PMA identifies suspects in cadet's hazing death

BAGUIO, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) has identified the cadets and officials who were allegedly involved in the death by maltreatment of Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio last September 18. 

PMA Commandment of Cadets Brigadier General Bartolome Bacarro, who tendered his resignation together with Superintendent Lieutenant General Ronnie Evangelista that day, identified Cadets 3rd Class Shalimar Imperial and Felix Lumbag as Dormitorio’s superiors who were directly involved in his death. 

The PMA announced the sanctions after the academy completed its investigation into Dormitorio's death.

A total of 4 PMA cadets were ordered separated from service or expelled, led by Imperial and Lumbag. The two were detained at the PMA stockade but would be transferred to the Baguio City Jail if found guilty.  

Also separated from the service for "encouraging maltreatment" is Cadet 1st Class Axl Rey Sanupao.  

Separated from service for command responsibility is Dormitorio’s squad leader, Cadet 2nd Class Nikoel Termil. 

Dormitorio’s platoon leader Cadet 1st Class Christian Correa and Cadet 1st Class  Elbert Lucas were suspended, but could return after a year.

These cadets are all from the Echo company. 

Cadet 1st Class Irvin Sayod, as floor inspector, was given Class 1 punishment, which includes demerits and several hours of touring and confinement.

The officers relieved from service are Major Rex Bolo, Tactics Group senior tactical officer; and Captain Jeffrey Batistana, the tactical officer of the Echo Company.

Those relieved for purposes of investigation were Colonel Cesar Almar Candelaria, the commanding officer of the Philippine Military Station Hospital, and Captain Flor Apple Apostol, the attending physician.

The PMA vowed justice for Dormitorio, saying those responsible for his death will be meted punishment "to the full extent of the law."

The 20-year-old plebe from Cagayan de Oro City was found unconscious before dawn on September 18, and was rushed to the PMA Station Hospital where he was declared dead more than an hour later.

The PMA and the Philippine National Police said he died of hemorrhage as a result of "blunt force trauma" from hazing.

The incident has rocked the country's premier military school. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he has ordered a physical examination of all plebes "from head to foot" for any sign that they were subjected to hazing.

Before announcing his resignation, Evangelista said the academy would review policies, health care systems, and its training culture to ensure no other cadet would be "maltreated." with reports from JC Gotinga/Rappler.com

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story switched the names of Cadet 1st Class Christian Correa and Cadet 1st Class Irvin Sayod, based on information provided by the academy. PMA Commandment of Cadets Brigadier General Bartolome Bacarro informed the media Tuesday night, September 24, of the mistake he made. Correa was Dormitorio’s platoon leader, while Sayod was the floor inspector.