Cadet Cudia may not be able to join grad rites

Posted at 03/09/2014 4:50 PM

MANILA -- Embattled Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia may not be able to join anymore the commencement exercises on March 16.

Armed Forces public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala told defense reporters that Cudia asked again for another extension within which to write his formal appeal.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista earlier met with Cudia after his family appealed to have his case reviewed.

Cudia was earlier recommended by the PMA's Honor Committee to be dismissed from the premier military institution because of lying, which is a major offense under its Honor Code. He was charged with lying after he turned up two minutes late in class supposedly because he and other mistahs were dismissed late in another class.

Bautista ordered the creation of a review board, which then gave Cudia until February 24 to submit the written appeal. He then asked to extend the deadline to March 4.

"March 4 came and he made another request for a 15-day extension of his appeal," Zagala said.

The review board has yet to approve the extension of the deadline, which will end on March 19 – three days after the graduation of the Siklab Diwa Class of 2014.

Had Cudia been able to submit his appeal, the decision should be ready by now, Zagala said, adding that Cudia could have even finished an on-the-job training.

"We have given him all the things he needed... The ball is in his court already. Had he submitted his evidence last Feb. 24 and said he is not guilty of lying, the review should have been finished already and was able to take the OJT," he added, explaining that the OJT is part of the academic requirements needed to graduate.

Pressed further if Cudia will not be able to make it after all, Zagala said: "We wanted to be fair with him... We want a conclusion of the review first before I say anything like that."

He also dismissed possible criticisms in case Cudia fails to make it to the ceremonies, which will be presided over by President Benigno Aquino III.

"How can we be criticized? Just think that we gave him extensions (to submit his appeal) and we gave him the review... To us, we have given Cadet Cudia all the things that are not given to other cadets," Zagala said, noting that Bautista’s move to have Cudia’s case is even extraordinary.