NBI, CHED must look into PMMA cadet’s death, says Agusan del Norte lawmaker

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 08 2021 02:22 AM

MANILA—Agusan del Norte 1st District Rep. Lawrence Fortun called on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to intervene in the investigation on the death of Philippine Merchant Marine Academy Cadet 4th Class Jonash Bondoc Tuesday.

In a statement, Fortun called Bondoc's death "another reprehensible waste of life". 

He added that authorities must "determine the reasons why and how these cruel hazing activities still persist to this date."

"While it is consoling that a suspect in the killing of Cadet 4CL Bondoc has been arrested, the investigation should not stop there. This should not be case closed simply because one suspect has been identified and apprehended," the lawmaker said. 

Fortun added that he has contacted the family of Bondoc, who hailed from Butuan City. 

"They want not only justice for him, but a review and reform of the system at the academy to ensure that other cadets will not suffer the same fate in the hands abusive upper class cadets and neglectful school officials," he said.

"I ask the National Bureau of Investigation to lead the independent investigation. The CHED should also investigate the policies and practices inside the Academy and determine the reasons why and how these cruel hazing activities still persist to this date."

For Fortun, "important reforms" must be carried out to stop a similar incident from occurring. 

"This is not the first time. It has been happening and can happen again unless important reforms and concrete measures are pursued to address the issues. These have to be done now. And all of these can start now with a thorough, impartial and comprehensive investigation on the death of Cadet 4CL Bondoc and the policies and practices of the academy," he said.

"It is sad that we lost such a promising future merchant marine officer, but let not the death Cadet 4CL be in vain. This should open the gates to ferreting out the truth, bringing justice, penalizing the culprits and negligent responsible officials, and introducing the needed genuine reforms to the academy."

The PMMA on Tuesday said Bondoc was found lifeless inside a comfort room of the Alpha Company Barracks at its campus in Zambales. He was later declared dead on arrival at the hospital.

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