MANILA - A former class baron of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 83 believes PMA cadet Jeff Aldrin Cudia should not be dismissed from the academy for alleged violation of the Honor Code.
Speaking to ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda, former PMA Honor Committee member and Cavalier Clemente Enrique said Cudia cannot be removed from the academy if the vote of PMA Honor Committee was not unanimous.
Enrique said he talked to Cudia who claimed that a member of the 9-man PMA Honor Committee was pressured to change the vote from innocent to guilty.
"Talagang guilty kung 9-0. Ang naging problema nung paalis na ako, tinanong ako ni Cudia dahil dati ako honor rep. Sabi niya ang vote 8-1. E sabi ko 'Bakit naging guilty?
8-1 is not guilty. Paano mo nalaman na 8-1?'"
"Nakausap niya yung kadete na nag-dissent. Sinabi sa kanya, 'Bok, sorry ako yung dissenter pero napilitan akong baguhin dhil napressure ako ng mga kasama."
No less than Armed Forces chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista has ordered a re-investigation of the PMA's decision after Cudia's case went viral on Facebook.
Cudia has filed a counter-complaint against the 9 cadets who form the PMA Honor Committee that decided to sack him.
The PMA earlier said Cudia was dismissed from the academy for violating the Honor Code, which teaches cadets "not to lie, cheat, steal or tolerate among them those who do."
AFP Spokesman Ramon Zagala said Cudia's violation was not just for being tardy but because he allegedly lied about why he came in late for class.
"Ang kaso ni Cadet Cudia ay hindi dahil late lamang. Ang pagiging late ay nasa regulations yan at sa regulations may ipapataw sa iyo na demerits, hours of touring at confinement. However, dito kay Cadet Cudia, nung nagkaroon siya ng late binigyan nga siya ng delinquency report at doon nilagay niya na wala siyang kasalanan," he said.
"Dun nagkaroon ng problem dahil pagsulat niya ng kanyang expalanation, hindi yun tumugma sa nalaman na facts ng tactical officer
Zagala explained that the Honor Code in the AFP training institutions is absolute and that violators are dismissed no matter how small the offense.
He also confirmed that the Honor Committee are secret amid calls by Enrique to produce the video of the proceedings.
The AFP spokesman said he understands that there are many who sympathize with Cudia since he was supposed to graduate with honors this year.
"Ang appeal lang namin sa nanood sa publiko ay marami kasing nagsisimpatya kay Cadet Cudia at nakakahinayang naman talaga dahil napakarunong niya at kawawa, galing lang siya sa mahirap na pamilya kaya ito nga free education. However, yung ating honor code, honor system, ay hindi dapat natin ma-compromise. Importante yan," he said.
"May review at reinvestigation. Ano ang kinalabasan ng review tanggapin ng publiko at anuman ang resulta niyan sana rin si Cadet Cudia ay respetuhin niya at sabi nga 'take it like a man'. Alam mo kung ano ang nangyari nung pumirma ka na tinatanggap mo ang consequences ng violation of the Honor Code."