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THE YEAR 1970-1971
from PMA SWORD 1971)
The year 1970-1971 saw
a new image, if not better, for the Academy as the giant tentacles of
change did not spare the military establishment and reached deep enough
into the solid ranks of gray to alter and improve some of the noblest
traditions identified only with the cadets.
Thus, in a glorious attempt to combat the cause of the rise of student
activism in the outside world, Brig Gen Aurelio S Ugalde, then PMA Superintendent
stated at the start of the school year thus: "There is no substitute
for efficiency. A cadet should dedicate himself to his studies, an instructor
to the teaching of the cadets, the staff officer to the efficient functioning
of his office, etc." Such call for efficiency set the tone for
the school calendar.......
Deriving the necessary authentic lessons from the concluded Summer Training,
the Academic Year 1970-71 immediately took off into a better start.
The Academic Board took an early initiative to improve the academic
rules and to provide the needed amendments. As envisioned, the
amendments called for added vigor and professional outlook on the part
of the cadets, and set a more modern approach upon the academic system
of the Academy.........
The Second Term of the Academic Year 1970-71 was off into a fresh start
when some cadets and officers alike, earning for themselves as needed
respite from their tight schedules, joined the students and the youth
in hailing his Holiness, Pope Paul Vi, at the grounds of the University
of Santo Tomas. After the much recorded experiences, when the
Pope bid farewell to the Filipino nation, the cadets began the trek
back to Baguio, save for the Firstclassmen who were left behind for
an educational tour of the Island of Corregidor. For the underclassmen,
the academic grind took its usual course in the classrooms of the Academy,
while for the firstclassmen, evening classes were held aboard the RPS
As December winds brought the spirit of Yuletides to the Academy, the
cadets were more than anxious preparing for their much awaited vacations.
As a highlight for the season, the fourthclassmen were declared "at
ease", prematurely terminating their plebehood in the sense that
it was first in history. The granting of the "at ease", however,
was seen by many responsible quarters as a way to satisfy requirements
of higher headquarters rather than to live up to the true spirit of
the "at ease".
The further development of the Philippine Military Academy could have
followed its usual yearly course, had it not been for the much publicized
defection of Lt. Victor N. Corpus, allegedly to Dante's "New People's
Army-- the real army." The fact that Lt. Corpus was a PMA graduate
and, at the time of the unexpected incident, attached with the Academy
proved a fatal blow to the prestige of the premier military institutions
of the land. While the bravery shown by Corpus in advancing his principles
and convictions brought him some admirations from the Cadet Corps his
actuations against his own Alma Mater somehow united the cadets
in denouncing him. As an offshoot of the Corpus defection, the
cadets began examining their systems in an attempt to discover their
flaws. and consequently, to prevent the rise of another Corpus.
The Cadet Corps, notwithstanding the many investigations being conducted
by some sectors, and the congressional hearing on the same case began
working to give to give the transforming Academy an added stability.
That the ultimately relief of Brig Gen. Ugalde as Superintendent was
one of the results of the Corpus Incident could then be properly surmised.
Philippine Navy Captain Gregorio Lim took the cudgels of supremacy in
As the Corpus case gradually faded out of newspaper headlines and just
when it seemed that the public no longer cared, it was most unfortunate
that another setback moved once more the name of PMA in the controversial
scene. "The despicable attempt by some person to take advantage
of the good name and reputation of the Philippine Military Academy by
allegedly smuggling stereos and other articles under the guise of donations
to the PMA' caused no little heartaches among those who remained close
to the military Academy. These successive events affected the
morale of the cadets one way or the other and it took some time before
they realized that the only choice they had was to prove that they did
not belong to the same breed of men who gone astray.
Hence when everything appeared to be back to normal, the Cadet Corps
concentrated on the activities for the 66th Foundation Day. All
was turning out perfectly fine, when barely a month before graduation,
Firstclass Cadet Wilfredo H. Tapia succumbed to leukemia. His
sudden death caused surprise to everyone. He entered the Academy
to make a name for himself, to make good in his chosen career.
He was barely some days short of his goal when everything that was of
him all became nothing but a legend.
The Academy, with the Cadet Corps in particular, recovered in a few
days time from the grief of having lost a comrade. When March Week came
(it may yet be more properly called March-April Week for the graduation
rites took place from March 31-April 2) the same atmosphere of joy and
liveliness which characterized those of the previous night. The
same day marked the graduation of 108 firstclassmen. For the youthful
lieutenants and ensigns, as they go out to the fields to do their part,
they maintained, they would always be 109 strong. The late Cadet
Tapia would always be there, wherever they go, come what might.
And highlighting the graduation activities was Pres Marcos warning against
the "Communist Conspiracy," which he enjoined the young graduates
to fight against.
This , was another year added to the annals of history which the Philippine
Military Academy has made for itself. Though filled with tears and laughter,
made of blood and sweat, of frustrations, and achievements, the history
of PMA would forever stand unique as it exists to carry out the mission
"to instruct, train and develop the cadets so that each graduate
shall possess the character, the broad and basic military skills, and
the education essential to a successful pursuit of a progressive military
career". It would forever continue the metaphorical march
forward, undelayed and unbowed in its quest of producing the leaders
of this nation. And as the Academy marches on. out of step at times,
but still marching on, it would always carry with its proud heritage,
uphold its glorious traditions, maintain its noble standard, and above
all, accomplish its mission. For after all an institution is
only as great as its cherished ideals and only as strong as its hard