MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday said the indictment of two former cadets and three officials of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) for murder and hazing charges is a welcome development in the pursuit of justice for slain Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio.
“The AFP looks at this development with optimism that the wheels of justice grind for all of those involved in the case,” AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a press statement.
He added that the AFP is committed to assist in the dispensation of justice for those all concerned, including the victim’s parents and active and retired members of the PMA community.
“We will provide what assistance that the courts will require for the trial. Separate and distinct from the prosecution of the cases in a civil court, the AFP has instituted the filing of cases against six cadets for violation of Article of War 97 Conduct Prejudicial to Good Order and Military Discipline,” he added.
Arevalo said the PMA has also implemented measures to stop maltreatment of cadets.
“Segregation of cadets by class by building is one of them,” he added.
In a resolution dated June 5, the Baguio City Prosecutor’s’ Office ordered the filing of charges of murder and hazing against former cadets Shalimar Imperal Jr., and Felix Lumbag Jr., and PMA doctors Capt. Flor Apple Apostol, Maj. Maria Ofelia Beloy and Lt. Col. Caesar Candelaria.
Imperial and Lumbag, then third-class cadets, first assaulted Dormitorio in August 2019. Despite numerous visits to the hospital and orders to stay away from Dormitorio, subsequent incidents occurred until Dormitorio died of injuries on September 19.
Meanwhile, Apostol, Candelaria, and Beloy, medical doctors assigned at the Fort del Pilar Station Medical Hospital who treated the victim were charged after prosecutors said they “grossly failed to provide adequate medical care to Dormitorio, which also caused the latter’s death.”
Cadet 3rd Class (3CL) Julius Carlo Tadena was also charged with hazing and less serious physical injuries while Christian Zacarias, a second-class cadet, was indicted for slight physical injuries.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, dismissed the charges against former PMA superintendent, Lt. Ronnie Evangelista and commandant of cadets, Brig. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, Maj. Rex Bolo, Capt. Jeffrey Batistiana and three other cadets for lack of probable cause. (PNA)