3 tagged in PMA cadetâs death
Photos of PMA cadet Darwin Dormitorio and his cap are displayed on top of his coffin at the Cosmopolitan Funeral Home in Cagayan de Oro.
Gerry Lee Gorit
3 tagged in PMA cadet’s death
Michael Punongbayan, Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - September 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Police have tagged three upperclassmen in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) linked to the death by hazing of cadet Darwin Dormitorio.

Cordillera police director Brig. Gen. Ephraim Dickson did not identify the suspects but said two are third-class cadets while the other is a first-class cadet.

Dickson said the three suspects are now in stockade to face another investigation by PMA officials.

He said initial investigation showed the third-class cadets beat Dormitorio repeatedly upon the order of the senior cadet, who “was the one who endorsed or induced it.”

Dickson said the maltreatment did not happen just once but on three separate occasions. The injuries were so severe that Dormitorio eventually sought medical help.

Officials said Dormitorio died of cardiac arrest due to internal hemorrhage sustained during the hazing.

PMA spokesman Maj. Reynan Afan confirmed the three upperclassmen cadets are now being probed on Dormitorio’s death.

Afan gave assurance that there will be no whitewash in the investigation, saying the PMA had opened its doors to stakeholders interested in the case.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, a former Armed Forces chief, vowed a thorough investigation of Dormitorio’s death.

“We will make sure there is no cover up so that we will know what really happened,” Año told GMA News.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. extended his sympathies to the family of the slain PMA cadet, and also vowed to ensure that justice will be served.

“We have already directed the PMA to conduct a thorough and speedy investigation to shed light into the incident. We will also hand over those responsible to proper authorities and let the wheel of justice turn,” Madrigal said.

Madrigal said the AFP assures the public that all those involved in the hazing will be made accountable “as we continue to uphold the highest degree of accountability and transparency within our ranks.”

“Let it be known that the AFP does not tolerate any kind of action that endangers the lives of all our members, more so future leaders of our organization,” Madrigal said.

Sen. Sonny Angara said hazing will not end at the PMA and other organizations “if the seniors make the new members feel inferior.”

Angara lamented the death of Dormitorio allegedly in the hands of his upperclassmen.

“Hazing culture will never change if seniors say it shouldn’t change. Frats and the military are hierarchical institutions. Even if there is a law, like the recently amended Anti-Hazing Law, which is very strict, there is also what we call the ‘operational code’ that is prevailing—the culture that is being followed despite the letter of the law,” Angara said.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said Dormitorio’s death brought him “so much grief” as Congress passed the law only last year and members of the PMA are supposed to be role models.

“It seems fraternities haven’t learned their lessons. The young men who punched out the life of fellow cadet Darwin Dormitorio of Cagayan de Oro are deemed knowledgeable, disciplined and upright. Being cadets of the Philippine Military Academy, the country’s premier military school, they were expected to be models for other Filipino youth,” Zubiri said.

The human rights group Karapatan condemned the hazing incident, saying it shows that the culture of torture is still inside the military school.

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) condemned the hazing of Dormitorio and called on the government to make sure that justice is served.

The NUSP said the death of Dormitorio in the hands of his upperclassmen showed the macho culture of violence was being promoted by the administration.

The group said the Anti-Hazing Law “becomes mere lip service” in the value espoused by the Duterte administration.

Other sectors called on lawmakers to review the Anti-Hazing Law in relation to the hazing of Dormitorio.

Dormitorio became the first casualty of hazing after President signed Republic Act 11053 into law last year.

RA 11053 was enacted in 2018 following the death of University of Santo Tomas law student Horatio Castillo III during initiation rites conducted by some members of the Aegis Juris fraternity in 2017. – With Rainier Allan Ronda, Romina Cabrera, Gerry Lee-Gorit

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