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PMA fires swimming instructors over death of cadet

Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City — The Philippine Military Academy fired two civilian instructors over the fatal drowning of a cadet early this month.

READ: Another PMA cadet dies, body found in pool

With the completion of its investigation, the academy through its spokesperson Captain Cheryl Tindog declared that instructors Robert S. Bete and Antonio B. Catalan were found negligent and imprudent in the conduct of the course, “Fundamentals of Swimming,” which led to the drowning of 4th class cadet Mario Telan Jr. at the Academy’s swimming pool on Nov. 8.

Bete, a regular civilian employee of the PMA, and Catalan, a job-order employee, have been recommended for dismissal from the service with penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and barred from taking civil service examinations. 

These sanctions were based by the PMA, Tindog said, from Rule 10, Section 46 of Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, or “Gross Neglect of Duty.”

READ: 2 swimming instructors under probe for death of PMA cadet

According to Tindog, the academy is still deliberating on the sanctions for the two 4th Class Cadet “marchers” who were responsible for accounting their classmates before and after the swimming class, as well as the Head of the Sports and Physical Development Unit (SPDU). She did not name the two cadets and head of the PMA SPDU.

Baguio City police director Col. Allen Rae Co said they still have to wrap up their own investigation and will be coordinating with the cadet’s family in Cagayan should they decide to file criminal charges against the two swimming instructors.

Tindog also declared that swimming classes of the cadets in all levels remain suspended until all safety measures have been covered and are in place.   

PMA is also arranging for the assignment of a team from the Philippine Navy Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) to be part of all water-borne training activities of the cadets.

Tindog vowed that the PMA “is committed to leaving no stone unturned (on the case of Cdt 4Cl Telan) and will continue to institute measures for the safety of all cadets so that this tragic incident will not be repeated.”