5 PMA cadets under probe

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    FIVE cadets of the Philippine Military Academy have been placed in a holding center in Fort Del Pilar, home to the PMA in Baguio City, to face investigation for involvement in hazing incidents in the past two years.

    Another cadet involved in the two incidents was discharged from the academy last year for violation of the PMA “honor code,” said PMA spokeswoman Capt. Cheryl Tindog.

    The honor code says cadets and PMA alumni “will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”

    Tindog declined to name the six cadets.

    Videos of the two incidents, which are circulating on social media, showed several PMA cadets being beaten by their fellow cadets in their quarters.

    Tindog said the videos were taken in 2017 and 2018.

    “However, the offenses they committed were not and never will be sanctioned or tolerated in PMA,” Tindog also said.

    She said the five were confined at the PMA holding center on Monday “for an immediate investigation utilizing the videos as tools and bases for an impartial inquiry.”

    One of the five is a first class cadet, meaning he is supposed to graduate from the academy next year. The four others, she said, are second class cadets.

    On the discharged cadet, Tindog said the PMA no longer has administrative jurisdiction over him but he may be charged before a civilian court by the victims.

    On the hazing victims, Tindog said the PMA has identified the four. Two cadet-victims were involved in each incident.

    The hazing cases were uncovered more than a month after the September 18 death of Cadet Fourth Class Darwin Dormitorio, who died of hazing. Four other cadets are still recovering in military and private hospitals due to the hazing last month.

    Seven PMA cadets and five military officers are facing criminal charges in civilian courts over the Dormitorio case. The military said the cadets involved are also going to be tried by a military tribunal for violation of the Articles of War.

    AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said, “Much as we mourn his death, we maintain that these cases do not represent the entire PMA training. And maltreatment is neither sanctioned nor tolerated in PMA.”

    Arevalo also said the PMA leadership has taken “stringent measures and implemented drastic measures” in its “serious and sincere” drive to rid the academy of maltreatment or hazing.

    Arevalo assured Dormitorio’s family and the media that the military will not renege on its commitment to rid the academy of maltreatment.