MANILA (UPDATE) – A Philippine Military Academy cadet who died inside his barracks at Fort Del Pilar in Baguio City last Wednesday was a victim of hazing, the Philippine National Police confirmed Friday.
Officials said Darwin Dormitorio, 20, complained of stomach pain and was immediately brought to the hospital for treatment where he died.
Dormitorio had bruises on his stomach, a possible sign of hazing, according to the Baguio City police office.
There are three “persons of interest” in Dormitorio’s death, the police said, adding at least 20 individuals witnessed the hazing incident.
PMA superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista said two 3rd Class cadets and one 1st Class cadet were being investigated over Dormitorio’s death.
The PMA Hospital will also be investigated after an investigation found it diagnosed Dormitorio with a mere urinary tract infection a day before he died.
Hazing incidents and frat-related violence have been plaguing the country’s premier military training institution and other law schools, some of which resulted in deaths.
President Rodrigo Duterte last year signed a stronger anti-hazing law, in response to the hazing death of University of Santo Tomas law freshman Horacio Castillo III.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a PMA alumnus, lamented Dormitorio's death, saying people who engage in hazing never seemed to learn from past incidents.
“Those possibly responsible for the death of 4 Cl Cadet Dormitorio are now surely regretting what they did. It is too late for them though and they will have to face the consequence of their indiscretions,” Lacson said in a statement.
“While we sympathize with the family of the victim, the father of whom was my underclassman when I was a cadet myself many years ago, we pity those, probably out of misplaced enthusiasm, [who] are facing possible court martial proceedings on account of this yet another unfortunate incident.” - reports from Micaella Ilao and Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News