Malacañang on Friday said the perpetrators behind the hazing death Wednesday of 20-year-old Philippine Military Academy cadet Darwin Dormitorio from Cagayan de Oro should be held liable under the law.
The Philippine National Police confirmed Wednesday Dormitorio died inside his barracks at Fort Del Pilar in Baguio City as a victim of hazing, only hours after he complained of stomach pain and was immediately brought to the hospital for treatment where he died.
At the elite institution for future officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, a PMA official said an investigation of the cadet’s death was now in the hands of police and the National Bureau of Investigation.
Major Reynan Afan, acting chief of PMA’s Public Affairs Office, said in a statement that the Philippine National Police and the NBI had been invited to look into the case to “ensure fair, objective and transparent investigation.”
“As the PMA community continue (sic) to mourn the passing of one of its sons, continuous cooperation with competent proper authorities have been initiated,” he said.
He said the PMA was extending support to Dormitorio’s family.
In the Senate, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III is extremely saddened by the death of his fellow Kagay-anon, saying “This is unacceptable and must be investigated immediately. We cannot turn a blind eye to this kind of violence in the country’s premier military training institution. Apparently, the situation was exacerbated by negligence in the medical treatment of this young man.”
The senaror on Friday expressed his utter dismay that such unfortunate incident still occurred despite the enactment of Republic Act No. 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018, which imposes harsher penalties on organizers and participants of hazing.
Initial reports said Dormitorio was initially admitted at the PMA Hospital due to stomach pain and vomiting.
The hospital will also be investigated as it only diagnosed the young man with Urinary Tract Infection despite the presence of bruises on his stomach.
“We strongly urge the appropriate PMA Officers to bring the perpetrators to justice. We have to protect our children and future heroes from this atrocious practice,” Pimentel added.
Twenty cadets are now facing investigation in connection with Dormitorio’s death.
Police said there were three “persons of interest” in Dormitorio’s death, adding at least 20 individuals witnessed the hazing incident.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Duterte administration did not tolerate hazing, stressing
“Whoever is responsible for this should be held liable. We do not condone unlawful activities and hazing is one of those things.”
He added: “We will apply the law equally. The President will apply the law equally, so whatever is the outcome of the investigation, if this will go up to the court, we’ll have to go through full process of the law.”
Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a stronger anti-hazing law in response to the hazing of University of Santo Tomas law freshman Horacio Castillo III.
Castillo died in the hands of UST-based fraternity Aegis Juris, which was recruiting him. He was found lying on a sidewalk in Tondo, Manila with a blanket draped over him.
Baguio City Police Office director Colonel Allen Rae Co said an in-depth investigation into Dormitorio’s death was ongoing.
“BCPO is currently conducting an in-depth investigation of the incident in close coordination with the
administration of PMA. We will be releasing the result of our investigation upon its conclusion,” Co said.
Initial investigation showed that Dormitorio died of cardiac arrest secondary to internal hemorrhage on Wednesday morning at the PMA station hospital.
According to the police report, at 1 a.m. Wednesday, the cadet was complaining of stomach ache and started vomiting inside their barracks.
He was brought to the PMA station hospital and was pronounced dead by the attending physician at 5:15 a.m. With PNA