Published: Tue, March 11, 2014
By David Santos
After weeks of speculation, it''s now final: Beleaguered Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia will not be graduating from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
By tradition, the PMA does not publicly announce the names of those making it to graduation – until the day of the ceremony itself.
It is, however, making a slight exception this year.
PMA officials announced on Tuesday, March 11, that Cudia will not be part of graduation rites on Sunday, March 16.
A review board upheld an earlier decision recommending that Cudia be dismissed for violating the PMA Honor Code, supposedly for lying about the reason why came late to a class.
Maj. Gen. Oscar Lopez, the PMA superintendent, has submitted his decision to expel Cudia to Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Bautista, in turn, endorsed the latest recommendation to President Aquino through the Department of Defense.
It is unclear whether the president, as commander-in-chief, can still reverse the decision.
Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan, AFP spokesman, said: "We must note that being cadets the appointment of being cadet is undertaken by the president and we have said in the past that in order for the dismissal to be effective is also to be a presidential issuance on that regard."
The decision ended weeks of speculation on future of Cudia, who was supposed to be the class salutatorian, in the military.
When PMA presented the top graduates of Siklab Diwa Class of 2014, the lone female member on the top 10 list, Cadet First Class Liza Dango of Cagayan de Oro emerged as the new number two.
Cadet First Class Jheorge Llona topped the class of 223 graduating cadets.
Llona, son of a farmer from Albay and sixth of seven children, offered his honors to his family – his source of his inspiration.
In the meantime, Renato Cudia, his father, declined to give his reaction. because of a pending case the Cudias have filed with the Commission on Human Rights, accusing the PMA Honor Committee of depriving his son of his right to due process.
CHR officials have spoken to Cudia at the PMA holding center where he submitted his testimony against the Honor Committee.
The PMA Host Parents Association is also speaking against Cudia's superiors.
The group's chairman, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan wants the PMA to examine deeper into the cases of dismissed cadets citing government expenses in training them.
The government spends about P27,000 monthly on each cadet.
The AFP hopes to find closure on the controversial case. But with Cudia gaining significant public sympathy for his cause through social media, it is unlikely the issue will die down anytime soon.
But Tutaan pointed out: Ïts not really totally to sway public opinion for or against the issue, but it is more of trying to ensure that the honor code system effectively works in the cadet corps óf the Armed Forces of the Philippines."
Since Cudia has been dismissed from the PMA, the AFP cannot say if there is any other way he can pursue a military career.
All that matters to the organization now is that its premier training school has maintained its rule of law, as well as its honor system, which ironically, was the center of controversy in the first place.