PMA plebe dies due to internal bleeding

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – A plebe at the Philippine Military Academy died on Wednesday, September 18, due to internal bleeding.

The PMA said in a progress report on Thursday, September 19, that this was the initial finding in its investigation into the death of Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio.

"Initial findings for the cause of death: Cardiac Arrest secondary to internal hemorrhage," the PMA's progress report said.

The 20-year-old plebe from Cagayan de Oro City was found unconscious inside Room 209 of Mayo Hall Annex Wednesday morning. He was rushed to the PMA Station Hospital at around 4 am that day and was declared dead more than hour later. 

Dormitorio, a member of the Echo Company, earlier complained of stomach pain and was vomiting. 

Following the incident, the PMA said "the Commandant of Cadets (COC) ordered the restrictive confinement of the upperclass and 4cl squadmates of 4CL DORMITORIO for investigation." 

"Room 209 of Mayo Hall was immediately cordoned at declared off limits and considered a crime scene," it said, adding that the PMA requested the help of the Philippine National Police Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) to process the crime scene.

Dormitorio's parents, who were notified about the incident on Wednesday afternoon, arrived in Fort del Pilar to bring home their son.

Dormitorio, along with other members of the PMA Class of 2023, was incorporated only last July 27. 

The last time a PMA cadet died was in May 2017 when a fourth-class cadet succumbed to stomach bleeding. In May 2016, another cadet died of heatstroke. In both cases, hazing was ruled out.  In Dormitorio’s case, the jury is still out.  

‘They never learn’

Senator Panfilo Lacson, a PMA graduate, said the incident pointed to the persistence of “hazing” in the academy despite the enactment of a stronger anti-hazing law and past incidents that should have deterred the practice.

“They never learn. Hazing is as old a practice as far as we can remember. Many upper class cadets in the past were either dismissed, some had served time inside a military stockade, even charged before a court martial and lost their opportunities in life,” Lacson said in a statement following Dormitorio's death.

“Even now that an anti-hazing law has been amended, after we investigated the hazing due to the death of Horacio 'Atio' Castillo, those possibly responsible for the death of 4 Cl Cadet Dormitorio are now surely regretting what they did. It is too late for them though and they will have to face the consequence of their indiscretions,” Lacson added.

Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 which completely prohibits hazing and imposes harsher penalties on organizers and participants of hazing.

Lacson expressed his sympathies to the family of Dormitorio, whose father is also a PMA graduate but also said he "pitied" those whose "misplaced enthusiasm" led to another unfortunate incident.

"While we sympathize with the family of the victim, the father of whom was my underclassman when I was a cadet myself many years ago, we pity those, probably out of misplaced enthusiasm are facing possible court martial proceedings on account of this yet another unfortunate incident," he said. – Rappler.com