By Mortz C. Ortigoza
The court martial’s conviction of Army Lt. Colonel Hector Maraña, treasurer of the cadets of the Philippine Military Academy, his eventual dismissal from the service, and his trip to the slammer in Muntinlupa as ordered recently by President Rodrigo Duterte could probably answer the complaints of Filipino foreign military cadets in the U.S particularly at the United States Military Academy and South Korea about their deprived allowances the PMA owed them.
|Cashiered Army Lt. Colonel Hector Maraña|
In my previous column’s Filipino Cadets BareSad Plights at West Point I wrote that USMA Second Class Cadet Jesson Peñaflor whined that he and his fellow- West Point, New York based cadet have to pay each $2,000 (P105, 270.00) their education and training supplies and equipment at USMA before they trudge their four years military and academic courses.
A Filipino in a military academy in South Korea wrote: “We are 15 here in Korea, sir. Three cadets are sent to the army air force and the naval academy (sic) every year here, sir and three are at the language institute studying the required language, sir. There are also cadets in Japan, Australia and Canada, sir. Every one of us are experiencing the same thing, sir but for the service we want to give in the future we are trying to keep ourselves firm and strong so none of us will even think of quitting and leaving the service,” one of the 15 cadets, who asked for anonymity, said.
Lt. Colonel Maraña (PMA Class of 1994) was convicted of malversation because of the alleged misappropriation of P15 million funds of the Cadet Corp Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In an interview, AFP Spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo said Maraña, PMA comptroller, has been placed under maximum security at Camp Aguinaldo since his case was heard.
Readers of my blog cum column Ervin Hoyaah and Resty Aguilar probably alumni of the Philippine Military Academy and active or retired generals posted at a community page at Facebook about their sentiments on the plights of Jesson Peñaflor and those Filipino cadets in South Korea.
They commented about the PMA and these cadets' responsibility to pay the tabs since they are still part of the military college at Fort del Pilar in Barangay Kias, Baguio City who should be receiving their monthly allowances of roughly base pay of P34,761 - a pay equivalent to the highest non-commissioned officer’s Master Sergeant.
Why I know this? Son of a gun! I was born and worked in that premier military college in Barangay Kias tee he he he.
Taga Baguio Ini whose Ilonggo tikal prowess was moulded in that war torn North Cotabato Province when my father was assigned there to fight the braved Moro in the intense 1970s Mindanao War !
Hoyaah opined: “I assumed that this Foreign Service’s cadets sent to USMA were in the payroll of the AFP and continue to receive their salary as PMA cadets. So why would they lament that they have to shell out their money to pay for uniforms, when PMA or OCS cadets are also paying their uniforms”
He added: “If they entered USMA through the normal defense agreement, then, they are technically AFP Cadet in exchange student status with a Foreign Service academy and are still within the payroll of the AFP. In short, may LBP ATM sila at bawas-bawasan naman nila ng konti ang Cap Con at ano ba iyang 2000 USD, tatlong buwan na suweldo ng kadete lang iyan”.
Resty Aguilar cited: “Let's allow PMA authorities to clarify this issue first”
After graduation at these foreign colleges, these cadets are commissioned as second lieutenant at the military in our country just like President Fidel Ramos (USMA Class of 1950), (his other fellow presidents who were USMA guys were the late Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio D. Somoza and pre-revolutionary Chinese Army Gen. Ying Hsing Wen) who fought with my father at the Korean War in the early 1950s fighting the Chinese and the commies North Koreans.
Steady Eddie, Ramos moniker, (whom I interviewed for several times) was a hero of the Battle of Eerie Hill in Korea while my father became a hero of Aurora Hill in Baguio City before the eyes of his then girlfriend Daisy (my mom whom my father courted at Aurora Hill, holly molly) who studied at the then Baguio Colleges Foundation (the present Cordillera University where I took my Master of Arts, too).
The other Philippine alumni of the military college near the Hudson River, New York (who I ain’t hear grumble on these lost stipends) are Lim (USMA Class of 1914), Rafael Ileto (USMA Class of 1943), Florencio Magsino (USMA Class of 1951), Gregorio Vigilar (USMA Class of 1953), Thelmo Cunanan (USMA Class of 1961), Narciso Abaya (USMA Classof 1971), Danilo Lim (USMA Class of 1978), Jose Rene N. Jarque (USMA Class of 1986), Dennis Eclarin (USMA Class of 1993), Floren P. Herrera (USMA Class of 2013), and Don Stanley Dalisay (USMA Class of 2017).
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