The Grey Chronicles


Remembering PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986’s Walkout in 1983, Part I

I was watching a set of five clips from ANC Talkback two nights ago. I downloaded these video clips during the most recent Observance of the EDSA Revolution this year, but did not have the luxury of time to view them then. Also available in YouTube, the clips were originally aired live in 2010 during the 25th Anniversary of EDSA. Tina Monzon-Palma hosted the ANC Talkback: Remembering EDSA, PMA Class of 1986 and asked: Have PMA Graduates lived up to the values of Courage, Integrity and Loyalty?

The talk show featured four PMA Alumni from Sinagtala Class of 1986, namely: Sr. Supt. Guillermo A Molina, LTC Gilbert I. Gapay, Sr. Supt. Archie F.F. Gamboa, and Capt. Irving D. Fajardo [PN. Ret.]. Except for Molina, a turned-back cadet, the three were original Sinagtala mistahs. What interested me was the second segment of that show. The following transcript is the gist of that conversation:

ANC Talkback: Remembering EDSA, PMA Class of 1986 2/5

Gapay: In fact, it was in 1983 also, wherein the whole class walked out. We were the only Class who [sic] walked out.

Tina Monzon-Palma [TMP]: Walked out of classes?

Gapay: Yes . . [inaudible]

TMP: And then what did you do?

Gapay: We’re protesting a decision of the PMA leadership then, regarding some of our classmates ah who were involved in hazing . .. apparently in a hazing incident wherein we strongly believe that not all those in the room were actually . .. involved in the hazing incident, but ah everybody was summarily ah judged upon and ah meted with a serious punishment [Emphasis added.]. And we believe ah three of ah our classmates were not really involved in that incident . . .

Gamboa: . . . just for countenancing.

Gapay: Just for countenancing. That’s why ah we’re standing firm. The Class’ decision about it . . .

TMP: What was . . . What did the walkout consist of? You did not go to class? You left your barracks and you went to Burnham Park?

Gamboa (waving his hands): A little backgrounder. . .

TMP: Yes

Gamboa: There were seven cadets, seven [Emphasis added.] of our classmates were charged of hazing, but three were charged of countenancing, meaning to say . . .

TMP: Did hazing related to a death?

Gamboa (seemingly unsure): No, not at actually (smiling). The three were charged for countenancing, meaning, despite their witnessing the event, they did not report the incident, which is actually a violation under the regulations, The Grey Book, our Regulations book in the Academy. So, we appealed the decision, meaning to say, we wanted to appeal for a lesser penalty for these three, because . .

TMP: And what . . .What were you in PMA then? You were the Baron?

Gamboa: We were second years [sic]?

TMP: Ah, okay.

Gamboa: We had a set of officers . . . I think you were president then [to Gapay] . . . the President was Rozz Briguez.

TMP: And then what happened?

Gamboa: So when we appealed . . . ah to put it mildly there was a process supposed to be followed under administrative remedies were not followed. So, the. .. . the appeal that we had falled [sic] on deaf ears. So even if we talked to the higher-ups in the Academy from the Commandant up to the Superintendent they did not really know about the idea because the case did not choose them. But nevertheless, there was no action, so what we did was we had a coordinated action to resign en masse, so that the Academy authorities . ..


Gamboa: en masse?

TMP: What is resigning en masse?

Gamboa: Meaning to say, we resign as a class . ..

Gapay: . . as a group.

TMP: You gave up all of the . . . two years?

Molina, Gapay, Gamboa: Yes, yes.

Gamboa: So when we . . . when we resigned, the final act there was, we went walking out of the Academy.

TMP: You submitted a Letter of Resignation? Each one of you?

Gamboa: Yeah. Yeah! Yes . . signed by all of us.

TMP: Signed by all of you?

Gamboa: By all members of Class ’86.[Emphasis added.] So when . . .. when . . . after that we went out of the Academy, we stayed in Baguio for three days for the negotiation because we have agreed that if they would not act on our request after three days, we would go down to Aguinaldo for . . because the CC . . the Cadet Corps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is under the Department of National Defense. So, our appeal then was . . . would go to Aguinaldo. But there were negotiations: We went back to . .. in the Academy, our three classmates were retained, they were not discharged but we were punished for a year.

Mistahs, kindly check your facts, your math, as well as your arguments. First, there were SIX cadets charged with hazing: Dodie, Santi, Joel, Boy, Ayie and Gil. Dodie was a turned-back cadet from Class ’85, Bart was turned-back from Class ’83[?]. The last four were bonafide members of Sinagtala Class of 1986. Two were members of the Class ’86 Silent Drill Company and belonged to the top ten academically in two semesters during their plebe years and both were consistent Dean Listers until their second year. The last four names were all present when the Class voted for the name to call themselves collectively, Sinagtala, a beacon of light!

Mathematically, seven minus six is ONE. Six plus three is NINE! Let us then suppose that both the turn-back cadets were not included in the count, thus seven minus three cadets charged for countenancing is FOUR. Eureka! But had everyone forgotten that particular Sinagtala punchline: ‘Once a Sinagtala, always a Sinagtala.’ When the two turn-back cadets, Dodie and Bart, rejoined the Cadet Corps, they officially became members of Sinagtala Class, too!

The three cadets referred to in the talk show became the prosecution witnesses against six of their own mistahs. Not everybody in that Room 313, which contained five double-decker bunks occupied by ten cadets, in the Melchor Hall was summarily judged upon and meted with a serious punishment. Only the SIX cadets named here, excluding the three cadets referred to in the talk show, were tried under a General Court Martial for Serious Physical Injuries and meted with Three Years Imprisonment with Hard Labor. The SIX cadets named here had no knowledge then about the walk-out, thus were NOT signatories of the Letter of Resignation. The SIX cadets named here only learned about the walk-out when three [3] Lieutenants of PMA Class ’83 came to visit them a day after.


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