Baguio students light candles on 40th day of Dormitorio death
BAGUIO CITY — Students at different Baguio universities lit candles for Cadet Fourth Class Darwin Dormitorio on the 40th day of his death from hazing at the Philippine Military Academy on Monday, Oct. 28, a Christian tradition of remembering the dead after 40 days, the amount of time that Jesus was believed to have spent on Earth after his resurrection and before ascending to Heaven.
Dormitorio died at the Fort del Pilar Station Hospital on Sept. 18 and a police autopsy showed he suffered internal bleeding caused by beatings allegedly inflicted on him by upper classmen at the academy since August.
Seven upperclass cadets had been charged with hazing, murder and torture by the Baguio City police and Dormitorio’s family.
The students gathered at the gates of the Philippine Military Academy to offer prayers for the cadet, and to express their outrage against hazing and other forms of physical abuse inside the military school.
The students reached out to Dormitorio’s brother on Sunday, Oct. 27, to inform the family about their ceremony, said Nico Ponce, student council chair of the University of the Philippines Baguio. They regrouped at Malcolm Square in downtown Baguio to continue the program.
The cadet’s family is holding their own 40th-day commemoration in Mindanao, Ponce said.
He said all student organizations that commiserate with Dormitorio’s family had denounced hazing in other institutions, even their own schools.
Should it become necessary, the students would also gather and join the cadet’s family during trial of the suspects.
The complaint against the senior cadets was being reviewed by the Office of the Baguio Prosecutor. Five PMA officers, three of them doctors who failed to treat Dormitorio’s internal injuries, were also charged with dereliction of duty.
Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista resigned as PMA superintendent along with Brig. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro, commandant of cadets, for command responsibility.
Bacarro’s successor, Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner, said officials planned to replace bad practices in cadet military culture, like hazing, with “good traditions.”
The Corps of Cadets brigade commander, Cadet First Class Ram Navarro, also resigned his post, after he and all of the class presidents condemned hazing./TSB
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