Charges filed against seven PMA cadets, five officials

By JOSEPH GREGORIO
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — Three weeks after the death of Philippine Military Academy Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio, his elder brother filed charges against seven upperclassmen for Republic Act 8049 or Anti-Hazing law, Republic Act 9745 or Anti-Torture Act, and murder.
The 20-year old plebe died on September 18 after the series of torture inflicted by his upperclassmen.

Family lawyer John Adrian Bonifacio and Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Chief Allan Rae Co accompanied Dexter Dormitorio in submitting the complaint at the Office of the City Prosecutor just before 5:00 pm on October 8.

“I would like to tell my brother; this is just Part I of the battle. We will not stop hanggang hindi napapanagot ang lahat (until those involved are made accountable),” Dexter said.

Respondents for the case are Cadet 1st Class Axl Rey Sanopao, Cadet 2nd Class Christian Zacarias, and Cadets 3rd Class Shalimar Imperial, Felix M. Lumbag, Jr., John Vincent Manalo, Julius Carlo Tadena and Rey David John Volante.

“Ito iyong wish ng family (this is the wish of our family), as discussed last week dapat (it should be) airtight; we are basing the charges based on evidence at hand,” Dexter stressed.

The anti-hazing law regulates initiation rites of fraternities, sororities and other organizations, including those undergoing citizens’ military and army training. It prohibits all types of hazing, penalizing violators with up to 40 years imprisonment and a P3 million fine if this results to death. Meanwhile, the penalty for torture leading in death is reclusion perpetua or a maximum of 30 years in prison.

Besides the seven cadets, the Dormitorios also included the tactical officers and academy physicians in the complaint.

Indicted as accomplices were Major Rex Bolo, senior tactical officer; and Captain Jeffrey Batistana, the tactical officer of the Echo Company. Bonifacio explained the cases against the two officers are more of omission.

Charged for dereliction of duty were Colonel Cesar Almar Candelaria, the commanding officer of the Philippine Military Station Hospital (PMASH), Captain Flor Apple Apostol and Major Ofelia Beloy. The three doctors attended to Darwin before his death.

PMA officials denied that the presence of hazing in the institution, admitting only instances of “maltreatment” of cadets. However, several alumni in public offices acknowledged they also experienced hazing while in the academy. The incident forced top officials of the academy to resign, including PMA superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista. # nordis.net

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