5 PMA cadets in hazing videos detained
MANILA, Philippine — Five of six Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadets who were caught on video beating up four plebes in 2017 and 2018 have been detained pending investigation into the maltreatment of their lowerclassmen, the PMA said in a statement on Wednesday.
The PMA spokesperson, Capt. Cheryl Tindog, issued the statement as an internal military report revealed that at least 27 cases of alleged maltreatment are being investigated by the academy.
The confidential report of the inspector general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said 52 cadets have been confined in connection with the 27 cases documented between Sept. 16 and 27.
The report, seen by Inquirer.net, said five of the detained cadets are women.
As of Sept. 27, 22 fourth class cadets, or plebes, were reported to have been confined in different hospitals for alleged maltreatment, the report added.
The PMA commandant of cadets, Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., confirmed ongoing investigations of other alleged hazing cases, most of them discovered only after the death of plebe Darwin Dormitorio.
Dormitorio died on Sept. 18 after alleged maltreatment by his upperclassmen, one of whom harbored a grudge against him over a pair of missing combat boots.
Seven senior cadets, two tactical officers and three military doctors have been charged in connection with Dormitorio’s death.
Those charged were PMA Cadets Shalimar Imperial, Felix Lumbag Jr., John Vincent Manalo, Julius Carlo Tadena, Rey David John Volante, Christian Zacarias and graduating Cadet Axl Rey Sanopao.
Also charged were tactical officers Maj. Rex Bolo and Cpt. Jeffrey Batistiana, and doctors Lt. Col. Cesar Candelaria, Cpt. Apple Apostol and Maj. Ofelia Beloy.
Tindog said “the videos circulating on social media involving our cadets were taken in 2017 and 2018” and were being used as “tools and bases for an impartial inquiry.”
“The offenses the [cadets] committed were not and never will be sanctioned or tolerated in the PMA,” she said.
In fact, Tindog pointed out, a sixth cadet who was involved in the hazing caught on video was discharged last year due to violations of the so-called honor code.
“Cases have been filed, drastic actions are being undertaken and reforms being instituted to rid the PMA of maltreatment. We fervently hope and pray that the PMA will be allowed to make good [on] our commitments,” Tindog said, who is not a PMA alumna.
She concluded: “The PMA is not a perfect organization [and has] in the ranks of the cadet corps misfits who need to be dealt with accordingly.”
The AFP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, meanwhile appealed to the public to stop spreading the hazing videos that brought the latest incident to public attention.
“No one benefits from it. Both the academy and the Dormitorio family have been severely battered with the stories that came out in the news,” said Arevalo, a member of PMA Class of 1990.
Arevalo, however, did not comment on the AFP inspector general’s investigation report. —With a report from Vincent Cabreza
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