3 successive honor cases filed vs Cudia:
‘Not guilty’ in first two, rigged ‘guilty’ in 3rd
As an obligation to truth, I have to write these pieces of truth I gathered from persons other than 1st Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia.
I was thinking of not telling this to the public because I feared that the more the barbarians will punish Cadet Cudia if I did thinking that it was him who revealed this to me.
At that time, however, I was hopeful that the honor committee will become transparent and submit to the public scrutiny their records of deliberations and voting on three honor cases filed against Cudia.
Because the time is drawing to a close for the 10 March 2014 final announcement as to who will be allowed to march to the stage on 16 March 2014 and get diplomas and commissions from President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, and time is running out, I am now writing this to let the decision-makers know what really happened before Cudia was found “guilty” by a vote that was rigged (dagdag-bawas) from 8 “guilty” and 1 “not guilty” to 9 “guilty” to 0 “not guilty.”
In other words, there is now a clear-and-present danger that Cudia will be punished in an exceedingly disgusting manner without due respect to the taxpayers who finance the schooling of all cadets in the PMA where it costs at least P2.5 million to spend for one cadet in four years.
I understand every PMAer values so dear the secrecy of the Honor Code proceedings undertaken by its Honor Committee as almost the equivalent of his or her life. Every alumnus or alumna of West Point also does the same; the Code of the PMA cadets was copied from that of the West Point.
In fact, there was one reel story propounded by an FB friend Jose “Joe” Bautista about a 3-star general from West Point who chose to be silent about his daughter’s rape inside the academy.
But there is no other defense left if only to serve as a last-ditch effort to save the truth from being trampled upon but to unleash the power of truth by itself.
To me, truth is the universal language of change, liberty and democracy.
For generations, it has always been maintained: “Truth shall set you free.”
It is also this truth that will set Cudia free.
Having said that, let us now go to the truth that led to the present Honor Committee Scandal of 2014.
In the last week of September 2013, somebody filed a report for cheating against Cudia, where he was accused of collecting Naval Science examination papers of his classmates during their examinations as ordered to him by superiors. He had no other choice but to obey. Cudia was defended by classmates and he was given a “Not Guilty” verdict in October.
Immediately thereafter, another honor report violation was filed against Cudia. This time it was the Honor Committee Chairman himself who filed the same in November 2013. The HonCom chair accused Cudia of “cheating and conniving” by giving solutions to his Navy classmates who, except for Cudia, all took the retake of the examination because they all failed in Navy Science 432. One of those who re-took the exam was the HonCom chairman. Aldrin perfected all the exams of the subject. Following the instructor’s wishes, Cudia announced to his Navy classmates how to get the GIVEN of the exam problems and what scale should be used. Then one of his classmates asked how to get the GIVEN and Cudia answered to the extent of giving the GIVEN and what should be used. The HonCom chairman asked a clarification and benefited from Cudia. After that incident, the HonCom chair himself filed an Honor violation report against Cudia and another classmate. The instructor defended Cudia. When he came back in January 2014, Cudia was handed a “not guilty” verdict.
On 7 January 2014, Maj. Dennis Hindang, the tactical officer of Cudia at “A” coy, filed the third honor violation report.
Hindang accused Cudia of “perverting the truth” in his appeal from a delinquency report filed on 19 November 2013 by professor Juanita Berong, where she said: “Late for two (2) minutes in his Eng 412 class o/a 14 1500H – 1600H Nov 2013.” Basing his logic on the Delinquency Report of Berong that Cudia was declared by Berong to have been late for two minutes for the 1500H class,Cudia stated that his class in the prior period also ended at 1500H.
The contention of Maj. Hindang was that Cudia lied in stating that the prior class period scheduled for 1330H up to 1500H ended at 1500H when, according to Hindang, the 4th period class was dismissed by professor Costales at 1455H or five minutes before 1500H, which is 3:00 p.m. in layman’s time expression.
On 19 December 2013 Hindang issued Cudia a punishment of 11 demerits and 13 touring hours due to the cadet’s explanation to Berong’s delinquency report. Cudia’s explanation was this: “Our class was dismissed a (little) bit late and I came directly from 4th period class…..etc”.
The other classmates of Cudia who were also late were punished only with 8 demerits and 8 touring hours and the punishment was handed to them only in January of 2014 while Cudia’s punishment was handed much earlier on 19 December 2013.
Anyway, after receiving the 7 January 2014 charge filed by Maj. Hindang, Cudia asked the HonCom chairman what their tactical officer meant of the charge. The chairman told Cudia that Hindang based the charges on conversations with professors and classmates and on Cudia’s written request for reconsideration from the 11 demerits and 13 touring hours.
Cudia then asked for an extension of time to answer the charge because Dr. Costales was on vacation. On 13 January 2014, Dr. Costales sent a text message and stated that she thought all the while that Major Hindang was asking her about the time of dismissal in December 2013 and that she answered she presumed the cadets finished early because it was a group work.
To the honor violation case filed by Major Hindang, this was what Aldrin answered:
“We had an LE (long examination) that day (14 November 2013) in OR432 class. When the first bell rang (1455), I stood up, reviewed my paper and submitted it to my instructor, Ms. Costales. After which, I and Cadet 1cl Arcangel asked for some query with regard to the deductions of our previous LE. Our instructor gladly answered our question. She then told me that she will give the copy of our section grade, so I waited at the hallway outside the ACAD5 office, and then she came out of the room and gave me a copy of the grades. Cadet Arcangel, Cadet Narciso and I immediately went to our 5th period Class which is ENG412.”
On 21 January 2014, after having already served 9 hours of the 13 hours of touring, the “guilty” verdict was handed out by the Honor Committee.
After learning thereof, Cudia went to a member of the Honor Committee who he knew the most and he was told that the initial voting was 8-1, which meant 8 members voted Cudia was “guilty” and 1 voted “not guilty.” Because the committee cannot accept the vote, it resorted to “chambering” where the lone dissenter was compelled to change vote. Then the second round of voting was 9-0, which meant 9 voted “guilty” while none voted “not guilty.”
One vote of “not guilty” is sufficient to acquit because the procedure requires unanimous vote of 9-0 by the honor committee members of nine cadets.
Cudia filed his appeal to the honor committee, submitting as new evidence the certification of professor Costales standing by that he did not lie. The committee KILLED THE APPEAL ON ARRIVAL, WITHOUT GIVING IT A CHANCE TO BE DISCUSSED.
At this time when almost no more is left for Cudia to be able to be allowed to graduate, this is no longer an issue of whether Cudia lied.
It is now an issue of whether it was right to change the 8-1 vote.
This is the truth.
If they go to the side of justice, the PMA will never get wrong. Instead, it will strengthen and straighten out the Honor Code proceedings.