Sunday, February 23, 2014

Due process observed in Cadet Cudia's case, says PMA spokesperson

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 23): Due process observed in Cadet Cudia's case, says PMA spokesperson

The "Honor Code" violations case of Cadet Jeff Aldrin Cudia has been reviewed extensively by the proper authorities before the issue has become a hot topic in the social media, Philippine Military Academy (PMA) spokesperson Major Agnes Lynnette Flores said Sunday.

She made this statement after noting that the officer-in-charge of the "Honor Committee" along with the PMA legal team reviewed the verdict for possible lapses or errors.

The "Honor Committee" is composed of six senior cadets and three junior ones.

After this check, the group then forwarded the case folder to the Commandant of the Corps of Cadets who then submitted it to then PMA Superintendent, Vice Admiral Edgar Abogado, for final review.

Flores said that all verdicts or decisions of the "Honor Committee" are subject for automatic review to ensure that due process is observed.

Cudia was found guilty of the "Honor Committee" of lying and ordered dismissed from the Cadet Corps.

The PMA "Honor Code" considers lying, cheating, and stealing its three top offenses.

And with the orders of Armed Forces chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista to re-investigate Cudia's case, the case folder of the latter is now undergoing review by senior officers in the PMA.

No time frame was given on when the review will be concluded.

And should any lapses in the handling of the matter be found, the senior officers will then return the case to the "Honor Committee" for re-investigation.

The PMA earlier stated that all trainees of the institution are duty bound to adhere to the said precepts.

"The development of character and integrity among the cadets is a fundamental objective of the PMA," Flores stressed.

She added that the "Honor Code" and the "Honor System" are among the primary instruments in attaining this objective.

Flores said this is a unique system, which molds all the cadets to develop themselves into upright leaders of tomorrow.

"Members of the Cadet Corps, Armed Forces of the Philippines (CCAFP) are bound by the 'Honor Code' which they swore to uphold. The essence of the 'Honor Code' is that the cadets do not lie, cheat, steal nor tolerate among them those who do. The 'Honor Code' is absolute and it 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," the PMA public affairs office chief stressed.

"Cadet Cudia’s case is not an issue about being late in class.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'. While the Academy recognizes his academic performance, this does not exempt him from strict observance of the Code," she pointed out.

"As the breeding ground for future leaders of the AFP, PMA will continue to uphold the tenets of the 'Honor Code' which have been emplaced for generations. This code takes its roots within the heart and continues to live on long after each cadet graduates from the Philippine Military Academy. This binds the Cadet Corps with its alumni or the members of the long gray line," Flores stated.

And while saddened by the turn of events, she stressed that the PMA cannot be selective in its application of the "Honor Code".

"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 concluded.

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