“Both cadets are recovering, responding to medication and are said to be in stable condition,” Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said yesterday.
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Maltreated? Two more PMA cadets in hospital
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - September 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Apart from Cadet Fourth Class Darwin Dormitorio, two other cadets of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) have been hospitalized due to possible maltreatment, the military revealed yesterday.

“Both cadets are recovering, responding to medication and are said to be in stable condition,” Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said yesterday.

Arevalo said the cadets are in a military hospital, where an officer has been assigned in their ward to monitor their needs and that of their parents.

The cadets were brought to hospital and given medical attention after they complained of abdominal pains on Sept. 17 and 21.

Reports said Dormitorio died at 5:15 a.m. of Sept. 18 after he was brought to the PMA station hospital at 4 a.m., three hours after he complained of abdominal pains.

PMA physician Florence Apple Apostol said the initial cause of Dormitorio’s death was cardiac arrest secondary to internal hemorrhage.

An incident report submitted by PMA superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista to higher headquarters said Dormitorio was unconscious when he was brought to the PMA hospital.

The same report said that Dormitorio first sought treatment at the hospital on the morning of Sept. 17, but he was sent back to barracks after he was examined and nothing serious was found.

By 11 p.m. of the same day, Dormitorio reportedly began vomiting at the barracks of the Echo Co. He was found unconscious at around 3:30 a.m. the next day at the Mayo Hall Annex Room 209.

As this developed, two more PMA cadets have been identified as persons of interest in the fatal hazing of Dormitorio.

This brought to five the total number of cadets being placed under custodial investigation at the PMA, which is conducting a joint probe with the police on Dormitorio’s case.

Nine other cadets are being considered as witnesses in the incident.

Meanwhile, two tactical officers, identified only as Maj. Bolo and Capt. Batistiana, were reportedly relieved from their posts due to Dormitorio’s death.

Arevalo said AFP chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. is getting updates on the cases of the cadets, while Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana visited the wake of Dormitorio.

Lorenazana ordered Evangelista to subject all PMA freshmen to a thorough checkup.

“Those who have bruises, ask them to identify who inflicted it, so we would know who are responsible for these incidents and we are going to deal with them with the full extent of the law,” Lorenzana said, adding anybody who does not report yet has knowledge of the maltreatment or looks away is as guilty as the perpetrators.

Evangelista earlier said that Dormitorio was maltreated, noting the victim suffered from blunt force trauma due to possible kicking or punching leading to hemorrhage.

Maj. Renan Afan, spokesman for the PMA, said that cadets who would be found guilty of maltreatment will be charged with violation of the Anti-Hazing Law.

Afan said PMA officers and personnel with direct responsibility in the incident have been relieved from their posts to pave the way for an impartial investigation.

Afan said details are being collated on the status of Dormitorio’s health, days and weeks before the fatal hazing, as information reaching journalists indicated the victim had been frequenting the PMA hospital due to the “physicals” he had reportedly suffered at the hands of upperclassmen.

Afan did not confirm information that there are six more cadets being treated at the PMA hospital because of possible hazing.

In a joint statement released yesterday, the PMA and the Baguio City police said the investigation would expose the truth and those found responsible would face charges.

“It is in PMA’s and everyone’s interest for the truth to be exposed, for all persons responsible to be identified and for a solid case to be established,” the statement read.

The PMA reiterated that maltreatment is never and will never be a part of the its mission to instruct, train and develop the cadets.

It gave assurance that the full extent of the law would be observed in Dormitorio’s case.

Dormitorio is the first casualty in an alleged hazing incident after President Duterte signed Republic Act 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Law in 2018.

Resign

The PMA should be held accountable for Dormitorio’s death, according to Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, as he urged Evangelista to resign for allegedly allowing hazing at Fort Gregorio del Pilar.

Rodriguez said Congress would conduct an inquiry into the incident that occurred within the premises of the country’s primary training institution for future military officials.

“It happened during his watch. It should not have happened because we now have the Anti-Hazing Law and it happened inside a government facility at that. That’s why I’m holding him responsible,” Rodriguez said, referring to Evangelista.

Dormitorio was from Cagayan de Oro, the city the lawmaker represents.

The congressman said the PMA should replace Evangelista with someone who can abolish hazing at the academy.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said PMA officials should not remain in their posts if they could not stop hazing from occurring at the military institution.?Panelo said hazing at the academy reflects weak leadership.?

“I think the superiors in that academy should be held accountable from the top to the bottom who are supposed to know what is happening in their academy. If they cannot stop hazing, then they have no business staying in their positions. They should be charged administratively, if not criminally,” Panelo said. ?“When you are the boss, then you should be telling your underlings, ‘I will not allow it. I’ll fire all of you or I’ll put you in jail.’ But if you are... a weak boss, then this will happen,” he said. ?Panelo clarified he was just expressing his personal view on the issue after he was asked to comment on Rodriguez’s call for Evangelista to resign. ?Panelo said the Palace was saddened and outraged over the death of Dormitorio as it expressed condolences to the bereaved family, friends and classmates of the cadet. ?“The Office of the President condemns the barbaric practice of hazing in all its forms,” he said, adding that President Duterte was outraged by the incident.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, one of the authors of the Anti-Hazing Law, echoed Rodriguez’s statement that the PMA should be held accountable for Domitorio’s death.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said if found guilty, the cadets linked to Dormitorio’s death could spend the rest of their lives in prison as violation of the Anti-Hazing Law is punishable with life imprisonment.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the death of Dormitorio.

Guevarra directed NBI director Dante Gierran to conduct an investigation, case build-up and file appropriate charges against persons found responsible for the incident. – With Artemio Dumlao, Alexis Romero, Evelyn Macairan, Paolo Romero, Romina Cabrera, Gerry Lee Gorit, Cecille Suerte Felipe

HAZING PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY
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