MANILA - Dismissal isn't the only punishment that awaits
Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia for violating the PMA Honor Code.
According to Col. Rozzano Briguez, PMA Commandant of Cadets, Cudia may also be required to pay back what the national government spent for his education at the country's premier military academy. PMA cadets are given free college education including monthly salary and allowances.
"That is one of our policies. If the cadet is found to be at fault, kailangan isoli at bayaran. Yan po ang corresponding policy na meron tayo," he said in an interview on radio DZMM.
Cadet Cudia will not be joining the graduation rites after the PMA superintendent and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) found no irregularity in his dismissal.
President Aquino is expected to attend the rites on March 16, Sunday.
PMA superintendent Maj. Gen. Oscar Lopez on Tuesday said he has reaffirmed the recommendation of the former PMA superintendent, retired Vice Adm. Edgar Abogado, that Cudia be separated from military service for violating the Honor Code.
The Honor Committee said Cudia lied about why he came in two minutes late for a class in November last year.
Cudia's family has made a public appeal to President Aquino to let the cadet graduate from the PMA.
Briguez said the PMA cadet review and appeals board is still reviewing Cudia's appeal that he did not violate the Honor Code.
He noted that Cudia's appeal, which was coursed through the Public Attorney's Office, has new evidence that showed that one of the Honor Committee members may have been pressured to change his vote after finding Cudia innocent.
Philippine Navy Commander Junjie Tabuanda earlier executed an affidavit that said he talked to a certain Cadet First Class Lagura, a member of the Honor Committee, last January. He said Lagura admitted to voting "not guilty" for Cudia.
Briguez said the review and appeals board has already taken the testimony of Tabuanda and will also interview Lagura.
He said that if Cudia is dismissed from the academy, he can check if the subjects he has completed in the PMA will be credited in another university.
Asked if there is space for humanitarian consideration for Cudia, he said: "We all make mistakes. We must help each other in the healing process and that process includes accepting our mistakes."
"If he decides to pursue a related career in the military or other courses, pwede pa rin...We are just one community, one family."