Baguio police director Col. Allen Rae Co said they found no evidence that would raise suspicion on the death of Mario Telan Jr.
Police: No foul play in latest PMA death
Artemio Dumlao, Emmanuel Tupas, Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - November 10, 2019 - 12:00am

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — There was no foul play in the death of a plebe in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) who drowned in the military school’s swimming pool on Friday, a police official said yesterday.

Baguio police director Col. Allen Rae Co said they found no evidence that would raise suspicion on the death of Mario Telan Jr.

“We have seen no indication of foul play as of now,” he said.

Co said there were no signs of external injuries on Telan based on the results of a preliminary autopsy.

“There was no hematoma and other injuries indicative of abuse,” he said.

Telan, a member of Alpha Company, attended his swimming class from 11 a.m. to noon and since then had not been seen attending his next classes. He was later found lifeless in the 15-foot deep end of the pool.

Testimonies gathered by probers from PMA officials and other cadets, including the security video footage at the scene, showed Telan was never under threat.

“Most probably it was an accident,” Co said.

PMA spokesperson Capt. Cheryl Tindog said the security video showed the PMA instructors were giving practical swimming lessons to the 23 fourth class cadets in the pool.

“It was clear on the CCTV footage that they are conducting practical swimming lessons,” she said. 

While other cadets were performing their swimming lessons, Telan treaded in the deep end of the pool and no one noticed that the cadet did not surface, Tindog added.

Tindog said the autopsy report showed Telan “died due to asphyxia from the drowning.”

She said the PMA has already discussed the police autopsy findings with the Telan family.

Police, however, are questioning the two swimming instructors of the PMA for possible negligence.

“The unfortunate incident was brought about by negligence of the instructors for failing to properly supervise and ensure the safety of the cadets and the other cadets who failed to account the class after the activity,” Co said.

“Most probably, cases will be filed against the instructors,” he added.

Tindog added the review of the security video in the pool area showed the two swimming instructors could have committed lapses.

“We have identified the personalities involved and reviewed the CCTV footage. There are two instructors and cadets who are in charge of accounting for their class. We don’t see any foul play in the CCTV footage but we saw some administrative irregularities,” Tindog said.

Tindog said the two swimming instructors are being questioned, particularly on certain violations of the PMA’s standard operating procedures when conducting swimming classes.

“The investigation is still ongoing as we also have temporarily halted the swimming classes of cadets until such time that the incident has been properly addressed,” she said.

The death of Telan occurred following the fatal hazing of fourth class cadet Darwin Dormitorio last Sept. 28. Seven senior cadets have been indicted over the hazing. 

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