Cadet who foiled robbery awarded bronze cross medalBy Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Cadet who fell into a coma after fighting off robbers in a jeepney was awarded a bronze cross medal Wednesday.
Cadet First Class Alfonso Aviles suffered multiple gunshot wounds when he tried to fight off an armed robber who declared a heist on a jeep in Quezon City last August 25.
He was awarded the medal for his “act of heroism and distinguished public service” when he “attempted to disarm the robber … despite grave threat to his life,” the award citation read.
The Bronze Cross Medal is the ninth highest award in the military after the Medal of Valor, Distinguished Conduct Star, Distinguished Service Star, Gold Cross, Philippine Legion of Honor, Outstanding Achievement Medal, Kawad sa Kaunlaran and Distinguished Aviation Cross.
Aviles was shot in the head due to the scuffle and the still unidentified and at large gunman discontinued his robbery attempt. He was in a comatose state for almost two week.
He faced the media for the first time and was able to walk and speak. Aviles only managed to slowly say a few words when he spoke to reporters: “Thank you to everyone who prayed for me.”
Major General Nonato Peralta, PMA Superintendent, praised Aviles for his selfless act of trying to protect the people despite the threat to his life.
He said that Aviles was overwhelmed and emotional because of the support he has received and was very thankful for the doctors who looked after him.
Peralta however said that it was not likely Aviles would be able to join the graduation March this year because he would still need to undergo therapy. They need to determine if he can regain his full strength to meet the standards of the Armed forces of the Philippines.
“We need to look for signs that his condition is improving. I hope that he can regain his full strength so he can again protect the people,” Peralta said.
He said that what happened to Aviles was a miracle because of the extent of injuries he has received.
Peralta added that it didn’t matter when Aviles would graduate, what was important was that he went through the PMA and became a good example of what a soldier should be.
Second class cadets from the PMA came to the hospital to show support for Aviles. He was also given a new bull ring of his batch since his previous one was taken by the robber after Aviles was shot. With a report from Frances Mangosing