CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Amid the controversy surrounding the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) involving upperclassmen and officials allegedly involved in the maltreatment through hazing of students, PMA cadet 4th class Darwin Dormitorio was finally laid to rest at a posh cemetery in Barangay Lumbia here Wednesday morning.
Although Dormitorio was just on his first year at the academy, he was given military honors during his burial.
Soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division served as his pall bearers, while other troopers gave him a 21-gun salute as his casket was being lowered to the ground.
Dormitorio was supposed to be cremated, but the family changed their minds because of his girlfriend Ashely Ravidas’ request to see his body one last time.
According to Dormitorio’s brother Dexter, Ravidas messaged him asking to see the fallen cadet before he is buried.
“The initial plan was to cremate him because we could not bear looking at him with all the pain that he had gone through. But the family’s decision changed because of Ashely,” Dexter said.
Dexter described his brother as the family’s “lucky charm,” saying things got better for the Dormitorios when Darwin came into their life.
On his death by hazing, Dexter said: “You won because they were not able to break you. They were not able to take your dignity from you. You died fighting.”
For her part, Ravidas said she and Dormitorio were opposites, as they don’t share the same tastes in a lot of things, but she said he was the type who never gives up.
“One time she told me, just wait, bae, when I become a soldier I will change the Philippines,” she told friends and family members.
Ravidas recalled that Dormitorio wanted them to get married once he graduated from the PMA, but she countered that she has still plans on enrolling and finishing Medicine first before they tie the knot.
“He told me, ‘Don’t become a doctor. You will then be 30 by the time you graduate. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you,’” she added.
Jane Año, the wife of Department of the Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año, during his message, said “there will be no whitewash, no sacred cows. That’s what my husband told me.” Año’s wife is said to be related to the Dormitorios.
“We all care for the plebes. We care for the institution, but we don’t want maltreatment (at the PMA),” she said.
For his part, Omaradji Pizarro, mayor of Kalilangan town, Bukidnon and uncle-in-law of the deceased cadet, said that as the incoming president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines in Bukidnon, he will file a resolution asking Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to order the PMA officials to strictly enforce the Anti-Hazing Law. (davaotoday.com)