Molding ‘corrupt’ military officers not PMA’s role

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

IT IS not the fault of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) that some ranking officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are involved in corruption issues, said PMA fresh graduate 2nd Lieutenant Liza Dango in a press conference at the Cagayan de Oro City Tourism Office Monday.

Dango said the PMA’s intent in training young men and women is to turn them into military officers with integrity who will uphold the academy’s honor system.

Committing illegal acts like corruption, she said, is an individual choice, adding, “It’s not about PMA not producing well-rounded military officers.”

PMA graduates visit Cagayan de Oro
CAGAYAN DE ORO. 2Lt Liza Dango from Barangay Bulua stands out among her Philippine Military Academy peers from the city during the press conference at the City Hall Monday, March 24, 2014. (Erwin M. Mascarinas)


Dango, the salutatorian of the PMA “Siklab Diwa” class of 2014, led the 12 of the 14 PMA graduates from Cagayan de Oro in their official visit to the City Hall to attend the flag-raising ceremony Monday.

For his part, Dango’s colleague Ensign Greg Philip Monsalud said: “The Filipino people should not worry about [military officials committing corruption] as there are still officers who are doing their best to serve our country.”

Cudia’s dismissal ‘justified’

However, the new graduates were all one in saying that PMA cadet Aldrin Cudia’s controversial dismissal from the military school is justified.

As Cudia’s situation had been reviewed by the PMA committee handling cases of such nature, the academy’s commandant, and even by President Benigno Aquino III himself, Monsalud said the decision to exclude Cudia from the roster of graduates is just reasonable.

“He (Cudia) violated the honor code,” Monsalud added.

“I feel sorry for him. Bisa’g unsa ‘mi ka-close, we still have to abide by the honor code,” Monsalud said, referring to Cudia, his former roommate at the academy.

“He’s (Cudia) good at academics and he deserves to be on top if he did not violate the honor code,” he added.

After Cudia was dismissed, Monsalud said he was forced to finish their thesis and term papers.

Monsalud and his batch were surprised that Cudia made an appeal, although he said they had no idea what is the deeper reason for his dismissal.

He explained that after it is proven that the cadet has committed an honor offense, he will be put in a holding center where he will be prevented from communicating with other cadets.

Monsalud added that Cudia’s case was not the first, as there were already cadets kicked out of the academy for violation of the honor code in the past.

In cases like these, those who were dismissed from the PMA will be blacklisted and could no longer go back to the academy, but they were still given a chance to seek employment.

He said military officials can help a dismissed cadet land corporate jobs or work within the armed forces but as a civilian employee.

Longtime dream

Dango, in a separate interview, said she did not find it hard to hurdle the challenges in the academy since it was her dream to enter the military service.

She remembered the premises inside the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division headquarters at Camp Evangelista in Barangay Patag as her playground while growing up.

She said her father Generoso, who’s a retired soldier, became her inspiration in joining the military.

“My father played a big role in my decision to join the PMA,” Dango said.

Waiting for assignments

Monsalud, who is the number 9th in his class, will be joining the Philippine Navy, while Dango will be with the Philippine Army (PA).

Joining Dango in the Philippine Army are 2nd Lieutenant Jasper Angelo Martinito, 2nd Lieutenant Martin Famador, 2nd Lieutenant Adam Ajie Acenas, 2nd Lieutenant Herobem Alabado, 2nd Lieutenant Niko Pendejito, and 2nd Lieutenant Eljuhn Aboc.

Those who will join Monsalud as they report to the Philippine Navy are Ensign Lelanie Veluz, Ensign Jillrex Narciso and Ensign Melman Itaas.

Second Lieutenant Anthony Feril will be with the Philippine Air Force, while 2nd Lieutenant Armando Carillo will join the Philippine Navy’s Marine Corps.

Other PMA graduates from Northern Mindanao are Ensign Lieutenant Archie Dumloan, from Initao, Misamis; 2nd Lieutenant Darl Lennon Papas, from Lugait, Misamis Oriental; Ensign Dalton John Lagura, from Don Carlos; Ensign Feliciano Aguaviva, from Malaybalay City; 2nd Lieutenant Paul Ryan Acebeque, Valencity City; and Ensign Bladimir Corpuz, from Malaybalay City, all from the province of Bukidnon.

Most of the PMA graduates come from Cagayan de Oro City’s first congressional district.

Pendijito, Martinito, Acenas, and Narciso are from Barangay Patag. Famador and Itaas come from Barangay Carmen.

Dango is a resident of Barangay Bulua, while Veluz, Aboc and Feril are from Barangay Lumbia. Carillo and Alabado come from Barangay Iponan.

Salido is from Xavier Heights, while Monsalud comes from Puntod.

Of the 14, four -- Martinito, Dango, Alabado, and Veluz -- had either studied or graduated at Xavier University.

To know what unit they will be assigned, Dango said they have to report to the PA headquarters first.

“Our assignment will depend on our higher-ups,” Monsalud added.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 25, 2014.

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