Solon seeks review of PMA hazing death ruling
A House leader on Friday asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review and possibly reverse the decision of Baguio prosecutors to indict only two cadets and three military doctors and absolve their superiors in the hazing death of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Cadet Fourth Class Darwin Dormitorio last year.
“Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra should review and if possible reverse the findings of his Baguio prosecutors. The antihazing law clearly holds responsible those who could have prevented hazing activities but have not done so,” said Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez in a statement.
Rodriguez, chair of the House constitutional amendments committee, noted that the National Bureau of Investigation had found sufficient evidence to press charges against the former PMA superintendent, Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista, and former commandant, Brig. Gen. Vicente Bacarro. But the prosecutors dismissed the dereliction of duty charges against the two, who resigned after their investigation found the upperclassmen liable for Dormitorio’s death.
Rodriguez said Evangelista and Bacarro should not have been exonerated. He quoted NBI Regional Director Hector Eduardo Geologo as saying that the two officers “neither lifted a hand nor exerted efforts for these to be investigated and implement appropriate actions if warranted so as to prevent the propagation thereof.”
The 20-year-old Dormitorio “was found unconscious in his room and would later be pronounced dead on arrival at [PMA Station Hospital] at 5:15 a.m. on Sept. 18 last year,” according to the 66-page resolution issued by the city prosecutor’s office. Before he was taken to the hospital, the cadet had been vomiting and was confined to quarters after he was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection by PMA doctors. An autopsy indicated that he died of internal injuries.
The prosecutors found probable cause to charge Cadets Third Class Shalimar Imperial Jr. and Felix Lumbag Jr. for murder. The charges against Cadet First Class Axl Rey Sanopao and Cadets Third Class Rey Volante and John Vincent Manalo would no longer be pursued for “lack of probable cause.”
Three PMA doctors, who had been relieved from the academy, were equally liable for Dormitorio’s murder. The prosecutors said Capt. Flor Apostol, Maj. Ofelia Beloy and Lt. Col. Ceasar Candelaria, “grossly failed to provide [Dormitorio with] adequate medical care,” which was “patently and unmistakably indispensable in the resulting death of their patient.”
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