SC upholds Cudia dismissal
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - February 25, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the dismissal of Cadet 1st Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in March last year.

Voting unanimously yesterday, the justices of the high court decided to dismiss his petition questioning the dismissal order of the PMA. The Office of the President affirmed the PMA’s decision in June last year.

But the SC ruling won’t matter anymore to Cudia, who has decided to pursue a law degree and abandon his dream of joining the military.

“He can be a very good soldier of the justice system,” running priest Robert Reyes said on behalf of Cudia’s father, Renato, in a press conference at the Public Attorney’s Office. Public Attorney Persida Rueda Acosta represented Cudia in the case.

The SC rejected the petitioner’s claim that his right to due process was violated when the PMA and its Cadet Review and Appeals Board did not allow him to join the graduation of their Siklab Diwa batch last year and ordered his dismissal from the academy for lying.

It stressed that the PMA did not violate petitioner’s rights to due process as the minimum standards of fairness were met.

Since it was its first time to rule on PMA’s Honor System and Honor Code, the high tribunal applied American jurisprudence.

“In order to be proper and immune from constitutional infirmity, a cadet who is sought to be dismissed or separated from the academy must be afforded a hearing, be apprised of the specific charges against him, and be given an adequate opportunity to present his or her defense from the point of view of time and the use of witnesses and other evidence,” it stressed.

The SC also upheld the academic freedom of the PMA and its right to enforce its rules on discipline, particularly its Honor Code, on Cudia after he was found lying about why he reported two minutes late for a class.

“The Court has always recognized the right of schools to impose disciplinary sanctions, which include the power to dismiss or expel, on students who violate disciplinary rules,” SC spokesman Theodore Te explained to reporters, quoting the decision penned by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta that was not immediately released.

“As the primary training and educational institution of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), it certainly has the right to invoke academic freedom in the enforcement of its rules and regulations, which are the Honor Code and the Honor System in particular,” Te said. – With Janvic Mateo

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES ASSOCIATE JUSTICE DIOSDADO PERALTA CADET REVIEW AND APPEALS BOARD CLASS ALDRIN JEFF CUDIA CUDIA HONOR CODE HONOR CODE AND THE HONOR SYSTEM HONOR SYSTEM AND HONOR CODE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY
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