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2 more PMA hazing victims in hospital, AFP says

Two more separate incidents of hazing occurred inside the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City last week, one of which took place on the same day Cadet Fourth Class Darwin Dormitorio died from his violent initiation.

READ: ‘Hazing killers of PMA cadet must be held liable’

The two victims are in stable condition in an undisclosed military hospital, said acting Civil Relations Service chief, Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo.

“Both incidents sadly are suspected to be maltreatment cases,” Arevalo said.

The two hazing victims whose identities were not made available complained of abdominal pain when diagnosed by doctors upon arrival at the hospital.

“Both cadets are recovering and are responding to medications and said to be in stable condition,” Arevalo said. “The physicians of the hospital are on a 24-hour duty monitoring and ensuring that the patients are well attended.”

Outgoing AFP chief of staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal said the alleged perpetrators in the latest hazing incidents are under tight guard as the investigation proceeds.

On Sept. 17, Dormitorio, 20, was found unconscious at 4 a.m. in his barracks. He was taken to Fort del Pilar Hospital but was pronounced dead an hour later.

Criminal cases were scheduled to be filed in Baguio City Monday against three suspects, two them detained at the PMA stockade, while the other is at the holding center under tight watch. All are believed to have direct responsibility over Dormitorio’s death.

Reports said six other senior cadets face administrative proceedings, four face discharge from the academy and two others face suspension.

Officials at the academy that molds future military leaders condemned the incidents of hazing.

“The AFP, the PMA, in particular, are both enraged by these incidents and thus reiterate their strong and unequivocal positions condemning maltreatment. These institutions pursue the incessant drive and commitment to eliminate maltreatment from the military,” Arevalo said.

He said hazing has no place in a modern, professional and mature Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“Violators are exception in the academy rather than the rule and the erring cadets comprise the deviant behavior,” Arevalo said.

The Palace said President Rodrigo Duterte was angered by Dormitorio’s death and blamed the leaders of the PMA for failing to stop hazing.

“He [Duterte] is one man who is always outraged at any kind of oppression and hazing is an oppressive act,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo slammed the negligence of PMA leaders, saying it allowed the “murderous ritual” that Dormitorio endured.

Initial investigation showed that third-class cadets beat Dormitorio repeatedly upon the order of the senior cadet who had endorsed it, Cordillera police said.

“While we commend the PMA for [cooperating] with the Baguio police in identifying the upperclassmen as persons of interest or suspects and investigating the incident with its coordination with government authorities, we at the same time lament that there is a failure in leadership as regards being negligent in not stopping this murderous ritual which has no place in a civilized society,” Panelo said.

“With a heavy heart, we express our sincerest condolences to the bereaved family, friends, classmates, and loved ones of the young Darwin,” he added.

Panelo said the Office of the President condemns the “barbaric practice of hazing in all its forms,” adding that President Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Act last year to ensure that all practices of hazing are checked and that perpetrators will be penalized to the full extent of the law.

Officials said Dormitorio died of cardiac arrest due to internal hemorrhage sustained during the hazing.

Three upperclassmen are now suspects in Dormitorio’s death.

Two more PMA cadets were also included as new “persons of interest,” the PMA and the Baguio City Police Office said in a joint statement.

Nine more cadets were also now considered witnesses.

In related developments:

* Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the Dormitorio hazing.

* Two PMA officers have been relieved following Dormitorio’s death. PMA spokesman Maj. Reynan Afan said the two were ground commanders at the company level but declined to identify them.

* Senator Panfilo Lacson said while hazing is an old tradition, cadets must realize the law no longer allows them to carry it out. He also said the penalties for hazing today are much harsher than they were in his time.

Topics: Philippine Military Academy , hazing , Darwin Dormitorio , Edgard Arevalo
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