BAGUIO CITY: Police on Friday said there are now nine cadets that are being linked to the alleged maltreatment of Cdt. 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio inside the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), citing the discovery of two more third-class cadets who were involved in the incident based on ongoing investigation.
Brig. Gen. Israel Ephraim Dickson, regional director of the Police Regional Office in the Cordillera, and City Police Office (BCPO) Director Col. Allen Rae Co, however, refused to divulge the identities of the two third-class cadets who will be included in the charges that will be filed for their blatant violation of the Anti-Hazing Law.
Earlier, the PMA sanctioned seven cadets and two PMA personnel in connection with Dormitorio’s death.
The police officials also presented to the members of the media the taser flashlight that was surrendered to the investigators by one of the suspects.
The flashlight was used to pump electricity into Dormitorio’s body prior to his confinement on August 20 to 27 at the PMA Station Hospital.
Initial investigation showed around 1 a.m. of September 18, Dormitorio started vomiting inside their barracks and complaining of stomachache.
Around 4 a.m., the cadet was brought to the PMA Station Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:15 a.m. on the same day.
There are still no criminal charges filed against the suspects in the death of Dormitorio as police are still collating the statement of the 12 cadets and two PMA personnel.
Dickson said the police were closely coordinating with the PMA on the investigation.
One reported reason why he was tortured was his failure to account for a missing pair of combat shoes that had been entrusted to him for safekeeping.
Probers are in possession of Dormitorio’s letter to his parents stating the abuses that he experienced from his upperclassmen, but its contents will be released in the proper forum for whatever purposes it will serve.
Four of the involved cadets stand to be discharged from the academy while three of them could be meted suspension from the institution aside from being charged for violation of the Anti-Hazing Law.
One of the involved cadets was earlier suspended for one year and was restricted from approaching plebes.
Based on the letter obtained by the BCPO, Dormitorio said on August 19, around 9 p.m., all freshmen cadets under the “Echo” Company of the PMA were instructed by their upperclassmen to disclose how they had spent their allowances.
He told the upperclassmen that he had already spent half of his allowance, an “offense” according to the upperclassmen.
“The 4th Class of Echo Company were told to signify the allowance spending of plebes,” the 20-year-old Dormitorio wrote.
“I already spent half of my allowance and it was an offense to my buddies namely Cadet Imperial, Cadet Lumbag and Cadet Manalo,” he said.
He also referred to the third-class cadets who were earlier tagged as suspects and faced expulsion from the academy — Shalimar Imperial and Felix Lumbag.
A certain Cadet Manalo was not identified yet at the time.
In the letter, Dormitorio said he was directed by his upperclassmen to do “pumping exercises” and even “bridge under bunks” exercises.
He added that he had fallen from the bridge and hit the floor several times.
Dormitorio said Lumbag was already mad at him and punched him in the ribs while his arms were raised up high.
“I was hit a few times more after,” he added.
In the House of Representatives, Ako Bicol party-list congressman Alfredo Garbin Jr., one of the authors of Republic Act 11053, or the “Anti-Hazing Act of 2018,” has filed a resolution asking the chamber “to direct the appropriate committee to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the death” of Dormitorio.
“We have zero tolerance for hazing.The murderers and hazers of Darwin Dormitorio were devoid of any humanity when they tortured him to death. We must not let their utterly heinous act go unpunished to the fullest extend of law,” Garbin said.
The Ako Bicol congressman noted that since the first anti-hazing law was passed, only a single conviction was won in court.
That lone conviction victory in 2006 involved the hazing and killing University of the Philippines Los Baños student Marlon Villanueva.
With a reports from DEMPSEY REYES AND ASANGAN T. MADALE