PMA'S HONOR CODE IS GOOD;
CASE PROCEDURE IS NOT AS GOOD
I have read the Honor Code and there is nothing wrong about it.
In fact it is a superb piece of rule whose purpose is to mold cadets to become persons who do not lie, cheat, steal and tolerate any wrong for the rest of their lives outside the Academy life.
Of course, it is a separate thing whether cadets would stay by the Honor Code when they leave the campus. But the purpose is still there to hound those who violated their Code.
It is also like the codes of other professionals. Like us who are in the media where I was once active, we have the Journalist's Code of Ethics. Like my fellow lawyers as I am now active in this profession, we have the Lawyer's Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. Like the medical doctors, they have their Hippocratic Code.
From what I learned so far from the postings of PMA alumni who reacted, what actually makes the Honor Code of the PMA distinct from all other codes of ethics is the obviously very high degree of its observance and implementation as shown by its history.
In journalism, the code is like a paper code that no one dares to implement it against violators. By the lawyer's codes, no one among us has the heart to file a case of professional violations against our fellow lawyers and judges who are also lawyers unless the sin is of the extreme degree and we are personally affected by that sin. In the doctors' case, no one among them has the readiness to testify or complain against fellow doctors.
|1st class cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia|
But if we are to ask whether there is a need to change in the PMA's Honor Code, my answer is "there is none."
What needs to be changed is the procedure to be followed in implementing the proceedings: from the stage of preliminary investigation up to the stage of the voting to decide, as well as the selection process as to who should compose the committee who shall vote on each case.
What is obviously wrong that was done in the case of Cudia is the fact that after the first voting where 8 voted "guilty" and 1 voted "not guilty" they employed another procedure of putting the dissenter in a chamber and confront the dissenting mind with the purpose of getting that Honor Committee member to change from "not guilty" to "guilty."
I believe the PMA must consider the following suggestions: (1) each case must have distinct set of committee members raffled from all active cadets and not just from among the regular pool as what it is now; (2) the voting must be secret by means of a piece of paper without a name; (3) when the voting is done that there is no unanimity there shall be no repetition of the voting or no "chambering"; (4) the cadets who should compose the preliminary investigation panel must also be raffled from all the cadets; (5) and during the preliminary investigation and the final hearing stage before the voting, there shall be a cadet assigned as the prosecutor whose task is to present the evidence of the charge provided by the originator or the complainant, and there shall be a cadet assigned to speak for the cadet being charged because one who is emotionally affected always has a confused mind.
These are just suggestions and I hope these are considered by those concerned in order to avoid the repetition of the Cudia incident that provokes challenges of unfairness.