CHR to hold own probe of PNPA cadet’s death
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday said it would be conducting an independent investigation of the death of a young cadet at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) after allegedly being punched several times to the gut by an upperclassman.
In a statement, Jacqueline de Guia, spokesperson for the CHR, condemned the alleged hazing of 3rd Class George Karl Magsayo from Pagadian City, who was found dead in the dormitory room at Camp Castañeda.
“It is strongly condemnable that another tragic death happened due to violence within an institution where young people are supposed to build their dreams, acquire skills and develop their character,” De Guia said.
Initial police reports say Magsayo and a companion went to the room of the suspect, identified as Cadet 2nd Class Ceasar Steven Maingat, 23, at 5:40 p.m., on Sept. 23.
Maingat then punched Magsayo five times in the abdomen. Police have yet to disclose why Magsayo was attacked by his upperclassman.
Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of the PNP, said they were looking into the possibility that Magsayo was hazed to death.
The CHR’s regional office in Calabarzon is also investigating whether the PNP has put in place preventive measures to protect young cadets from suffering the same fate.
It also welcomed Eleazar’s order to review and to investigate the academy’s regulations and policies to prevent violence among cadets.
Academy’s head axed
On Monday, Eleazar replaced Police Maj. Gen. Rhoderick Armamento as the head of the police academy and tapped Police Maj. Gen. Alex Sampaga as the new director pending a policy review.
Armamento will take over Sampaga’s previous post of PNP directorate for information and communications technology management chief.
On Sunday, the PNP chief ordered a review and assessment of the PNPA rules, regulations and policies to prevent future incidents where cadets are harmed by their peers.
Eleazar had said that he wanted the “culture of violence” eradicated in the PNPA.
The PNP chief had visited Magsayo’s wake and spoke to his mother who said her son had always dreamed of becoming a police officer.
“I am disheartened that the very institution (PNPA), which he considered as a second home and fully trusted for protection, for learning, and for honing of skills to be an officer of the law in the future had failed him,” Eleazar said in his statement on Monday.
The PNP chief pointed out that Maingat is in the custody of the Silang town police and would be charged with violating the antihazing law.
Eleazar said, “This is separate from the administrative cases that would be filed against him, which I assure to be the grounds for his dismissal from the academy.”
The recurring incidents of hazing at the PNPA should not be deemed as “isolated,” said Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun.
Fortun also urged the National Bureau of Investigation and the National Police Commission to probe the death of Magsayo last week.
“Recurring incidents of hazing, homicide and assault at the PNPA are not isolated. Zero incidents and 100 percent safety record are the proper institutional targets,” Fortun said.
He cited the death of PNPA cadet John Desiderio in 2019, for which four PNPA cadets were charged with violating the antihazing law.
The PNP then deemed the case as an isolated incident.
Fortun called on the NBI to make the “necessary intervention” and conduct a “comprehensive, fair and impartial investigation” of Magsayo’s death.
“The NBI must secure the crime scene and interview cadets and officials, the sooner the better. Because each day that passes can mean loss of evidence,” he said.
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