MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) En Banc on Tuesday upheld the dismissal of First Class Cadet Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
In a press conference, SC Public Information Office (PIO) Chief and Spokesman Atty. Theodore O. Te said “the Court, through Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, denied the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with application for extremely urgent temporary restraining order (TRO).”
”WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The dismissal of Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff P. Cudia from the Philippine Military Academy is hereby AFFIRMED. No costs,” the SC ruling said.
Cudia had sought to, first, stop his dismissal from the PMA for violation of the PMA’s Honor Code, and then, later, to compel his inclusion in the list of those graduating from the PMA in March 2014.
When both resorts proved futile, Cudia sought review of the basis for the actions of the PMA claiming grave abuse of discretion in the manner by which he was dismissed from the academy.
The SC agreed that the petitioner is not deprived of due process rights simply because he joined the PMA and that the PMA must comply with due process.
It found that the PMA did not violate the petitioner’s due process rights when it enforced its rules on discipline, consisting of its Honor Code, on petitioner for lying.
The SC upheld the PMA’s academic freedom, following previous cases decided by the SC on the power of academic institutions to discipline students, characterizing it as “subsumed in their academic freedom” because “the establishment of rules governing university student relations, particularly those pertaining to student discipline, may be regarded as vital, not merely to the smooth and efficient operation of the institution, but to its very survival.”
Thus, the SC has “always recognized the right of schools to impose disciplinary sanctions, which includes the power to dismiss or expel, on students who violate disciplinary rules.”
The SC pointed out that the PMA is not different, “as the primary training and educational institution of the AFP, is 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.”
Citing that this case was “one of first impression,” that is, it is the first time that the Court is ruling on the Honor System and Honor Code of the SC considered rulings handed down by the United States Supreme Court, which the SC adopted.
The SC also noted that the penalty of dismissal for violation of the Honor Code is appropriate and not disproportionate under the circumstances.