Dad wants dismissed PMA cadet to begin new life

By Dharel Placido,

Posted at May 01 2014 05:52 PM | Updated as of May 02 2014 01:53 AM

MANILA – The father of dismissed Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia wants his son to forget his dreams of joining the military and join the private sector instead.

Renato Cudia, however, said his son cannot do this unless the PMA gives his son his transcript of records and diploma, which he needs to either get a job in the private sector or pursue different studies.

''Hindi lang siya fully maka-move on dahil kumbaga naka floating siya dahil ang kanyang transcript of records ay may 'granted indefinite leave' although 'di kami nagrequest,'' Renato told ABS-CBN News' "Umagang Kay Ganda."

''Hindi siya pwedeng maka-graduate. Hindi pwedeng maka-enrol sa ibang school kung gusto niya mag-aral ulit at hindi siya makahanap ng trabaho."

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday released its final report on Cudia's case. Cudia was dismissed from the country's premiere military academy after being found guilty of lying about the reason why he was late for a class.

Every cadet is bound by the Honor Code, which states cadets ''do not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those among them who do so."

CHR chair Etta Rosales, however, said it was Cudia's tactical officer, Major Dennis Hindang, who ascribed malice to Cudia's statement "by substituting his own bias to the explanations provided by Ms. Costales (the instructor) and Cadet Cudia, thereby paving the way for an unjustified referral to the Honor Committee."

Cudia was earlier reported to have said that he got late for his next class because he was asked by his instructor in the previous class to wait for the section's grade.

The CHR said it was not Cudia's intention to lie to or deceive his peers and superiors at the military academy.

'Sham trial'

The decision to dismiss Cudia was handed down by members of the Honor Committee, composed of PMA cadets.

The CHR concluded that there had been deliberate efforts to prevent Cudia from graduating from the PMA and receive his honors for his academic performance.

The CHR findings revealed that a member of the Honor Committee who participated in the trial of Cadet Cudia had a vested interest in the result of the case.

According to CHR, Cadet First Class Noel Raguindin ranked second to Cudia in the Navy class. Therefore, should Cudia be dropped from the rolls, Raguindin would automatically occupy his position in the class standing.

The commission said Raguindin’s participation was questionable due to conflict of interest.

The CHR report also noted that the Honor Committee's chair, Cadet First Class Mike Mogol, had been bent on removing Cudia. It noted that prior to the lying allegation, Mogol had filed an honor violation against Cudia for cheating. The cheating charge was eventually dismissed.

The CHR also criticized the Honor Committee for supposedly rigging the voting process that led to Cudia's dismissal. It said the members of the committee initially voted 8-1 (guilty-not guilty), but later forced the lone ''not guilty'' voter to change his vote.

It is a rule that a cadet charged with honor violation may only be kicked out of the academy through a unanimous vote.

''The Honor Committee proceeding, particularly the voting process, was a sham trial. Without doubt, there was only one voting conducted which yielded an 8-1 vote which was announced by the Committee,'' Rosales said.

Based on its findings, the CHR deemed that the PMA should reverse the ruling of the Honor Committee on the Cudia case and give the cadet his status as a graduate of the PMA.

Rosales said the PMA leadership, by failing to exercise command responsibility, ''rendered itself complicit in this mockery of justice."

The CHR said it will look into the criminal, administrative and civil suits that may be filed against the people who supposedly violated laws during the process that resulted in Cudia's dismissal.

It said apart from the right to due process, Cudia's right to private communication was also violated. This, after Cudia discovered a recording device taped on the wall of the room adjacent to his room at the PMA holding area.

The CHR also called for a review of the implementation of the Honor Code and the passage of a law against ostracism and discrimination.

Renato said President Benigno Aquino III, being the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, can overturn the Honor Committee ruling, but he also acknowledged that it would be hard for the president to confront institutions such as the PMA and AFP.

''Nalalagay siya (Aquino) sa alanganin dahil sa bagay na ito… Pero sana maawa naman siya at tuldukan ang bagay na ito para para maka-move on na ang aming anak."