FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City — Top officials of the Philippine Military Academy have stepped down while four cadets were dismissed over the death of a cadet due to hazing at the premier military leadership institution in the country.
PMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista and Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro have tendered their resignation from their posts after finishing all the administrative investigations.
“I did not leave my post in the midst of crisis. I faced the problem squarely and we have finished the investigation,” Lt. Gen. Evangelista said.
Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio died on September 18 due to internal bleeding possibly caused by getting kicked and punched.
Evangelista, himself a member of PMA class of 1986, said that all reports for the administrative and criminal cases are finished and prosecution procedures have commenced.
“In the military tradition of command responsibility it is now the proper time for me as the head of the institution together with the commandant of cadets to relinquish our respective positions,” Evangelista said, owning responsibility over the hazing incident.
For the administrative liabilities, Brig. Gen. Bacarro, a member of PMA class of 1988, said the third class squad mates of Dormitorio— Cadet 3rd Class Shalimar Imperial and Cadet 3rd Class Felix Lumbag, are separated from service for their direct participation in the maltreatment, while Cadet 1st Class Axl Ray Talupao is also dismissed for encouraging the brutalities on Dormitorio.
Under the principle of command responsibility, Bacarro added, Cadet 2nd Class Nikoel Termil, Dormitorio’s direct squad leader was also dismissed while Cadet 1st Class Irvin Sayod, Platoon Leader and Echo Company Commander Cadet 1st Class Elbert Lucas were suspended.
Meanwhile, Cadet 1st Class Christian Corea, the class floor inspector, is meted 51 demerits, 180 punishment pulls and 180 days confinement as his administrative penalties.
Senior Tactical Officer Major Rex Bolo and Echo Company Tactical Officer Captain Jeffrey Batistiana were relieved from their posts, while the commanding officer of the PMA Station Hospital Col. Cesar Candelaria and attending physician Florence Apple Apostol were also relieved from their posts pending their investigation.
“PMA takes this opportunity to cleanse its ranks and further professionalize every aspect of education and training. All that is right, legal and moral must be learned, experienced and inculcated in every lesson, activity, interaction and relation in every cadet’s four-year journey in PMA,” Evangelista said.
“It is our hope and prayer that all actions have been faithful to what this institution stands for: courage to seek and face the truth, integrity to defend what is right and loyalty to the honorable life that makes us worth to be called PMAyers,” he added.
Evangelista maintained that “it was wrong” for a person to die in this manner in PMA. “It was wrong for a cadet to die in the hands of fellow cadets. Maltreatment is wrong in the PMA.”