MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang said on Wednesday that President Benigno Aquino would like to keep an open mind on the dismissal case against Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia, whose case has been forwarded to the Chief Executive for final resolution.
Cudia’s camp is now awaiting Aquino’s action on the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) review board’s decision upholding the dismissal of the senior cadet.
The President, the commander in chief of the Armed Forces, will be the guest of honor during the graduation of Cudia’s batch, the “Siklab Diwa” Class of 2014, in Baguio this Sunday.
But based on the decision of the Honor Committee and later, the Cadet Review and Appeals Board, Cudia will not be joining his classmates following his dismissal for “violating” the academy’s “honor code.”
Cudia, who would have been the salutatorian of his batch, allegedly lied about the reason he had arrived late in one class.
Noting that he’s a “civilian,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda struggled to respond when asked about the possibility of “revisiting” the PMA’s honor code in light of Cudia’s case.
“How do we put it? I suppose one rotten apple should not spoil the entire barrel,” he said.
“It’s a culture that they have imbibed in the four years of training in the Philippine Military Academy, and I would believe that most of those graduates continue to observe the Honor Code, even while they are no longer in the Philippine Military Academy.”
Lacierda was then reminded that many of these PMA graduates were later on involved in cases of corruption and similar irregularities.
“I share, in a sense, that kind of question that you [asked], but I cannot speak for the AFP or for the PMA on that,” he replied when asked by the Philippine Daily Inquirer during the press briefing.
“It’s a culture embedded within the PMA and so I will leave it at that. It’s better for the military to speak on that.
In 2011, the Senate investigated former military chiefs for allegedly receiving millions in “sendoff” gifts (“pabaon”) or in kickbacks from the practice of fund “conversion” within the Armed Forces.
One whistleblower was retired Lieutenant Colonel George Rabusa, a member of PMA Class 1981, who spilled the beans on his former bosses in the military while admitting that he also pocketed huge amounts in kickbacks.