Palace leaves PMA cadet Cudia's case to AFP

Posted at 03/12/14 5:16 PM

MANILA -- Malacañang prefers to let the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deal with the case of dismissed Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadet Aldrin Jeff Cudia.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda on Wednesday said the Office of the President has yet to receive any report on Cudia.

"I verified with the Private Office, wala pa silang nakukuhang [report]. We'll just ask kung saan napunta yung ano... We'll ask the Office of the ES (Executive Secretary)," he said.

Lacierda declined to discuss the likelihood that President Benigno Aquino III, being the commander-in-chief, will reverse Cudia's exclusion from the cadets who will graduate this Sunday.

Likewise, Lacierda said Cudia and his family have not asked for a meeting with the President.

"We have no... I inquired with the Private Office also, there was no request for a meeting. I think maybe this is a unilateral decision. Unfortunately, the President is not in the Palace now, so I can't say. But there is no confirmation of that request."

He parried questions from the media on Cudia, maintaining that these are better addressed to the AFP.

"I cannot answer for the military on that point. I would defer answering on that. It's a different environment and I'd rather the PMA answer that question as well as the AFP... I share, in a sense, that kind of question like you -- that you said, but I cannot speak for the AFP or for the PMA on that. 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," he said.

"It's hard for me. We don't stay in the barracks for years training, being inculcated on a daily basis day-in, day-out about the Honor Code. So, and...to be perfectly frank with you, I have spoken to a number of military officials. They believe that the Honor Code should be observed. So it's difficult. Again, I would rather have the Chief of Staff comment on the matter being the highest military officer," he added.

Asked if there is a need to reevaluate the PMA's Honor Code, Lacierda said: "How do we put it? I suppose one rotten apple should not spoil the entire barrel. You may have some bad eggs there but it should not say that the system is bad because of one or two or three persons who are perceived to have not honored the Honor Code... 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. And that shows the strength of the Honor Code."

"I am placed on a very difficult situation because I am a civilian. I can't speak on a military context. (The) best I could say is I will refer it to the (AFP) Chief of Staff if there's a need to revisit their Honor Code system because, you know, it would be unfair for me to speak," he added.

Lacierda also maintained that so far, the PMA's Honor Committee has been consistent in its application of the Honor Code.

Meanwhile, the Palace is not bothered that the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has reportedly started to look into the matter.

"Well, if Chairman Etta Rosales would like to see the facts leading to the decision of the Honor Committee, I think it's up to the PMA to discuss the dialogue with her. And certainly if the...committee decision has been done in a very transparent manner, there is no reason for them not to share the information with the CHR," Lacierda said.