor Code, which teaches cadets not to steal, lie or tolerate the commission of these offenses.
"We are deeply saddened in seeing such great talent go. But the PMA, and the Cadet Corps, in particular, cannot be selective in its application of the Code regardless of a cadet’s academic performance and even personal circumstances," she said.
Contrary to the claims of Cudia's sister, the spokeswoman said Cudia is not being sanctioned for tardiness.
"While it started as a violation of the regulations, which is coming to class late, the findings of the preliminary investigation conducted revealed a possibility of Cadet Cudia violating the Honor Code which led to the opening of formal investigation by the Honor Committee," she said.
Cudia's sister, Annavee, earlier said his brother is being kicked out of the academy for reporting to a class two minutes late.
She said her brother informed authorities that he reported late because his other professor dismissed them late. He earned 11 demerits and 13 hours of touring as a result but the cadet appealed the punishment.
Annavee said the PMA Honor Committee, composed of PMA cadets, found him lying. She said the committee informed her brother that he should have told the body that he and his companions were asked by their professor to wait after the class.
Flores said that while the PMA recognizes Cudia's academic performance, "this does not exempt him from strict observance of the Code."
She said the Honor Code is absolute and does not distinguish between the degree of the offense committed.
"Once they lied, cheated, stole or tolerated the commission of these offenses, there is only one punishment - separation," she said.
Flores said "due process" was observed in the disposition of Cudia's case and that the Armed Forces chief of staff has ordered a re-investigation.
"As to the status of Cadet Cudia in the Academy, he was already placed on an indefinite leave while awaiting the final disposition of his case," she said.