CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Relatives of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadet who recently died from hazing are calling on legislators to review the country’s Anti-Hazing Law.
“The Anti-Hazing Law has long been implemented, but I don’t think it has been fully implemented. If it was, [Dormitorio’s death] should not have happened,” Omaradji Pizarro, mayor of Kalilangan town in Bukidnon, said at the wake of his nephew, Fourth-Class Cadet Darwin Dormitorio, in Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes on Saturday (Sept.21).
Dormitorio, who sustained “blunt force trauma”, died on Sept. 18. The initial findings of the case of his death, according to the PMA’s progress report, was cardiac arrest secondary to internal hemorrhage. Later, the PMA confirmed that his autopsy showed he died of hazing.
“It’s not good to know that cadets who are willing to serve our country die during their training,” Pizarro lamented.
The law should have the needed teeth, he said, to prevent another death.
The Anti-Hazing Act of 1995 (Republic Act No. 8049) regulates the act of hazing and other forms of initiation rites in fraternities, sororities, and other organizations in the Philippines. It prohibits and penalizes physical harm and violence in such practices.
However, since it’s enactment, at least 15 people reportedly died allegedly of hazing but only one conviction.
In 2017, Horacio Castillo III, a freshman UST law student, died from injuries he sustained in an alleged hazing by Aegis Juris Fraternity members.
Following this incident, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 (Republic Act 11053) in June last year. The Act bans all forms of hazing in the country.
Dormitorio became the first casualty of hazing since Duterte signed the Act.
Eradicate culture of hazing
Any move that would totally eradicate the culture of hazing at the PMA, Pizarro said, would be welcomed by the victim’s family.
Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez on Friday said he filed a House resolution calling for a congressional investigation into Dormitorio’s death.
“We hope this would be the start of reforms in the PMA, albeit, at the expense of Mr. Darwin Dormitorio,” he said.
He said the PMA must do away with the cycle of cruelty and violence being perpetrated by upperclassmen to the plebes.
“We are creating leaders, and if they are trained to be cruel, they will become cruel leaders someday,” Pizarro said. They want to know, he added, “why these upperclassmen are so sadistic, barbaric, very cruel, when in fact, they (cadets) will soon be their comrades.”
Meanwhile, the victim’s father, Retired Col. William Dormitorio, a member of the PMA Marangal Class of 1974 and was affiliated with the Reform the Armed Forces Movement, has already approached some former military officials who are now holding key positions in the government.
Pizzaro said that the older Dormitorio talked with the Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and the DILG Secretary Eduardo Año for their possible help in solving the case of his son, Darwin. (davaotoday.com)