THE filing of charges against two former top officials of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) is part of “due process” as they are tasked to answer charges before the proper courts, a spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.
“When soldiers, airmen, sailors or marines face a military tribunal or a civilian court to answer charges for what they did or failed to do, that’s due process,” Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement on Saturday after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed this week charges of violation of the Anti-Hazing Law against Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista, former PMA superintendent, and Brig. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro, former commandant of cadets.
Evangelista and Bacarro resigned over the death of Cdt. 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio on September 18. Dormitorio died on August 19 from multiple injuries he sustained during hazing rites.
Arevalo stopped short of commending the two, but called the act a form of “soldiery” when “men and women in uniform tasked to accomplish a mission are later asked to account for what they did or failed to do.”
“That is what military leaders who decide and act in all circumstances must be prepared to do,” Arevalo said.
The NBI investigation started in September on orders of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
Captains Flor Apostol and Maria Ofelia Beloy, and Lt. Col. Cesar Candelaria are facing indictment for medical malpractice, while seven cadets have been charged with murder and for violation of the Anti-Hazing and Anti-Torture Laws before the Baguio City Prosecutor’s Office.
The seven cadets are: Cdt. 1st Class Axl Rey Sanopao; Cdt. 2nd Class Christian Zacarias; Cadets 3rd Class Felix Lumbag Jr., Julius Carlo Tadena, Shalimar Imperial, John Vincent Manalo and Rey David John Volante.