“Apparently, they did not conduct an accounting because they did not know that someone was missing. They only found out when the next activity was starting. Because of that, they looked for him at the previous venue and, unfortunately, that’s where they found him,” he said partly in Filipino.
STAR/File
Drowning at PMA: Instructors, marcher face liability
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - November 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Phillipines — Though there appears to be no foul play involved in the death of Cadet 4th Class Mario Telan Jr., investigators are looking into the possible administrative liability of the class marcher and two Philippine Military Academy (PMA) swimming instructors. 

Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman, pointed out that in each activity such as a class meeting or academic formation at the country’s premier military school, there is always a cadet – called the class or section marcher – tasked to account for everyone. ?

“Apparently, they did not conduct an accounting because they did not know that someone was missing. They only found out when the next activity was starting. Because of that, they looked for him at the previous venue and, unfortunately, that’s where they found him,” he said partly in Filipino.

He added that the section marcher and two swimming instructors yet to be named are being asked to give their side of the incident.

“The fact that they are being asked to explain (shows that) they have an obligation they failed to do. They are being given the chance to explain why they should not be held accountable for their failure to do their responsibilities that might have prevented the incident,” Arevalo stressed.

Malacañang has expressed concern over Telan’s drowning – the third death incident at the academy since September this year – and called for a review of PMA swimming class protocols.

“We are bothered by the death of another plebe who could be an outstanding military officer if he was able to finish his course. So, the military instructors, especially on the swimming side, should reassess their protocols so they can provide safety to their trainees,” said presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo at yesterday’s press briefing.

Arevalo said it is best that the Philippine National Police (PNP) conduct an investigation to erase a possible impression of whitewash.

“So far, according to the PNP, they have not seen any sign of foul play. Because of this, we have to look into some administrative lapses,” he told reporters yesterday.

The police, according to PMA spokesperson Capt. Cheryl Tindog, have reviewed the full CCTV footage of the incident and could only point to negligence of the swimming instructors.

Baguio police director Col. Allen Rae Co said “almost with certainty, (there) was no foul play in the drowning” as he revealed that the footage – about six gigabytes in size – only showed that Telan waded unnoticed to the deeper end of the pool during swimming class.

Telan drowned in the PMA pool last Thursday when he attended his swimming class from 11 a.m. to noon. He failed to show up in his succeeding subjects.

Rescuers attempted to revive him after locating him at the 15-foot deep pool. He was brought to the Fort del Pilar Station Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

His remains were brought to his hometown of Enrile in Cagayan last Sunday. He was the youngest of four siblings of a farming couple.

Tindog said the PMA continues to assist the Telan family with their loss. – With Alexis Romero, Artemio Dumlao, Raymund Catindig

DROWNING PMA
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