MANILA - Embattled Philippine Military Academy cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia is fighting back after he was recommended for dismissal from the country's premier military school for supposedly violating the Honor Code.
Cudia has filed honor violation charges against fellow cadets composing the Honor Committee who voted to dismiss him from PMA.
Cudia, who was supposed to graduate salutatorian this March under Siklab-Diwa class, had been recommended for dismissal after he was found to have violated the PMA Honor Code, which teaches cadets not to lie, cheat, steal or tolerate the commission of these offenses.
Cudia's case began after he came in late for class. This incident was reported through a delinquency report (DR).
A student who receives a DR will be given a chance to explain, and in his written explanation, Cudia said that his previous class dismissed them late.
However, upon Cudia's tactical officer's investigation, it was found out that the cadet's previous class was dismissed on time and that he just stayed behind. This was cited as a ground to charge Cudia with violating the honor code.
Cudia, for his part, explained he did not intend to deceive anyone with his explanation. He also believes he did not violate the code.
Cudia was meted the penalty of 11 demerits and 13 hours of "touring" for violating the PMA's time-honored code. He had also been placed on an indefinite leave without pay and allowances effective Feb. 10, and forbidden from joining any more PMA activities until he was officially dismissed from the academy.
Cudia himself has refused to take calls from the media, but documents show he has not given up.
On Feb. 13, Cudia charged 11 members of the Honor Committee also with an honor violation for lying and cheating.
Cudia said he learned that the result of the voting had been changed. There was one committee member who voted "not guilty" at the beginning and under PMA rules, a one "not guilty" vote is enough to acquit an accused.
The committee, however, returned to chambers and voted again. This time, a unanimous "guilty" verdict was handed down.
Cudia said this was not mentioned in the minutes of the case. Thus, he believes that the members of the committee lied and cheated.
"I am still bound to report any violation of the honor code that came to my attention. I believe that the Honor Committee, who took charge of my case, violated the spirit of the honor code, by intending to deceive and intending to take undue advantage," Cudia's statement read.
Cudia argues that the committee members lied by "making a statement to me and in front of the committee during the start of the trial that one vote of not guilty is enough to acquit me when in truth and in fact, though the result as initially announced, prior to chambering was 8 guilty – 1 not guilty, I was still rendered guilty."
He said the members of the committee cheated by "changing the outcome of the voting through chambering to make me, the respondent, guilty."
"I appeal, in the name of clarity, fairness and truth that my case be reopened and carefully reviewed for I did not violate the honor code/system, I can answer NO to both questions (Did I intend to deceive? Did I intend to take undue advantage?)," Cudia said.
Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista has already ordered the reinvestigation of Cudia's case. – report from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News