Revelation: Our Petition to SC for Cudia
Now that it has been announced by the mainstream media although too late and probably now mooted because the graduation of the Siklab Diwa Class 2014 of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and there has been no action yet, I shall now break my promise to keep silent on the Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus connected thereto.
That petition was filed by me along with Renato P. Cudia last March 10 (2014) on behalf of his son, Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia, who has become the center of the controversy after he was found guilty in a questionable verdict issued by the PMA's Honor Committee on the charge that the graduating cadet violated the Honor Code of the cadets.
The petition looks moot and moribund now (15 March 2014) because its objective is to seek the Supreme Court's order to include Cadet Cudia in the list of graduates of the Siklab Diwa Class. But this cannot physically be possible now (15 March 2014) considering that today is a Saturday and the SC has no session as against the fact that on 16 March 2014 the PMA is set to hold its commencement exercises for this year.
Atty. Persida R. Acosta was right in telling me that the SC acts so slow. Anyway, if only for a lesson learned, this is too steep a price to pay as tuition.
In all likelihood, however, even if the PMA graduation set for 16 March 2014 is all gone I still believe that the Supreme Court will take head on the case if only to settle once and for all the contentious issue on the legality and procedures of the Honor Code of the cadets of the PMA that is capable of repeating every now and then. Cases of this kind, even if the controversy is lost, are still decided by the Highest Court for the concerned to have a guidance when similar incident occurs again.
True, not one case challenging the constitutionality of the Honor Code and the Honory System has gone to the Supreme Court of the Philippines. I believe that this is the first time. It will become a seminal case if the SC will take it on.
For a backgrounder, this petition was filed upon the contention that the Honor Committee implementing the Honor Code has no legal authority.
It is our contention that there is no law or rule or policy creating that.
It is also our contention that the cadets themselves have no right to evict anyone of them from the PMA because it is the people's funds that are used to school them, train them in the profession of arms, and make them as the finest leaders of the military organization that will defend the people.
So that it is our argument that irrespective of the guilt finding by the Honor Committee a concerned cadet cannot be prejudiced without the consent of the people.
Now, assuming that the Honor Code and the Honor System are supported by any legal authority, de facto or de jure, the decision of the Honor Committee in finding Cadet Cudia guilty is illegal, null and void. It is so because we found that the verdict was 8-1, eight voted that Cudia was guilty and one voted that he was not guilty. Under the rules of the Honor System, only a unanimous vote of guilty can a guilty verdict be authorized. Our basis in saying that the 8-1 verdict is our evidence consisting of the affidavit of Navy Commander Junjie Tabuada that he was told by Cadet First Class Lagura that the latter voted not guilty but the latter was subjected to a secret room to pressure him into changing his vote to 9-0.
Whatever it takes, below is pasted the entire copy of the Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus, to wit:
Republic of the Philippines
FIRST CLASS CADET ALDRIN
JEFF P. CUDIA of the Philippine
Military Academy represented here
by his father RENATO P. CUDIA
who also acts on his own behalf
and BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING,
- versus - G.R. No. _____________
THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE
PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY
(PMA), THE HONOR COMMITTEE (HC)
OF 2014 OF THE PMA and HC MEMBERS,
and the CADET REVIEW AND APPEALS
Petition for Certiorari,
Prohibition and Mandamus
Application for Extremely Urgent TRO
The petitioners, by the undersigned counsel, respectfully file this Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus.
1. The petitioners are as follows:
a. First Class Cadet Aldrin Jeffrey P. Cudia, who can be served with processes of this Court at the Holding Room of the Philippine Military Academy at Fort Gregorio Del Pilar, Loakan Road, Baguio City.
He is supposed to be a member of the Siklab Diwa Class 2014 of the PMA and is supposed to graduate and receive his academic honors as Salutatorian of the Class 2014, the Philippine Navy Saber as the top Navy cadet graduate, and a commission as Ensign of the Philippine Navy this 16 March 2014 commencement exercises of the Philippine Military Academy had it not to the controversy that has become an issue of high national interest now.
He is being represented in this petition by his father Renato P. Cudia because his signature cannot be immediately available when there is an extreme urgency to file this petition because the cadet is in Baguio City.
It is undertaken nevertheless that as soon as physically possible his verification and certificate of non-forum shopping for this petition will be submitted.
b. Renato P. Cudia, a resident of Block 3, Lot 10, Mt. View Subdivision, Gatiawin, Arayat, Pampanga, is the father of Cadet Cudia.
Renato is a former soldier being a member of the Philippine Navy elite unit called Special Warfare Group (SWAG) assigned for many years in Mindanao.
Later he has become an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) for many years just to raise money for the education of all his children in Arayat, Pampanga; and
c. Berteni Cataluña Causing, who can be served with processes of this Court at Unit 1, No. 2368 Leon Guinto St. corner JB Roxas St., Malate, Manila.
He is a practicing lawyer by profession.
He is joining this petition under a separate verification and certificate of non-forum shopping as a petitioner for being a taxpayer having Tax Identification Number 914-839-837-000. This is because he stands to be prejudiced because the money of the people through the government has been dispensed with in the schooling for four (4) years of Cadet Cudia that if he is not allowed to graduate from the PMA and not be commissioned to the Philippine Navy an estimated amount of Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱2,500,000.00) in the government’s funds that were consumed in Cadet Cudia’s schooling will be wasted while at the same time the government, the State, and its People will be deprived of the services of Cadet Cudia.
2. The respondents that can be served with copies of the orders and other processes at the PMA, Fort Gregorio Del Pilar, Loakan Road, Baguio City, are as follows:
a. The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) is being impleaded as a respondent because this institution preparing its students called cadets to become regular leaders of the various branches of service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is consenting to and approving the illegal and unconstitutional acts of the Honor Committee, and the PMA is headed by the Commandant and Assistant Commandant, the Superintendent and the Assistant Superintendent; the service of copies and orders therefor can be sent to the PMA Office of the Commandant or Superintendent at its headquarters at the PMA, Fort Gregorio Del Pilar, Loakan Road, Bagiuo City;
b. The Honor Committee of 2014 composed of cadets chosen from each class of the year 2014 (the 4th class who are freshmen, the 3rd class who are the sophomore, the 2nd class as the junior and the 1st class as the senior) and the members of the Honor Committee of 2014, led by Honor Committee Chariman First Class Cadet Mogol who served in the proceedings against Cadet Cudia are being impleaded in their personal and official capacities for committing the acts that are the subject matters of this petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, service of copies and orders of this petition intended for the Honor Committee and its members can be coursed through the PMA Office of the Commandant; and
c. The CADET REVIEW AND APPEALS BOARD (CRAB) created by the PMA to conduct the re-investigation ordered by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines General Emmanuel Bautista; the service of copies and orders therefor can be sent to the PMA Office of the Commandant or Superintendent at its headquarters at the PMA, Fort Gregorio Del Pilar, Loakan Road, Bagiuo City;
3. On 23 September 2013, somebody among fellow cadets filed a report for cheating against 1st Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia.
4. Cadet Cudia was accused of an honor violation for sorting Naval Science examination papers for their extra instruction that night during their examinations as ordered to him by superiors.
5. Cadet Cudia had no other choice but to obey.
6. Cadet Cudia was defended by classmates and he was given a “Not Guilty” verdict in October.
7. In November of the same year, another honor violation report was filed against Cudia.
8. This time the honor violation report was filed by the Honor Committee chairman himself.
9. The Honor Committee chairman accused Cadet Cudia of “cheating and conniving (with)” by giving solutions to his Navy classmates who, except for Cudia, usually retake the examinations because they often fail the exams in Navy Science 432.
10. One of those who re-took the exam was the Honor Committee chairman.
11. Cadet Cudia often perfected all the exams of the subject.
12. Following the instructor’s wishes, Cadet Cudia announced to his Navy classmates how to get the GIVEN of the exam problems and what scale should be used.
13. Then one of his classmates asked how to get the GIVEN and Cudia answered to the extent of getting the GIVEN and what scale should be used.
14. The Honor Committee chairman asked a clarification and benefited from Cadet Cudia.
15. After that incident, the Honor Committee chair himself filed an honor violation report against Cadet Cudia and another classmate.
16. The instructor defended Cadet Cudia so that when Cadet Cudia came back in January 2014 Cadet Cudia was handed a “not guilty” verdict.
17. On 7 January 2014, Maj. Dennis Hindang, the tactical officer of Cudia at “Alfa” company, filed the third honor violation report.
18. Hindang accused Cadet Cudia of “perverting the truth” in his appeal from a delinquency report (DR by brevity) filed on 19 November 2013 by Professor Juanita Berong.
19. In that DR Berong said: “Late for two (2) minutes in his Eng 412 class o/a 14 1500H – 1600H Nov 2013.”
20. Basing his logic on the declaration of Berong in the DR where she said Cadet Cudia was “late for two minutes for the 1500H class,” Cadet Cudia stated that his class in the prior period also ended at 1500H.
21. The class of Cadet Cudia with Professor Berong was the 5th period.
22. The contention of Maj. Hindang was that Cadet Cudia lied in stating that the 4th period class scheduled for 1330H up to 1500H ended at 1500H.
23. Major Hindang contended that this was a lie because he assumed that the 4th period class was dismissed by their professor, Dr. Maria Monica C. Costales, 15 (fifteen) minutes before 1500H, as it was their protocol to dismiss class 15 minutes before 1500H, which is 3:00 p.m. in layman’s time expression.
24. Major Hindang in his statements assumed that Cadet Cudia went somewhere, making him late to his 5th period class.
25. 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 DR.
26. Cadet Cudia’s explanation to Berong’s DR was this: “Our class was dismissed a (little) bit late and I came directly from 4th period class…..etc”.
27. The other classmates of Cadet 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.
28. That his classmates served as his witnesses before they received and explained their respective DRs.
29. Anyway, after receiving the 7 January 2014 charge filed by Maj. Hindang, Cadet Cudia asked the Honor Committee chairman what their tactical officer meant by the charge.
30. The chairman of the Honor Committee told Cadet Cudia that Major 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.
31. Cadet Cudia then asked for an extension of time to answer the charge because Dr. Costales was on leave.
32. 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.
33. To the honor violation case filed by Major Hindang, this was what Cadet Cudia 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.”
34. 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.
35. After learning of the guilty verdict, Cadet Cudia went to a member of the Honor Committee to ask what the grounds of the verdict were and he learned from that member the initial voting was 8-1, which meant 8 members voted Cudia was “guilty” and 1 voted “not guilty.”
36. Because the committee cannot accept the vote, the honor committee chairman ordered its members to go to the secret room for the “chambering” where the lone dissenter was compelled to change vote.
37. After the chambering, the 9-0 vote was announced, which meant 9 voted “guilty” while none voted “not guilty.”
38. 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.
39. Cadet Cudia filed on 24 January 2014 an appeal to the Honor Committee incorporating therein the certificate signed by Dr. Maria Monica C. Costales, the Professor of the 4th period class for the subject named as OR 432.
40. A copy of the appeal to the Honor Committee was obtained by Rappler.com is attached hereto as ANNEX “A” series.
41. This was downloaded from Rappler.com’s website where it is posted as “exclusive” at this link: http://www.rappler.com/nation/51485-copy-written-appeal-of-cadet-jeff-cudia.
42. On it was attached a separate certification signed by Professor Costales, as ANNEX “B” of this petition.
43. This appeal was declared dead on arrival because the Honor Committee snubbed the same by “majority rule” without even giving a chance to be deliberated upon.
44. Meanwhile, the Honor Committee forwarded its “guilty” verdict to the leadership of the PMA.
45. Shortly before Vice Admiral Edgar Abogado retired on 15 February 2014 as a military officer and as the Superintendent of the PMA, he approved the recommendation to separate Cadet Cudia from the service.
46. Cadet Cudia was subsequently separated to the Holding Room of the PMA.
47. It shows that the “guilty” verdict of the honor committee is being used by the PMA as sufficient valid cause to terminate a cadet from the military service and the academy because of the automatic recommendation for approval done by the former Superintendent.
48. As a last-ditch effort Cadet Cudia made his personal appeal letter dated 19 February 2014 to the new Superintendent of the PMA, Major General Oscar Lopez but this has not yet been submitted because he is waiting until now for PMA to allow him access to the documents and recordings of the trial, including the video footage.
49. On the same day of 19 February 2014, prompted by viral posts on Facebook demanding the intervention of the military leadership in the case of Cadet Cudia, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, ordered a reinvestigation.
50. The petitioners have no access to the copies of the orders but relied only on the report of Rappler.com about the said reinvestigation order, a hard copy copied from its specific website into a word file is attached hereto as ANNEX “C.”
51. The source of this word document is the website http://www.rappler.com/nation/50988-pma-cadet-case.
52. Without giving due respect to the order of reinvestigation, the Honor Committee acted to preempt the Chief of Staff by issuing Special Order No. 1 on 21 February 2014 directing all cadets to ostracize him by not talking to him and by separating him from all activities/functions of the cadets and any violation therein shall be a “class 1” offense which means, 45 demerits, 90 hours touring and 90 hours confinement.
53. This Special Order No. 1 on ostracism also effectively prohibited cadets who are witnesses to the proceedings, including the 8-1 voting, to speak out on what transpired during the hearing because another “class 1” offense will be awarded to any cadet who breaches confidentiality on the honor case which may result to the cadets being “turned back” for excessive demerits.
54. This Special Order No. 1 on ostracism was issued also to preempt the counter-complaint filed by Cadet Cudia on 14 February 2014 against (nine) 9 members of the Honor Committee for manipulating the voting by means of compelling the lone dissenter to change the vote, but nothing happened until now about this counter-complaint.
55. In fact, the PMA mentioned this counter-complaint to the media only too late in the day.
56. Cadet Cudia was not given a copy of Special Order No.1 on ostracism and he learned of that only from the media.
57. The disguised justifications given why Special Order No. 1 on ostracism was issued were acts of destroying the image of the PMA, refusal to accept the verdict of the Honor Committee, and that Cadet Cudia’s sister, Annavee Cudia, divulged confidential documents to the media.
58. The petitioners have no access with any copy of the Special Orders No. 1 on ostracism but this was learned from another report of Rappler.com, a hard copy of which was downloaded into a word file attached hereto as ANNEX “D,” taken from this particular website: http://www.rappler.com/nation/51241-pma-cadet-cudia-ostracism.
59. The reinvestigation has not yet completed its job as ordered by the Chief of Staff of the AFP and yet only five (5) days separate from today up to the graduation day on 16 March 2014.
60. The Cadet Review and Appeals Board (CRAB) that was formed by the PMA following the order of General Bautista will not act on the appeal of Cadet Cudia if Cudia cannot submit new evidence.
61. But how can Cadet Cudia get new evidence when this Order of Ostrarcism that is not even found in the honor manual punishes cadets who will testify on the truth?
62. This behavior of the CRAB is contrary to the appeals board of West Point where a review de novo of all evidence in the records of the Honor Committee is to be done if an affected cadet asks for an appeal.
63. If CRAB will stick to its rule to act on the reinvestigation if there is NEW EVIDENCE on appeal, then nothing will happen to the appeal of Cadet Cudia because the only new evidence available for Cadet Cudia cannot be produced because of the confidentiality rule and because of the ostracism order.
64. Cadet Cudia’s new evidence that are weighty are: (a) his fellow cadets who are not allowed to talk or to testify or they face the harshness of the Honor Committee; (b) the cadet who voted “not guilty” who is not also allowed to talk; and (c) the video footage and audio recordings of the deliberations that are not allowed to be produced to the CRAB because of the claim of confidentiality.
65. On 8 March 2014, Rappler.com posted its latest news about Cadet Cudia and it is entitled “Cudia’s name not on PMA graduating cadets list?”
66. A hard copy into a word file was downloaded from that site, http://www.rappler.com/nation/52504-cudia-not-on-pma-graduating-list, and is attached hereto as ANNEX “E”.
67. In that story, it was also told that he was not allowed to join the welcoming of graduating cadets of Siklab Diwa Class 2014.
68. Cadet Cudia has been exempt from all final exams because he either perfected or got high scores in all previous examinations in all subjects so that there is no reason for him not to be allowed to graduate.
Cause for a Writ of Prohibition
69. There is no law that sanctions that the finding of guilt by the honor committee may be used by the PMA to dismiss or recommend the dismissal of the guilty cadet from the military service or from the academy
70. There is also no law that prohibits the guilty cadet from participating in the graduation and getting his academic and other honors, and from getting his commission as a new ensign or second lieutenant of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
71. So that even assuming that Cadet Cudia was indeed guilty, he should be allowed to take part in the commencement exercises and get his academic honors and commission as a new Navy ensign from the traditional commencement speaker who is the President of the Philippines.
72. Even the website of the PMA says nothing of separation from the service or prohibition from attending the graduation ceremonies or from getting his academic honor and his commission in case of the finding of guilt by the honor committee.
73. A hard copy in word file about what the PMA says of those found guilty of the Honor Code violation is attached hereto as ANNEX “F,” taken from this particular website: http://www.pma.ph/?pageid=HonorCode.
74. It says that the Honor Code and the Honor System are enforced in the PMA to imbibe into its cadets the culture which adopts the motto: "We, the cadets, do not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate among us those who do so."
75. It also says that any cadet found guilty shall be asked “to resign for the good of the service.”
76. It does not say that a guilty cadet is automatically terminated or dismissed from the service.
77. The administration of the Honor Code and Honor System is stated in the same website that it is an undertaking among the cadets only yet the PMA as it appears is enforcing without thinking the guilty verdict as a justification for the separation of a cadet from the academy and the military service.
78. In other words, the “gentleman’s agreement” among cadets now takes precedence over high public interest in the defense of the nation and in the money spent for each of them.
79. It is basic in the Civil Code that all agreements, written or verbal, are null and void if it violates the law, good morals, good customs, public policy, and public safety.
80. To the contrary, under Commonwealth Act No. 1 that organized the Military Academy, under Section 30 and Section 31 thereof, it is the President of the Philippines who appoints each cadet to the PMA and it is the Chief of Staff who directly controls and supervises the PMA that all policies must first pass through the Chief of Staff of the AFP.
81. That power to appoint carries with it the power to remove administratively.
82. So that it is only the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who has the power to remove a cadet upon a valid or legal cause.
83. There is nothing written in Commonwealth Act No. 1 that gives authority to the Honor Committee as the sole body to determine the guilt or innocence of a cadet as to whether he lied, he cheated, he stole, or he tolerate those who did.
84. There is also nothing in Commonwealth Act No.1 that authorizes the PMA to adopt the guilty findings of the honor committee as a basis in recommending the dismissal or discharge from the service of a guilty cadet.
85. If there is none in Commonwealth Act No.1 that authorizes such, the PMA is prohibited from following blindly the findings of guilt by the Honor Committee of the cadets in implementing honor violation cases that the PMA must implement what the Honor Committee wants.
86. At the same time, PMA’s blind following to the Honor Committee’s finding of guilt as a basis in terminating a “guilty” cadet or in assisting the act of ostracizing the guilty cadet is ultra vires and unconstitutional because the Constitution requires DUE PROCESS before being condemned of life, liberty and property.
87. Ostracizing is a form of condemnation of life it being an act of human rights violation worse than physical hazing and bullying.
88. Therefore, it is clear that the Honorable Court is obliged to declare the Honor Committee proceedings as ultra vires or unconstitutional in so far as its declaration of guilt to be used as the PMA’s basis in enforcing or recommending the separation or enforcing ostracism of any cadet found guilty.
89. It is therefore an act of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the PMA to use the guilty verdict of the honor committee as basis in recommending the discharge or dismissal of a cadet.
90. Then, assuming that the honor committee procedures can be valid for the same may have had the approval of the Chief of Staff of the AFP and the President of the Philippines, the same can only be changed upon the approval by the Chief of Staff or the President of the Philippines.
91. In the case of Cadet Cudia, there were two voting rounds that took place.
92. The procedure used by the Honor Committee in the case of Cadet Cudia was that after the secret balloting in one round its chairman ordered all voters to the secret room without the cadet recorders where the dissenter was asked to explain why he voted not guilty and was eventually pressured to change his vote.
93. In that room the dissenter was made to cast a new vote of guilty and original ballot of the dissenter was discarded and replaced with the guilty ballot.
94. There was no record of the change of votes from 8-1 to 9-0 that was mentioned in the formal report of the honor com to the Commandant of Cadets.
95. Cadet Cudia made the Commandant aware of the 8-1 vote when he sought for reconsideration of his separation from PMA and he got the reply “why only now?”
96. All of these were allowed by the PMA.
97. If the PMA and the Honor Committee of 2014 are not halted on this grave abuse of discretion that is also a blatant violation against the Constitution and law, abuses will continue to the prejudice of the taxpaying people, like petitioner Berteni Cataluña Causing who represent them all in this case as they are situated alike.
98. The taxpayers deserve the services of cadets after underwriting their schooling for four (4) years with a total expense of at least Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱2,500,000.00) so that it is against the interest of the public for the cadets themselves to determine the separation from the service of any cadet.
99. Power cannot be presumed and by this time-honored doctrine it cannot be presumed that the Honor Committee and the blindly-following PMA have the power to remove a cadet or recommend any cadet for discharge upon the finding of guilt by the Honor Committee.
100. In fact, Honor Code violation is not among those listed as justifications for attrition of cadets.
101. The word file of the “Cadet Attrition” page of the PMA is hereby attached hereto as ANNEX “G,” downloaded from its website: http://www.pma.ph/?pageid=CadetAttrition.
102. With all those material points stated above, it is prayed of the Honorable Supreme Court issue a writ of prohibition against the Honor Committee and the PMA to prohibit them permanently from using the “guilty” verdict of the Honor Committee as basis in removing a “guilty” cadet or ostracizing him or her, or as basis in recommending the discharge of a cadet.
Cause for Writ of Mandamus
103. What is clear now is that there is no legal basis to remove Cadet Cudia from the PMA, no legal basis to prohibit him from taking part in the graduation ceremonies on 16 March 2014 if he completed his academic and other material requirements for the baccalaureate course, no legal basis to prohibit him from receiving the academic honors due him, no legal basis to deny from him the commission as a new Navy ensign.
104. It is equally clear that it is a ministerial obligation on the part of the PMA not to remove Cadet Cudia from the PMA, to allow him to take part in the graduation ceremonies on 16 March 2014 if he completed all the requirements of his baccalaureate degree, to allow him to receive his academic honors and receive his commission as a new Navy ensign.
105. With this, it is being prayed of the Honorable Supreme Court to issue a writ of mandamus to the PMA to direct it to include Cadet Cudia in the list of graduates of Siklab Diwa Class 2014 of the PMA, to allow Cadet Cudia to take part in the commencement exercises if he completed all the requirements for his baccalaureate degree, to award unto him the academic honors he deserves, and allow him to receive the commission as a new Philippine Navy ensign.
106. Also, it is prayed that a writ of mandamus be issued to the Honor Committee to submit to the CRAB of the PMA all its records of the proceedings taken against Cadet Cudia, including the video footage of the deliberations and voting, for the purpose of allowing the CRAB to conduct intelligent review of the case of Cadet Cudia.
107. It is a ministerial duty of the Honor Committee to submit these records because these are material to the conduct of the duties of the CRAB, being so because the claim to confidentiality has not legal basis.
108. Further, it is prayed of the Court to issue a writ of mandamus to the PMA’s CRAB to conduct a review de novo of all the records without requiring Cadet Cudia to submit new evidence if it was physically impossible to do so.
109. The mandate of the PMA’s CRAB is to review and not to find new evidence so that it is ministerial for it to take a new examination of all the evidence used in finding Cadet Cudia “guilty.”
110. This is also clear in the order of the Chief of Staff of the AFP who directed the PMA to “reinvestigate” and not to look for new evidence.
111. Nevertheless, it is prayed that the PMA’s CRAB be directed to take into account the certification signed by Dr. Costales and the new evidence consisting of the affidavit of a military officer declaring under oath that the cadet who voted “not guilty” revealed to this officer that this cadet was coerced into changing his vote.
112. A copy of this affidavit of the officer is attached hereto as ANNEX “H.”
113. It is also prayed that the Supreme Court issue a Writ of Mandamus directing the PMA’s CRAB to give Cadet Cudia the right to a counsel who is allowed to participate actively in the proceedings as well as in the cross-examinations during the exercise of the right to confront witnesses against him.
114. This is being sought because while the CRAB allows Cadet Cudia to be represented by a PAO lawyer, the CRAB is making the lawyer only as observer without any right to intervene and demand for the respect of the rights of Cadet Cudia.
115. And if the proceedings will be remanded to the Honor Committee by the CRAB, it is also prayed of the Supreme Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus to enjoin the committee to allow Cadet Cudia a representation of a counsel, it being a no-issue as a Constitutional right of a respondent or an accused in any proceedings.
Cause for Writ of Certiorari
116. Now coming to the certiorari issue, assuming that the Honor Committee exercised a de facto power as a quasi-judicial body, the narration above clearly shows the grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Honor Committee in issuing a guilty verdict of nine (9) votes for “guilty” and zero (0) vote for “not guilty” when it was manipulated from eight (8) votes for “guilty” and one (1) vote for “not guilty.”
117. Under the rules of procedure of the Honor Committee, it is required to have a unanimous nine (9) votes for “guilty” to find the cadet being charged as “guilty.”
118. It has already been widely announced in the media that the main complaint of Cadet Cudia is that the initial voting was 8-1 and not 9-0 but the PMA and the Honor Committee have never issued any statement whether this is false or true.
119. In fact, an officer at the PMA executed an affidavit standing pat that the lone dissenting voter, or the voter who voted “not guilty” at first, even revealed to him about the result of the initial voting and that this lone dissent was brought to a chamber and was compelled to change his “not guilty” vote.
120. This affidavit and the certification of Dr. Costales deserved to be taken a good look by the CRAB.
121. There is nothing in the Honor Committee procedure that allows “chambering” to compel the voting member to change vote, for or against the cadet being tried.
122. There has been no order from the Chief of Staff or the President of the Philippines sanctioning the honor committee procedure or approving any change thereof, in compliance with Sections 30 and 31 of the Commonwealth Act No. 1.
123. Hence, bringing the dissent to a chamber and compelling him to change vote is a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, assuming that the Honor Committee can be given a de facto authority as a quasi-judicial body.
124. Because of this, it is prayed of the Honorable Court to declare as null and void the proceedings of the Honor Code that resulted in the guilty vote of 9-0.
125. Actually, even by looking at the charges stated above and the evidence submitted against the evidence, the grave abuse of discretion in concluding that Cadet Cudia is guilty is nothing less than a biased judgment.
126. This biased judgment is reinforced by the fact that three successive honor violation cases were filed against Cadet Cudia, that while he was declared “not guilty” in the first two, the committee ensured that in the third and final case Cadet Cudia was to be declared “guilty” as manifested by compulsion employed against the dissenting vote.
127. What is noticeable in the honor violation report, in relation to the delinquency report, as against the explanations made by Cadet Cudia, it was clear that the accuser, the judges in the persons of the honor committee members, and Cudia himself were all having vague ideas as to when should be considered as actual dismissal and without factual finding as to what really was the actual time of dismissal.
128. In fact, it appears that everybody was not even sure what was the exact time of dismissal, what should be considered as the time of dismissal as to whether it should be the dismissal inside the room or the dismissal after the grade of the section of Cadet Cudia was given by Professor Costales.
129. In fact, even Professor Costales in her certification cannot categorically state as to what was the exact time the bell rang, whether five (5) minutes before the time, and what was the exact time when she dismissed Cudia and three other cadets with the giving of their section grade.
130. Section grade meant the grade of all of them classmates in that section.
131. With clear failure of establishing the actual time of reference, it necessarily follows that nobody can be said to have lied.
132. One can be said to have lied only if that one person knew that what he stated was false.
133. So how can Aldrin say he knew it was not actually 1500H that he was finally dismissed by Professor Costales if to begin with there was no clear time reference in his mind, and in the minds of the accuser and the honor committee voters and investigators?
134. On 14 November 2013 the class with Dr. Costales was for a long examination (LE) and the protocol of dismissing the class fifteen (15) minutes before the class had to end was not observed.
135. During long examinations, the time of dismissal was usually five (5) minutes before the class was set to end.
136. So that as to the first of the Honor Code standard question, “Do you intend to deceive?”, the only answer in times of confusion is “no.”
137. Of course, no confused mind is capable of acting to deceive at the same time.
138. And as to the second of the Honor Code standard question, “Do you take undue advantage?,” the only answer in times of confusion is also “no”.
139. Of course, no confused mind is capable of acting to think of taking undue advantage at the same time.
140. And if to analyze it, confusion happened in a manner analyzed below.
141. Major Hindang had in his mind that the protocol of dismissal time of the class usually happened before the schedule.
142. Major Hindang was not clear though in accusing Cadet Cudia as to why Cadet Cudia perverted the truth because Hindang’s accusation was only worded this way: that Cudia perverted the truth by stating that the OR432 class was dismissed 1500H.
143. While Hindang stated in the accusatory language that Cadet Cudia perverted the truth by stating that OR432 class ended at 1500H, Hindang did not state what was the truth or the true time of dismissal.
144. Major Hindang did not mention whether the truth he was relying on was 15 minutes before the schedule or 5 minutes before the schedule.
145. The accusatory language was open-ended designed to trap the one being accused.
146. Then Major Hindang made an accusation during the deliberation of the honor committee that Cadet Cudia still passed by another place before going to the 5th period class, so that they also said that Cadet Cudia lied for saying that Cadet Cudia and his two classmates went directly to the 5th period class after receiving the section grade from Dr. Costales.
147. Then there was an issue as to what should be considered as the time of dismissal, whether the time the actual class ended or the actual time Dr. Costales handed out the section grade and finally allowed Cadet Cudia and two others to leave for the next class.
148. And if there was confusion as to what should “dismissal of class” mean, then nobody can be said to have lied if one chose the time when the professor let go of the cadets.
149. Again, this is because one can be said to have lied is one’s mind was not confused.
150. If at all, the answer chosen may be wrong, but to be wrong is one thing and to be false is another thing.
151. To call it “wrong” means it is not correct; but to call it “false” means it is not true.
152. “Wrong” refers to opinions that are not accepted as correct; while “false” refers to claim of facts that are not true.
153. In sum, misconception out of confusion reigned in the minds of Major Hindang and the committee members so that there was want of reason and want of logic.
154. In other words, it was a grave abuse of discretion on the part of the PMA to take the guilty verdict as the gospel truth automatically and dismiss or to recommend the dismissal of Cadet Cudia.
155. Commissioner Etta Rosales of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) described the entire incident as a product of inaccuracy, not lying.
156. Of course, inaccuracy is one thing and lying is another thing.
157. To prove the existence of the statement of the CHR chief, a word file of the news report of Rappler.com entitled “CHR probes PMA cadet dismissal, examines honor system” is attached hereto as ANNEX “I”, downloaded from this website: http://www.rappler.com/nation/52551-commission-human-rights-cudia-probe-pma.
158. Clearly then, it was a grave abuse of discretion in the exercise of that quasi-judicial power to adjudge.
Application for Very Urgent
Temporary Restraining Order
159. The graduation day is on 16 March 2014.
160. Today, when this petition is filed, is 10 March 2014.
161. Then, the PMA shall determine the top honor graduates academically between today and 16 March 2014.
162. Practically no sufficient time is left for the Court to let this petition be heard first before giving the final reliefs being prayed for.
163. Practically, there is no more time under the ordinary course of the law to be able to catch up with the graduation and the commissioning of new officers for the AFP from the PMA.
164. Petitioners Cadet Cudia and his father, mother and the entire family, as well as his foster parent, have done every available administrative remedy going back and forth to the PMA and to the AFP General Headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo, but to no avail.
165. They have no other recourse but the Last Bulwark for the people, the Supreme Court.
166. The lack of time and the lack of means as well as the secrecy of the documents in the hands of the Honor Committee physically made it impossible for the petitioners to secure all certified true copies of the documents.
167. The Court nevertheless can take judicial notice of the publications posted by Rappler.com that these publications existed and the publications of the PMA on its official website for the purpose of determining minimum sufficiency for the Court to act on the prayers, particularly the date of graduation on 16 March 2014.
168. The Court can also take judicial notice of these facts stated above because these are public knowledge now and are capable of unquestionable demonstration.
169. In view of the undeniable extreme urgency of the issues, it is being prayed of the Honorable Court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the PMA to enjoin it to do the following acts:
i. INCLUDE 1st Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia in the list of graduating class of Siklab Diwa 2014 if all the material requirements for his baccalaureate degree have been completed in time for 16 March 2014 commencement exercises;
ii. AWARD 1st Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia all the academic honors he deserves;
iii. COMMISSION 1st Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia as the new ensign of the Philippine Navy if all the material requirements for his baccalaureate degree have been completed in time for 16 March 2014 commencement exercises;
iv. PROHIBIT all the cadets of the PMA from ostracizing 1st Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia;
v. For the Honor Committee to SUBMIT forthwith and without delay to the PMA’s Cadet Review and Appeals Board (CRAB) all the records of the proceedings done against Cadet Cudia, including the video footage, audio records, and minutes of the proceedings;
vi. For the PMA’s CRAB to REVIEW all the records and evidence of the proceedings, including the video footage, even without new evidence, and make a report of its completed proceedings to this Court in two (2) days from receipt of the TRO;
vii. For the PMA’s CRAB to LOOK INTO the certification signed by Dr. Maria Monica Costales and the affidavit signed by the officer;
viii. For the PMA’s CRAB to ALLOW Cadet Cudia to be represented by a counsel who has rights to take part in the proceedings and cross-examine the witnesses against him; and
ix. For the PMA to CEASE and DESIST from approving the “guilty” verdict of the Honor Committee as the basis for separating or expelling Cadet Cudia from the Academy or from recommending his dismissal thereof.
170. These temporary reliefs being prayed for as part of the TRO being applied for may be granted without prejudice to the final rulings of the Honorable Court of all the issues raised above.
171. After all, when the application for TRO is granted the PMA is not left without a remedy for it always can initiate court martial proceedings against 1st Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia.
172. Because of the extreme urgency of the need for the TRO, it is being prayed of the Honorable Court, through the Chief Justice or otherwise, that the same TRO being prayed be issued upon the filing of this petition.
173. To God be the Glory.
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of the Honorable Court that upon the receipt of this Petition a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) or a Temporary Restraining Order be issued to direct the following:
1. INCLUDE 1st Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia in the list of graduating class of Siklab Diwa 2014 if all the material requirements for his baccalaureate degree have been completed in time for 16 March 2014 commencement exercises;
2. AWARD 1st Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia all the academic honors he deserves;
3. COMMISSION 1st Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia as the new ensign of the Philippine Navy if all the material requirements for his baccalaureate degree have been completed in time for 16 March 2014 commencement exercises;
4. PROHIBIT all the cadets of the PMA from ostracizing 1st Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia;
5. For the Honor Committee to SUBMIT forthwith and without delay to the PMA’s Cadet Review and Appeals Board (CRAB) all the records of the proceedings done against Cadet Cudia, including the video footage, audio records and minutes of the proceedings;
6. For the PMA’s CRAB to REVIEW all the records and evidence of the proceedings, including the video footage, even without new evidence, and make a report of its completed proceedings to this Court in two (2) days from receipt of the TRO;
7. For the PMA’s CRAB to LOOK INTO the certification signed by Dr. Maria Monica Costales and the affidavit signed by the officer;
8. For the PMA’s CRAB to ALLOW Cadet Cudia to be represented by a counsel who has rights to take part in the proceedings and cross-examine the witnesses against him; and
9. For the PMA to CEASE and DESIST from approving the “guilty” verdict of the Honor Committee as the basis for separating or expelling Cadet Cudia from the Academy;
And after due notice and hearing, it is prayed that the Court issue a Writ of Prohibition to prohibit the PMA and Honor Committee to use the “guilty” verdict of the latter’s proceedings as basis for separating or expelling from the academy and for ostracizing 1st Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia and all the other cadets in the future.
Also, after due notice and hearing, it is prayed of the Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus to:
1. direct the PMA to include Cadet Cudia in the list of graduates of Siklab Diwa Class 2014 of the PMA, including inclusion in the yearbook;
2. direct the PMA to allow Cadet Cudia to take part in the commencement exercises if he completed all the requirements for his baccalaureate degree;
3. direct the PMA to award unto Cadet Cudia the academic honors he deserves, and the commission as a new Philippine Navy ensign;
4. direct the Honor Committee to submit to the CRAB of the PMA all its records of the proceedings taken against Cadet Cudia, including the video footage and audio recordings of the deliberations and voting, for the purpose of allowing the CRAB to conduct intelligent review of the case of Cadet Cudia;
5. direct the PMA’s CRAB to conduct a review de novo of all the records without requiring Cadet Cudia to submit new evidence if it was physically impossible to do so;
6. direct the PMA’s CRAB to take into account the certification signed by Dr. Costales, the new evidence consisting of the affidavit of a military officer declaring under oath that the cadet who voted “not guilty” revealed to this officer that this cadet was coerced into changing his vote, and other new evidence if there is any;
7. direct the PMA’s CRAB to give Cadet Cudia the right to a counsel who is allowed to participate actively in the proceedings as well as in the cross-examinations during the exercise of the right to confront witnesses against him; and
8. direct the Honor Committee in case of remand of the case by the CRAB to allow Cadet Cudia a representation of a counsel.
And finally, it is prayed of the Honorable Court to issue a Writ of Certiorari declaring the proceedings done by the Honor Committee as ultra vires and NULL and VOID as an exercise of grave abuse of discretion, in case it is warranted that its conduct of the proceedings can be recognized as a quasi-judicial function de facto or de jure and in case it is not inconsistent with the mandate of the PMA’s CRAB and if the CRAB is recognized as a valid creation by the PMA.
Other reliefs just and equitable under the circumstances are likewise prayed for. Manila. 10 March 2014.
RENTA PE CAUSING SABARRE CASTRO & ASSOCIATES
Unit 1, No. 2368 Leon Guinto St. corner JB Roxas St., Malate, Manila
BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING
IBP No. 928535 / 06-01-2014 / Manila IV
PTR No. 2529536 / 06-01-2014 / Manila
Roll No. 60944/MCLE No. IV – 0007338 issued 10 August 2012
1st Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia
Holding Room, Philippine Military Academy
Fort Gregorio del Pilar, Loakan Road, Baguio City
THE COMMANDANT & THE SUPERINTENDENT
Philippine Military Academy
Fort Gregorio del Pilar, Loakan Road, Baguio City
HONOR COMMITTEE and Members
led by Honor Committee Chairman First Class Cadet Mogol
Philippine Military Academy
Fort Gregorio del Pilar, Loakan Road, Baguio City
CADET REVIEW AND APPEALS BOARD (CRAB)
Philippine Military Academy
Fort Gregorio del Pilar, Loakan Road, Baguio City