Death of Darwin Dormitorio
Facade of Philippine Military Academy (PMA)
|Date||September 18, 2019|
|Venue||Philippine Military Academy|
|Burial||September 25, 2019|
Darwin Dioso Dormitorio (May 6, 1999 – September 18, 2019) died as the result of hazing at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Baguio, Benguet, Philippines. He was laid to rest on September 25, 2019 in his hometown of Cagayan de Oro and was given full military honors. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), along with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), have already started an investigation on Dormitorio's death. The House of Representatives is also planning to conduct a congressional inquiry on this incident.
Cadet 4th class Dormitorio, who would have been a member of PMA Class 2023, was a 20-year old plebe of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), the military school of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). His father, retired Army Col. William Dormitorio, is a graduate of PMA Marangal Class of 1974. Dormitorio was the youngest of the three children and his parents described him as "very kind" and "just quiet."
Initial reports indicated that he died from continuous vomiting after complaining of stomach pain while in his barracks in Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City, but subsequent reports revealed that he was found unconscious around 3:40 AM of September 17, 2019 by an upperclassman at Room 209 of the PMA's Mayo Hall Annex. He was still rushed to the Fort del Pilar Hospital in Baguio City but was declared dead on arrival at around 5:15 AM. According to the PMA report, his cause of death was "blunt force trauma".
In a yellow pad paper, he wrote a letter in late August 2019 telling his parents that he was confined in the hospital but was doing okay as he was adjusting to life in the PMA. The letter was circulated on social media. He told them that they can visit him but if they weren't available, a visit from his brother or sister would be fine. He asked his parents for an extra money to purchase for uniforms and should his brother or sister visit him, to bring him pizza and doughnut. He also told his family that he missed them and Brando, their Doberman pet. He gave the letter to a cadet's mother so that it could reach to his parents. Upon getting hold of the letter, it prompted his brother Dexter to visit him in the hospital on August 25, 2019.
He also wrote a report of the incident that happened on the night of August 21, 2019 detailing the punishment he got from Imperial and Lumbag after spending half of his allowance. This was taken as an offense by the upperclassmen cadets and as a result, he was made to perform "pumping exercises" and "bridge under bunks", one of which resulted to the punching of his ribs by Lumbag after he fell to the floor several times.
On September 17, 2019, he was sent back to the hospital where he was diagnosed with urinary tract infection and was later discharged the same day. According to Col. Allen Rae Co, chief of Baguio Police Provincial Office, the victim was beaten up by the 3 suspects for losing Sanupao's boots. Sanupao then ordered Imperial and Lumbag to "punish" the victim for not being able to find his boots. Later that evening, he was allegedly maltreated by the 2 new suspects in the evening of September 17, 2019 by electrocuting his genitals using a taser flashlight.
On September 26, 2019, the police have identified but refused to withheld the names of 2 more PMA upperclassmen as additional suspects in Dormitorio's death, joining the 3 other suspects earlier identified as Cadet 1st Class Axl Rey Sanopao and Cadets 3rd Class Shalimar Imperial and Felix Lumbag. The police are expected to file a case against the suspects for violating Republic Act 1105 or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 and murder as it has been established that they have planned to harm the victim since August 19, 2019.
A 2nd Class cadet was also added to the list of suspects on September 27, 2019, and another cadet was added on September 29, bring the total to seven. The said suspect, which was also not identified, was the one who kicked the victim prior to his hospital confirmed on September 1, 2019.
During a press briefing on September 23, 2019, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that President Rodrigo Duterte was "angry" about the hazing incident just a year after he signed into law the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 and vowed to deliver justice for the victim.
In a statement, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) called for the "total elimination" of hazing "in all schools and non-school-based organisations, including in military and army trainings" as it "curtails the right to life of individuals particularly the youth." Its regional office in Cordillera Administrative Region will conduct their own investigation on this incident.
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has also ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to be "transparent and not withhold information or whitewash" in investigating the hazing incident that led to the victim's death.
Police and armed forces
As a result of the incident, AFP Chief Lt. Gen. Noel Clement has ordered the armed forces' Inspector General to conduct a probe on the incident to formulate changes in the PMA and requested all PMA cadets to join an orientation "to change their mindset, specifically in all their activities and dealings inside the academy". PMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista and commandant of the Corps of Cadets Brig. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro have already tendered their resignation as a matter of "command responsibility". Evangelista was replaced by Rear Admiral Allan Cusi while Bacarro's replacement was Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner, the former commander of the Marawi-based 103rd Brigade. Meanwhile, Vice Col. Cesar Candelaria and Capt. Flor Apple Apostol, who were from the PMA station hospital where the victim was rushed, were also replaced by Lt. Col. Nerio Zabala as officer-in-charge.
Social media and public
In a tweet, Dormitorio's girlfiend Ashley Ravidas honored him by posing with his framed picture. "It's not easy loving a soldier, loving you has a high price to pay. I know my Cadet is watching over me, guiding me always. Continue serving up there, do what you love the most," she tweeted. The hashtag #JusticeForDarwin has been used by netizens on sharing their thoughts about the incident and hazing as a "form of discipline" with some slammed Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa for "ignoring" anti-hazing laws.
The parents of Horacio Castillo III, the 22-year old freshman from University of Santo Tomas (UST) who died of hazing on September 17, 2017, urged legislators in Congress to amend the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018, the law that was crafted in response to Castillo's death, by defining hazing as a "heinous crime" hoping that it would "deter" those who plan to disregard the said law.
Mayor Omaradji Pizarro of Kalilangan, Bukidnon, who is Domitorio's uncle, has called on legislators in Congress to review the implementation of the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 which prohibits and penalizes hazing and regulating other forms of initiation rites of fraternities, sororities, and other organizations. Similarly, Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez filed a resolution to investigate Dormitorio's death in the Congress.
Several senators have also reacted to the incident. Panfilo Lacson, a member of PMA Class 1971, has dismissed the conduct an inquiry into the incident saying that the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 was "very clear" and that the incident was " a clear violation of the anti-hazing law as amended." Ralph Recto called on the PMA to "relentlessly pursue" in delivering justice to the victim while emphasizing that PMA cadets as "people's investments" since producing one PMA graduate is about PHP 2.982 million. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa lamented the resignation of Evangelista as head of PMA calling him a "good officer whose career was wasted because of that very unfortunate incident." Former Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano described Dormitorio's death an "isolated incident".
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- 'You're the kindest': PMA cadet na namatay sa hazing inalala ng pamilya, kaibigan | TV Patrol. 0:38-. Pero ang hinanakit ng mga magulang ni Darwin, hindi pinagbigay-alam sa kanila ang PMA ang lagay ng kadete. (...) Naghain na ng resolution si Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez para maimbestigahan na sa Kongreso ang pagkamatay ni Dormitorio.
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