FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City – Two ranking officials of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) today resigned from the premier military institution in Asia in the spirit of command responsibility and to allow the conduct of a full blown investigation on the brutal murder of a 20-year old fourth class cadet that caused his instantaneous death.
PMA Superintendent Ronnie Evangelista and PMA Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Bartolome Bacaro resigned from their respective positions in the Academy and it will now be up to President Rodrigo Duterte to decide on whether or not to accept the said resignation.
Evangelista and Bacaro decided to leave the institution on repeated calls from concerned sectors for them to resign following their alleged inability to stop the age-old tradition of maltreatment that caused the untimely death of a young cadet from Cagayan de Oro City.
“Maltreatment is wrong in PMA. Since the tragic day, PMA has exhausted all what is humanely possible to do all that is right,” Evangelista stressed.
On September 18, 2019, cadet fourth-class Darwin Dormitorio, 20, single, a son of a retired Army Colonel from Cagayan de Oro City, died after sustaining injuries due to alleged maltreatment from his fellow cadets inside the barracks of the Academy.
Based on the post mortem examination done on the victim, he was said to have sustained blond trauma injuries that resulted to the severe damage of his pancreas and internal hemorrhage that probably came from punches and kicks or blond objects that were thrown to his body by his colleagues.
For the past several days, the PMA official asserted that the Academy has attended to every need to grieve and comfort the victim’s family, PMA has invited the proper authorities to investigate the matter together with investigation teams inside the Academy as well as to accomplish all these in the soonest possible time, PMA has directed all identified persons to cooperate with the different investigating teams, PMA has executed extensive measures to guarantee the individual health status of every cadet, especially the condition and overall well-being of the fourth class cadets and PMA has initiated a series of reviews to evaluate the internal health care systems, leadership behaviors of cadets and the training culture that will eradicate any possibility for maltreatment to ever happen again.
While the said actions will not bring back the life of the deceased cadet, Evangelista asserted that it is PMA’ solemn responsibility to search for the truth, work for justice, hold people accountable and prevent any occurrence of treatment in the future.
“We have the resolved determination and inspiration to ascertain that cadet Dormitorio did not die in vain. PMA will take this opportunity to cleanse its ranks and further professionalize every aspect of education and training,” he added.
He disclosed that all the reports for administrative and criminal cases have been finished and prosecution procedures has commenced, the last act that the great military institution demands is for the leadership to take responsibility over what happened and in the military tradition of command responsibility prevails, thus, it is now the proper time for him together with the Commandant of Cadets to relinquish their respective positions.
In A related development, 7 cadets were identified to have been involved in the alleged maltreatment of the plebe wherein four of them will be discharged from the Academy while three others will be meted the appropriate suspensions.
Those who were identified to have direct participation to the plebe’s maltreatment include cadet third class Shalemar Imperial and cadet third class Felix Lumbag while the cadet linked to have encouraged the maltreatment was cadet first class Rey Senupco and those who have been identified as principal by command responsibility include cadet second class Niokoel Termil, cadet first class Irvin Sayod and cadet first class Elbert Lucas and cadet first class Christian Correa.
Among the PMA personnel who were also relived from their posts due to the unfortunate incident included Maj. Rex Bolo, senior tactical officer, Capt. Jeffrey Ballesteros, co –tactical officer, chief of hospital Col. Cesar Almer Candela and attending physician Capt. Flor Apple Apostol.
Evangelista assured that there will be no stones that will be unturned in the ongoing investigation of the brutal maltreatment incident that again tainted the good image of the institution, thus, the cooperation of all those concerned have been solicited to ensure the speedy disposition of the cases that will be filed against the culprits.
By Dexter A. See