PAMPANGA -- Authorities are investigating the death of a police trainee who collapsed during a troop formation at the regional training center in Magalang town on Saturday.

Central Luzon Police Director Arturo Cacdac Jr. ordered the Regional Investigation and Detection Management Division (RIDMD) to sift through evidence regarding the death of Nile El Chico Nieves.

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Nieves reportedly collapsed during a troop formation at the training camp around 3 p.m. on July 3. He was initially brought to Balitucan District Hospital and later to Angeles University Foundation Medical Center (AUFMC), where he was pronounced dead at 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

Doctors at the AUFMC said Nieves died of cerebral malaria, plasmodia and kidney failure.

Cacdac directed Regional Health Service chief Elizabeth Milanes to look into the medical history of Nieves and to immediately send a doctor to the training center to further investigate the cause of his death.

"I will not leave any stone unturned in the investigation of this case," Cacdac said.

The regional police chief also ordered RIDMD chief Ervin Gumban to investigate if there was any manhandling that triggered the sickness of the police recruit.

Nieves is one of 265 police recruits for Central Luzon who took their oaths at Camp Olivas Parade Grounds on Thursday. They were the first batch of recruits who took their oath for 2010. The Philippine National Police (PNP) has reserved 930 slots for Central Luzon this year.

The PNP recruits underwent rigorous screening, which included physical agility test, neuro-psychological test, medical and dental examination, drug test and final board interview. The board was composed of representatives from the women's sector, National Police Commission,Department of Interior and Local Government, and Regional Peace and Order Council.

The first phase of the regular recruitment program composed of 211 males and 54 females started the processing of their application into the police service on March of this year.

After the oath taking ceremony, attended by the families of the recruits and personnel of Police Regional Office 3, the recruits were handed over to the Director of the Police Regional Training School headed by Superintendent Noel Flores.

Following Nieves's death, the regional training center is planning to recommend to the PNP national headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City to integrate blood smear and histopathology in the screening process to find out more about the physical fitness and health of police recruits. (Ric Sapnu/Sun.Star Pampanga/Sunnex)