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Rufus asks DoJ review of Dormitorio case

Keith A. Calayag

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Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez has urged the Department of Justice (DoJ) to review the dismissal of charges against two former officials of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) allegedly involved in the hazing death of cadet Darwin Dormitorio in September 2019.

The Baguio City Prosecutor’s Office has found probable cause to indict seven suspects. But it cleared seven others, including former PMA superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista and former commandant of the cadet corps Brig. Gen. Vicente Bacarro of charges of dereliction of duty and violation of the anti-hazing law and anti-torture law.

“Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra should review and, if possible, reverse the findings of his Baguio prosecutors,” Rodriguez said.

“The Anti-Hazing Law clearly holds responsible those who could have prevented hazing activities but have not done so,” added the former law school Dean.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), filed charges against the two for their alleged failure to take action to prevent the maltreatment of Dormitorio despite complaints which have reached them.

“We will not be able to stop hazing in this country if we set free the highest officials of educational institutions in spite of their clear complicity in the hazing such as having known of the hazing but do not prevent or stop it!” Rodriguez said.

Aside from Evangelista and Bacarro, the prosecutors also dismissed for lack of probable cause the murder, hazing and other charges filed against Cadet First Class Cadet Axl Rey Sanopao, Cadet Third Class Rey David John Volante, Cadet Third Class John Vincent Manalo, Major Rex Bolo, and Captain Jeffrey Batistiana.

Meanwhile, indicted were PMA cadets Shalimar Imperial and Felix Lumbag Jr. and PMA Station Hospital doctors Captain Flor Apple Apostol, Major Maria Ofelia Beloy and Lieutenant Colonel Ceasar Candelaria for murder.

The prosecutors also indicted Imperial and Lumbag for violating the Anti-Hazing law along with Cadet Third Class Julius Carlo Tadena, who was also charged for inflicting less serious injuries together with Cadet Second Class Christian Zacarias.

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