By JOSEPH GREGORIO
BAGUIO CITY — The family of Darwin Dormitorio met with the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) on October 3 to prepare for an airtight case against the upperclassmen responsible for his death.
Darwin, a fourth class cadet of the Philippine Military Academy, died on September 18, due to injuries he sustained from the torture inflicted by seven upperclassmen.
The victim’s elder brother, Dexter, together with their lawyer Jose Adrian Bonifacio held a closed-door meeting with the police led by city police chief Allan Rae Co at the BCPO multi-purpose Hall. They discussed the case against the perpetrators. They are looking at filing criminal charges, including violation of the anti-hazing law and possible murder against the seven suspects.
According to Dexter, they are carefully studying the case with their lawyer. He said they want to ensure a strong case before filing it in court, adding that they will immediately file it once finalized.
He reiterated that all they want is to get justice for their kin.
Bonifacio said they are consolidating all the details to strengthen the case. The lawyer said they are going through the statements of witnesses gathered by the police.
He added that the journal of Darwin could also be included [as evidence] to show his ordeals in the PMA.
“The case that we will file to the prosecutor should be clear,” he said.
Bonifacio said they want to be sure that no technicalities will affect the case.
For the time being, Co said that they would focus on finalizing the case. He explained that they would file more charges as the investigation progresses.
Darwin chronicled his sufferings in a diary the police obtained during the probe. He detailed how several upperclassmen beat and inflicted pain on him since August for overspending his allowance.
Investigators released the chronology of the beatings and abuses he underwent in the hands of his fellow cadets. The last beatings he experienced were for missing combat boots.
Police identified the suspects as 1st Class Cadet Axl Rey Sanupao, 2nd Class Cadet Christian Zacarias, 3rd Class Cadets Rey David John Volante, Julius Carlo Tadena, John Vincent Manalo, Felix Lumbag Jr., and Shalimar Imperial.
Disregard of human rights
The Commission on Human Rights in the Cordillera condemned the death of Darwin, calling the incident “brazen disregard of the right to life.”
“It is saddening that up to now, even after the passage of stricter anti-hazing legislation, there are still those who adhere to barbaric, inhumane, and illegal practices of initiation or discipline in some military training institutions,” said CHR Regional Director Atty. Rommel Daguimol.
He also urged the academy officials to “institute genuine reforms” and strictly observe the human rights of cadets in the course of their training.
Meanwhile, Cordillera Peoples Alliance chairperson Windel Bolinget in a Facebook post, said the “deeply rooted tradition and culture of violence” in the PMA produces “monster military officers.”
“As [officers of the Armed Forces], they run the State military machine under the guise of defending democracy, nationalism [and] national interest. In truth, they are instruments of state terrorism directed against the people who have subsidized their education in PMA and who continue to pay their salaries and benefits in the AFP,” he said. # nordis.net