‘Please let him graduate,’ Cudia family pleads
MANILA, Philippines – The family of dismissed Philippine Military Academy cadet Jeff Aldrin Cudia on Wednesday pleaded to let him graduate, even if he would no longer be commissioned as an officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Cudia’s sister, Avee, said it was all right that his brother would graduate without honors. He would have been eligible for at least the third top cadet. The graduation will be held on Sunday, March 16, at Fort Del Pilar, Loakan Road in Baguio City.
On Tuesday, the top 10 graduates were presented to the media. Cudia will not join the 223 cadets who will be commissioned as second lieutenants.
When Cudia was first ordered dismissed by the Honor Committee, it was his sister Avee that exposed it to social media. Proceedings at PMA are usually kept confidential. This earned the PMA and Honor Code public criticisms.
To dismiss a cadet from service, there must be a unanimous 9-0 vote of the Honor Committee that is composed of cadets. Cudia accused that there was originally an 8-1 voting.
A re-investigation was ordered by AFP chief General Emmanuel Bautista, but the PMA upheld its decision.
“Regarding the commission, parang ayaw ko na rin po sya ma-commission. Hindi ko naman sa nilalahat pero nagsabi na ang ilan sa kanila, ‘Humanda siya pag nag-commission sya. Pagpasasa-pasahan namin sya.’ Meron pa rin ostracism pag labas niya. Ma-ostracize din siya,” she said in an interview on a cable news television.
Because Cudia did not resign for violating the Honor Code, he is expected to be ostracized for the rest of his military career if he would be commissioned to service.
Cudia was accused of lying as to why he was late. Lying is a grave violation in the military school. The Honor Code, which says that “one must not lie, cheat, steal nor tolerate those who do” is strictly implemented.
His father, Renato, also had the same sentiments with Avee.
“Galing ako dyan. Alam ko na ang magiging bukas niya pag sya ay na-commission. Ayoko na rin naman po. Sana lang ay ang apat na taon ng paghihirap..sana bigyan ng pagkakataon na makatapos at mabigyan ng pagkakataong makatapos at matanggap ang bunga ng paghihirap at bunga ng pagbabayad ng tax ng mga tao,” he said.
Renato was a former soldier of the Special Warfare Group but left the service to become a commercial diver abroad. This was to be able to support his family better.
“Kinuha nila ang anak namin ng buong-buo at ngayon ay ibabalik nyo nang basag,” he said.
Cudia still at PMA
Avee said that her brother remained at PMA’s holding center. “He already has a separation order, but if he leaves he is already barred from entering the PMA.”
She clarified that her brother was not detained.
“Di ko siya nakikitaan ng low morale. Tinatanong nya ako kumusta ka na? Okay ka lang ba? Ano ng plano natin? Gusto mo ba maging opisyal ako? Sabi ko kung ano ang gusto mo yun ang i-follow mo,” the teary-eyed Avee said.
On Wednesday, the family of Cudia also visited Camp Aguinaldo to submit an appeal memorandum seeking for a re-trial of the case. They were accompanied by Public Attorney’s Office chief Atty. Persida Acosta.
Cudia’s camp said they have a new evidence that there was indeed rigging of votes by the Honor Committee.
“Question lang po. What do you think is right? Sa tingin niyo po ano ang tama?” Avee said when asked what she would like to say to President Benigno Aquino III, the military’s commander-in-chief.
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