2 PMA swimming instructors dismissed over cadet’s drowning
Artemio Dumlao, Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2019 - 12:00am

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City, Philippines – Two swimming instructors at the Philippine Military Academy have been ordered dismissed in connection with the drowning of a cadet in the PMA swimming pool on Nov. 8.

Physician Robert Bete and Antonio Catalan were found ”negligent and imprudent” in conducting the course Fundamentals of Swimming, which led to the drowning of Cadet Fourth Class Mario Telan Jr., Capt. Cheryl Tindog, PMA spokesperson, said.

The contract of Catalan, a job-order employee, was immediately terminated.

The PMA’s panel of investigators also recommended the cancelation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and barring from taking civil service examinations of both Bete and Catalan.

Tindog said the penalties are based on Rule 10, Section 46 of the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service for gross neglect of duty.

”The PMA has completed and forwarded to... headquarters the results of the investigation,”she said.

Tindog said the sanctions to be imposed for the “lapses, faults and shortcomings” of two class marchers for not conducting an accounting of their classmates before and after their  swimming class as well of the head of the sports and physical development unit are still being deliberated.

The police has yet to finish its parallel probe into the incident, Col. Allen Rae Co, Baguio City police chief, said.

Co had earlier ruled out foul play, saying Telan’s death was due to the negligence of his swimming instructors.

Swimming classes at the PMA remain suspended until safety measures are in place.   

The PMA is working on the assignment of a team from the Philippine Navy Special Operations Group for its water-borne training activities.

The drowning incident came as the PMA is being criticized over the death of Fourth Class Cadet Darwin Dormitorio due to hazing.

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