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Checks bare more horror

There are some who bore contusions, but do not need to be confined.

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Magnificent image of the academy gets mired in controversy.

Some classmates of alleged hazing abuse victim, the late Cadet Fourth Class Darwin Dormitorio, at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) bore contusions as revealed by the recently-concluded “stripping” of all plebes apparently to check if they went through a similar ordeal.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana ordered the procedure for the thorough physical check-up of all plebes following the death of Dormitorio last 18 September allegedly from initiation rites by his upperclassmen.

Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner, newly-installed Commandant of Cadets of the PMA, said as a result of the findings, some upperclassmen are now under investigation — separately from those involved in the death of Dormitorio.

“We found out that some have marks… I don’t want to be specific… We will have an investigation,” Brawner said.

Pressed how many plebes, he said, “There are some who bore contusions, but do not need to be confined.”

“That is why more upperclassmen are now facing investigation,” he added, without specifying the extent of the investigation and the number of those being probed.

Brawner, however, assured the families, particularly the parents of the fourth-class cadets, that the plebes are all okay.

Checks complete

“What we can say is that the medical examination of the plebes was completed. All of them are okay,” he said.

“I assure the parents that their children are okay. We’ll take care of them,” he added.

Brawner sought to downplay perception that hazing is rampant at the PMA.

“The impression that hazing is very rampant in the academy is a misnomer… It’s not rampant. It’s a wrong idea,” he stressed.

Currently, there are 399 plebes at PMA.

A member of the PMA Class of 1989, Brawner took over as commandant after Brig. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, of PMA Class of 1988, resigned in the aftermath of the Dormitorio case.

Erstwhile PMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista also vacated his post. He was succeeded by Rear Adm. Allan Cusi.

So far, seven upperclassmen have been implicated in the death of Dormitorio, a son of retired Army Col. William Dormitorio, who is a member of the PMA Class of 1974.

Feedback from victims

Apart from administrative charges, the upperclassmen would also be facing criminal charges for murder and violation of the Anti-Hazing Law.

He stressed that he met several times with the plebes and the upperclassmen since taking over last week to ensure that no more such cases will happen. He even declared a war against hazing at PMA.

“Our objective is to have zero hazing incident… I recognize that that is a very tough task, but it is doable if all of us aim for it,” Brawner said.

“I already talked with the cadets, and told them ‘this is our campaign now to wage a war against hazing. So, are you with me?’ and they said ‘Yes’,” he added.

Brawner also stressed he is authorizing all plebes to give a “feedback” when they are being harmed.

“If they (plebes) don’t want to fight back, I told them to report hazing against them within 12 hours to their squad leaders, company commanders or brigade commander or to the tactical officer.
So, there are so many avenues to report,” he added.

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