FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City – The leadership of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) said the recent decision of the Supreme Court (SC) upholding the dismissal of cadet first-class Alvin Jeff Cudia because of grave violation of the Academy’s age-old honor code manifests the compliance of the institution to the minimum standards of due process and academic freedom that will pave the way for initial reforms of the code for the benefit of the present and future batches of cadets wanting to become future military officers.
Lt. Gen. Oscar Lopez, PMA Superintendent, said part of the initial reforms in the Academy’s honor code for cadets is the grant of cadet advisers to the cadets who are being heard by the honor committee for violations of the code to guide them in defending themselves before their fellow cadets.
“The SC decision has strengthened the existence of the Academy’s honor code and has contributed in enhancing the implementation of the code to the cadets who are future military leaders. We are elated that we were upheld for our minimum compliance to the doctrine of due process which has been an integral part of the code and the process of hearing the cases of violations of the cadets by the honor committee,” Lopez stressed.
He explained the appointment of members of the Academy’s honor committee, the way the honor committee conducts its hearings on erring cadets and the rendering of decisions are purely matters among the cadets in order to serve as a training ground for them to be self-reliant, trustworthy and independent-minded leaders of the institutions.
He said among the common violations of the cadets that are subjected to hearings of the honor committee are cheating, lying and stealing which are prohibited acts of the cadets.
However, Lopez cited most of those being subjected to hearings by the honor committee opt to leave the Academy instead of undergoing the rigid process of the committee so as not to burden themselves.
The PMA official claimed the SC ruling on the celebrated Cudia case vindicated the members of the honor committee and even the Academy from suspicion of having committed grave abuses in the enforcement of their decisions dismissing Cudia from the Academy with barely less than a month prior to last year’s graduation rites.
Because of the SC ruling, Lopez said the Academy is set to release Cudia’s academic documents with the annotation that he was separated.
He explained Cudia’s academic documents was available since last year but with the annotations that he was on indefinite leave considering the cases that he filed with the different agencies and the courts contrary to allegations that the Academy withheld his documents.
“It’s time for the Academy to move on. It’s also time for Cudia to move on now that the High Court has rendered its decision and has made the issue part of jurisprudence,” Lopez said.
He asserted the Academy’s honor code serves as the guidepost of the cadets in their actions while inside the institution so that they will be trained and developed into responsible and dedicated military officers who do not lie, do not cheat and do not steal considering that they should always do the honourable thing.
Cudia was dismissed from the Academy for allegedly lying after being late for two minutes in a class because he was asked to do a work by his professor.