The highest ranking cadet will be replaced by 1st Class Cadet Marion Dale Cordova, said outgoing PMA public affairs office chief Maj. Renan Afan, who will be replaced by Capt. Cheryl Tindog.
Highest ranking cadet resigns over PMA hazing death
Artemio Dumlao (The Philippine Star) - October 11, 2019 - 12:00am

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The baron of Philippine Military Academy “Masidlawin” class of 2020, Cadet 1st Class Ram Michael Navarro, has resigned as cadet corps brigade commander, citing command responsibility over the hazing death of 4th class cadet Darwin Dormitorio.

The highest ranking cadet will be replaced by 1st Class Cadet Marion Dale Cordova, said outgoing PMA public affairs office (PAO) chief Maj. Renan Afan, who will be replaced by Capt. Cheryl Tindog.

Afan stressed that Navarro only resigned from his post as class baron and highest military commander in the cadet corps but will remain a cadet. 

“He relinquished his position to share the responsibility over what happened and to allow a fresh start of the corps to initiate far-reaching reforms that will follow the new PMA superintendent’s guidance – that PMA must be inspiring future AFP leaders to be warriors with a heart and soul,” the outgoing spokesman explained.

Navarro, who represents his class and the classes of 2021, 2022 and 2023, read the CCAFP’s statement just as the PMA leadership admitted that Dormitorio died of maltreatment on Sept. 18.   

“(This) is an insult to the sanctity of humanity and an untoward act that destroys the core values that bind us together as brothers and sisters. Through the supervision of the first classmen in the cooperation of the underclassmen, the strict implementation of the regulations pertaining to maltreatment created under the CCAFP regulations and Cadet Conduct Policy Board Pamphlet shall be put into maximum practice, including therein non-toleration of actions encouraging or countenance in maltreatment,” the statement read.

“At all cost, the Corps is one in its stand against maltreatment in order to preserve the camaraderie which has long been preserved by members of the long grey line. We, the Cadet Corps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, denounce those who seek to undermine the mission of our institution. We are clear in our resolve to put an end to such excruciating acts that defy the very values the PMA instills and we stand as one Corps against maltreatment,” it also read. 

Citing command responsibility, PMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista and Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro also resigned due to the incident.

At least seven cadets – including Navarro’s “mistah” First Class Cadet Axl Rey Sanupao; 2nd Class Cadet Christian Zacarias; and 3rd Class Cadets Rey David John Volante, Julius Carlo Tadena, John Vincent Manalo, Felix Lumbag Jr. and Shalimar Imperial – were charged this week for violating the anti-hazing and anti-torture laws and for murder by Dormitorio’s kin at the Baguio City prosecutor’s office.

The Dormitorios also charged Senior Tactical Officer Maj. Rex Bolo and Echo Company Tactical Officer Capt. Jeffrey Batistiana, who were relieved earlier by the academy from their posts, as accomplices in the anti-hazing law violation.

Assisting physician Maj. Maria Ofelia Beloy and attending physician Capt. Florence Apple Apostol, who certified that Dormitorio died of cardiac arrest secondary to internal hemorrhage, and PMA Hospital Commander Col. Cesar Candelaria, were also earlier relieved from their posts.

Evangelista and Bacarro, although already resigned the other week, were charged with dereliction of duty under Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code.

Meanwhile, the PMA is also considering placing five of the academy’s military officers and seven senior cadets under General Court Martial (GCM) proceedings because of Dormitorio’s death.

All seven cadets are currently facing administrative dismissal proceedings from the academy.

“They’re still under our custody but they will be turned over to civilian authorities once a warrant for their arrest is issued (by the civilian court),” said PMA Commandant of Cadets, Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner.

However, he clarified that if a GCM is convened against all the accused, the military would continue to have jurisdiction over all of them so they could face a military trial.

Tindog said all five relieved PMA officers have been placed under military custody at the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.

She added that the AFP leadership would still have to evaluate the findings of the fact-finding team tasked to probe Dormitorio’s death. – With Jaime Laude

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