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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Cadets, doctors in hazing ordered arrested

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The Regional Trial Court Branch 5 of Baguio City has issued arrest warrants against three Philippine Military Academy cadets indicted over the hazing death of Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio, who died last September after months of alleged maltreatment by fellow cadets.

Baguio City Police chief Col. Allen Rae Co confirmed this to reporters, saying they were already coordinating with other agencies for the arrest of Cadets Shalimar Imperial Jr. and Felix Lumbag Jr. for hazing and murder charges as well as Cadet Julius Carlo Tadena for hazing and “less serious physical injuries” charges.

Co said the cadets were currently under the custody of the Armed Forces of the Philippines general headquarters, but stopped short of saying when the arrests would be made.

The RTC also released warrants of arrest against former PMA Station Hospital chief Lt. Col. Ceasar Candelaria and medical officers Capt. Flor Apple Apostol and Maj. Maria Ofelia Beloy who have also been charged with murder.

According to the warrant of arrest issued last July 7 by Presiding Judge Maria Ligaya Itliong-Rivera, military doctors Candelaria, Apostol, and Beloy could post bail at P200,000 each.

No bail was recommended for the cadets, the warrant of arrest stated.

In a statement, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it has yet to receive a copy of the warrant of arrest issued by the court.

“The AFP’s Judge Advocate General will attend to the matter and give (the) appropriate recommendation to the AFP Chief of Staff General Felimon Santos Jr. as to the disposition of the named cadets,” AFP spokesperson, Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said.

He also confirmed that six PMA cadets involved in the incident are under the custody of the AFP General Headquarters.

“They are now facing trial before a General Court Martial for violation of Article of War 97 Conduct Prejudicial to Good Order and Military Discipline,” he added.

Arevalo also assured that the PMA will take appropriate action on the officers named in the warrant.

“We once more commit to the court that we will cooperate and, when needed, assist in the swift dispensation of justice. We owe it to the people–especially to the parents of the late Cadet Darwin Dormitorio—and the community of PMA Alumni,” he said. 

Last month, Baguio prosecutors ordered that the charges be filed against the cadets and former PMA officials for the death of Dormitorio. Court records showed that Imperial and Lumbag, then third-class cadets, first assaulted Dormitorio in August 2019.

Despite numerous visits to the hospital and orders to stay away from Dormitorio, subsequent incidents occurred until Dormitorio died of injuries on the morning of September 19.

Meanwhile, Apostol, Candelaria, and Beloy, medical doctors assigned at the Fort del Pilar Station Medical Hospital who treated the victim were charged after prosecutors said they “grossly failed to provide adequate medical care to Dormitorio, which also caused the latter’s death.”

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