Kin, officials cry for justice for PMA cadet

CAGAYAN DE ORO. The remains of PMA cadet Darwin Dormitorio have been brought back to Cagayan de Oro City. A wake is being held at the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes in Cagayan de Oro City. (SunStar CDO Facebook)

AN AUNT of Darwin Dormitorio, the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadet who died from hazing, and some government officials are calling for justice.

Dormitorio's aunt, Ruth Dioso, wrote on Facebook that Dormitorio died due to broken internal organs, particularly his kidneys.

"Is this a kind of institution I am praising before? Not anymore! Mga kriminal sila! I'm calling to all parents who wish to send their kids please, this is not the PMA we are praising before...this is hazing academy to be exact! We want justice," Dioso said.

Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez said he will file a resolution seeking to expel the cadets responsible for the hazing incident.

Rodriguez said he will also seek the removal of PMA officials from office for allowing hazing which is prohibited under the Anti-hazing Law.

"Hazing has been declared illegal through the anti-hazing law and his death is senseless, inflicted by his fellow cadets and negligence of PMA officials," he said.

The lawmaker said he will file a resolution Monday, September 23, to investigate the death of Dormitorio.

"I am filing a resolution in Congress to investigate this dastardly act in which the PMA superintendent and officials together with the cadets involved in this murder will therefor be asked to appear in congress to explain," Rodriguez said.

"After the investigation we expect the recommendation to file criminal charges against those involved in this heinous crime of murder through hazing," he said.

An autopsy conducted on Dormitorio showed bruises on different parts of his body, indicating that he was punched and kicked several times.

Three cadets are now facing investigation in connection with Dormitorio's death.

Senator Koko Pimentel, for his part, expressed dismay that such unfortunate incident still occurred despite the enactment of Republic Act No. 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018.

“This is unacceptable and must be investigated immediately! We cannot turn a blind eye to this kind of violence in the country’s premier military training institution. Apparently, the situation was exacerbated by negligence in the medical treatment of this young man,” Pimentel said.

City Mayor Oscar Moreno also called for a thorough investigation on the matter.

"We are all very saddened by the tragic death of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio, a promising local boy from Cagayan de Oro City, whose dreams were shattered needlessly," Moreno said.

"We urge the authorities to thoroughly investigate the death and to leave no stone unturned. We also demand that justice be served regardless of any circumstance. Mr. Dormitorio's death should not pass unsolved,"he added.

Kabataan Partylist also condemned the "continued hazing at the PMA."

The youth group said an investigation should be conducted to shed light on why a healthy and fit 20-year-old, who passed PMA's strict requirements, died due to cardiac arrest secondary to internal hemorrhage after less than two months as a PMA cadet.

The group said the PMA should tell the public that steps were taken when Dormitorio earlier complained of stomach pain and was seen vomiting hours before being found unconscious.

"Could Darwin’s life have been saved if authorities quickly addressed complaints of stomach pain and brought to the PMA Station Hospital? Why wait for him to pass out and for his condition to get so worse that he could not be saved?" the group added.

Meanwhile, the Xavier University offered a mass Friday noon, September 20, for the cadet. Dormitorio graduated from the institution's Senior High School department.

Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 or Republic Act No. 11053, completely prohibiting hazing and imposing harsher penalties on organizers and participants of the said act.

The law prohibits hazing in the recruitment of citizens’ military and army training. However, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) may still conduct physical, mental, and psychological testing and training for prospect members on the condition that said training is not considered as hazing.

RA 11053 defined hazing as "any act that results in physical or psychological suffering, harm, or injury inflicted on a recruit, neophyte, applicant, or member as part of an initiation rite or practice as a prerequisite for admission.”

Under the law, those who participate in the planning and conducting of hazing, even those who were merely present during the act, are considered liable.

Violators of the law will be sanctioned with reclusion perpetua and fined P3 million, if their involvement in the hazing caused death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation.

Reclusion perpetua and a fine of P2 million will be imposed on those who plan or participate in hazing under the influence of alcohol or drugs; reclusion temporal and a P1-million fine for those involved in the hazing; and prision correccional on anyone who forced or threatened another person to join a fraternity or organization.

Schools and owners or lessee of the place where the hazing was conducted may also face penalties.


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