Darwin Dioso Dormitorio died as the result of hazing at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Baguio, Benguet, Philippines. He was laid to rest on Sept. 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.
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 A.M. 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”.
On September 26, 2019, the police have identified but refused to withheld the names of 2 or more PMA upperclassmen as additional suspects in Dormitorio’s death, joining the 3 other suspects earlier identified as Cadet 1st Class Axl Rey Sanupao 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 nonschool- based organizations, including in military and army trainings” as it “curtails the right to life for individuals particularly the youth.
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. Gem. Ronnie Evangelista and commandant of the Corps of Cadets Brig. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarrro 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 Marawibased 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. On September 28, PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde condemned the hazing incident, calling it “affront” to what the institution stands for.
On February 13, 1978, a fourth class cadet named Manuel Salas of “Dimalupig” Class of 1981 was killed after upperclassmen dropped heavy metal balls on his stomach.
Taser flashlight used to pump electricity into the private parts of Dormitorio. Describing Dormitorio’s death as ‘hell’, police are planning to file a murder case against six cadet suspects behind the fatal hazing of Dormitorio. That the Taser flashlight use in electrocuting Dormitorio belonged to one of the four, third class cadet suspects. And now the six suspects are now under the custody of the PMA.
Hazing is illegal and barbaric. It cannot be waived for it is a public crime.