By Francis Wakefield
The spokesman of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sunday said it was the prerogative of President Rodrigo Duterte if he decided to only give the diploma of the class valedictorian of PMA Mabalasik Class of 2019.
“We leave it to the president po, kasi prerogative naman po (niya) iyan (it’s his prerogative),” said PMA Spokesman Major Reynan Afan.
“Ang term po namin diyan [Our term for that] is he can have a delegated authority,” he added.
Being the second highest official for defense, Defense Secretary Delvin Lorenzana was the one who distributed the diploma following the graduation ceremony of the 261-member PMA class of Mabalasik Class of 2019 in Baguio City Sunday.
This year’s class valedictorian was Cadet First Class Dionne Mae Umalla of Ilocos Sur. For topping the PMA class of 2019, President Duterte awarded her with the Presidential Saber.
The class valedictorian also received a certificate of ownership of house and lot from the President. Umalla was the fifth woman to top the PMA graduating class since 1999.
In his speech, President reminded the soldiers about embodying humility, courage, and loyalty as they directed them to protect the people and the country’s sovereignty and territory.
“Serve your country well. Die for your country if it needs be,” the commander-in-chief told the newly commissioned military officers.
“Remember the young Filipinos yet to come, the children and those who are now studying. Huwag mong kalimutan ninyo ‘yan. And if you think that the country is not run the way it is and if it will destroy your country, you should know what to do. Do you understand me?” he said, prompting the PMA graduates to respond, “Yes, sir!”