A cadet from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) died from injuries he may have sustained from suspected hazing, a spokesman for the PMA said on Thursday.
Maj. Reynan Afan identified the victim as Cadet Fourth Class Darwin Dormitorio, 20, who was reported by local media as complaining of stomach pains while inside the academy.
Afan refused to elaborate, noting that an investigation is ongoing.
He said Dormitorio died inside his room, which had been cordoned off.
“The PMA is extending every necessary support to the family [of Dormitorio]. We ask for the understanding of the public in respecting the privacy of the family and the PMA community to grieve the passing of Cadet Fourthclass Darwin D. Dormitorio CCAFP (Cadet Corps Armed Forces of the Philippines),” Afan said in a separate statement.
Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista, PMA superintendent, disclosed that some of Dormitorio’s roommates and upperclassmen were now under the PMA’s custody as part of the investigation.
The Philippine National Police’s Scene of the Crime Operatives (PNP-SOCO) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) were also tapped to investigate Dormitorio’s death with medicolegal personnel also coming up with its own findings, he said.
“This is for us to have a good investigation. We will open up everything, no cover-up will happen, and the investigation will be fair and objective,” Evangelista told reporters.
Evangelista said hazing was not being ruled out in Dormitorio’s case. If true, this would be the first time in seven years since a hazing incident happened within the academy’s walls.
In 2012, then-PMA superintendent Nonato Alfredo Peralta said a cadet had been discharged from the cadet corps ranks over a hazing case that was not disclosed.
Eleven years before that, two cadets had been convicted for homicide by a civilian court over a plebe’s death.
Evangelista clarified that there was no intention to hide details from the public since the parents of Dormitorio had requested privacy.
“I cannot speak for now, with all due respect to the parents because they are the ones truly aggrieved by this case,” he stressed. DEMPSEY REYES