CHR: Expelled cadet Cudia victim of PMA ‘sham trial’

GMA News

Aldrin-Jeff-Cudia(Updated 11:52 a.m., May 1) Concluding that a “mockery of justice” had occurred, the Commission on Human Rights ruled that former Cadet Jeff Aldrin Cudia shouldn’t have been dismissed from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

“The Honor Committee proceedings, particularly the voting process, was a sham trial,” CHR chairperson Loretta Rosales said Wednesday at a press conference where the result of their investigation on Cudia’s case was made public.

“Without doubt, there was only one voting conducted which yielded an 8-1 vote which was announced by the committee. So yun lang yun e, the rest binago-bago na, nag-manipulate na,” she added.

It was earlier reported that the PMA Honor Committee originally absolved Cudia with an 8-1 vote but the lone dissenter was allegedly forced to change his vote to make it appear that the decision was unanimous.

According to the PMA, the Honor Committee vote must be unanimous when it decides on the guilt or innocence of a cadet facing a Honor Code violation.

“What happened to Aldrin was a mockery of justice,” Rosales told GMA News Online by phone on Wednesday. “He is not at fault.”

“There was no second voting because what they did was to pressure Cadet (First Class Dalton John) Lagura to verbally accede to a change of vote from not guilty to guilty,” Rosales said during the press conference.

She said the“not guilty” vote should have saved Cudia from dismissal. “Lihim ‘yun na practice ng honor committee. Patuloy ang pagbabali nila sa rules of procedure,” she said.

PMA Honor Code

Cudia was dismissed from the PMA days before his graduation last March after the academy’s honor committee found him guilty of violating the Honor Code by lying. A high-performing cadet, Cudia was barred from graduating.

PMA’s Honor Code is a “unique system” administered by the cadets to themselves, barring them from lying, cheating, stealing, and tolerating fellow cadets who do so.

Rosales said that based on CHR’s investigation, there was perjury, manipulation, and violation of the Honor Code committed by the members themselves.

“Matagal nang ginagawa ito. Wala sa Honor Code procedure ang ginagawa nila,” Rosales said, referring to the members of the Honor Committee who allegedly gang up on members who vote against the majority.

“Dapat ibigay kay Aldrin ang degree niya,” Rosales said, citing their report’s recommendation to the PMA and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to hand Aldrin his diploma.

The CHR report will be submitted to President Benigno Aquino III, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and AFP chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista.

AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said they have yet to receive a copy of the report. “[We] will make our response on that as soon as we have received [a copy of the report],” he said.

Cudia, for his part, welcomed CHR’s decision.

2 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Philip says:

    They should give him his diploma and Cudia should fortwith resign. The AFP is not a worthy place for him, he is to good to be killed leading a platoon against the insurgents in Mindanao. Let his accusers suffer that fate in retribution.

  2. Mac Flores, Jr. says:

    I am totally ignorant of Cudia’s case and the existence of PMA Cadets Honor Code and the Cadets Honor Committee that prevented Cudia to graduate along with his batch mates, had Cudia did not bring his case to the attention of concerned people and higher authorities outside the Halls of PMA.

    Isn’t it that the people’s national treasury funds the existence of PMA? In my opinion, it is but right for the public to know the truth.

    I respect the inherent culture that guides the PMA system as a special military institution.

    But, as we all know there is an exemption to every rule. I think Cudia has a point in his favor when the original 8-1 decision was reversed to 9-0 unanimous Committee’s decision to expel him from the academy.

    Also, Military Cadets while in school attendance are still students…meaning, not yet an Officer and Gentleman.

    The Honor Committee consisting of 100% Cadets themselves should not have the exclusive right for a group FINAL decision without the supervision of an adviser in the person of a responsible military officer with law background.

    That particular culture in PMA Honor Code needs to be revisited and reformed for goodness sake of future PHL military officers.

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