By JOSEPH GREGORIO
BAGUIO CITY— The kin of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio pursued the filing of criminal charges against former PMA Superintendent and Commandant in connection with the hazing incidents resulting in the death of Dormitorio.
Former PMA Superintendent BGen. Ronnie Evangelista and former Commandant of Cadets BGen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro will face charges under the Anti-Hazing Law of 2018, Anti –Torture Act of 2009, and Dereliction of duty as defined by Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code. The two resigned on September 24 following the torture and death of Dormitorio.
The officials were not included in the initial cases filed because of lack of evidence according to
Attorney Adrian Jose Bonifacio, the legal counsel of the Dormitorios. However, they have secured the needed evidence after the parallel investigation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Cordillera and the submission of counter-affidavits by the respondents in the first case.
In their investigation, the NBI noted that Evangelista and Bacarro failed to take steps to prevent the torture that led to Dormitorio’s death. The bureau found that the physical abuse done to the victim “ were all properly and officially reported as per standard operation of the academy, but these officers neither lifted a hand nor exerted efforts for these to be investigated and implement appropriate actions.” The NBI filed a case against the PMA officials on October 24.
Republic Act No. 11053, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 29 this year, which amends RA 8059, the original anti-hazing law, prohibits all forms of hazing and imposed harsher penalties on deaths resulting from such acts. Hazing, which results in death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation, will be slapped with a penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of P3 million.
Unlike the old law, the new law also penalizes individuals who will try to cover up hazing activities. It also mandates schools to “take more proactive steps to protect its students from the dangers of participating in activities that involve hazing.”
Dormitorio died on September 18 after suffering series of abuses from his upperclassmen. To date, 14 individuals were charged in connection with the incident.
The family of Dormitorio initially filed charges against the principal suspects Third Class Cadet Shalimar Imperial Jr., 3CL Felix Lumbag Jr., 3CL John Vincent Manalo, 3CL Julius Tadena, 3CL Rey David Volante, 2CL Christian Zacarias, and 1CL Axl Rey Sanopao for violation of Anti-Hazing Law, murder, and Anti-Torture Law last Oct. 8.
Tactical officers Major Rex Bolo, Captain Jeffrey Batistiana, were charged as accomplices for the cases. The three PMA medical doctors Captain Flor Apostol, Major Ofelia Beloy, Colonel Cesar Almer Candelaria, are facing charges for dereliction of duty. # nordis.net / With report from Ace Alegre