PMA head steps down over cadet's hazing death

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2019 11:45 AM | Updated as of Sep 24 2019 10:59 PM

MANILA (4th UPDATE) - The head of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) has relinquished his post following the hazing death of cadet Darwin Dormitorio last week.

PMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista said he has tendered his resignation to Armed Forces chief of staff General Benjamin Madrigal Jr.

Brig. Gen Bartolome Bacarro also stepped down as commandant of cadets.

"In the military tradition of command responsibility, it is now the proper time for me as the head of institution together with the commander of cadets to relinquish our respective positions," he told reporters in Baguio City.

"I will do all that is left to be done while I wait for the official orders."

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it accepts the resignation of Evangelista and Bacarro. The selection and designation of their replacements are being prepared.

AFP also said it will not stop until justice has been given to the victims.

"We will not stop until cases are heard and verdicts are rendered against those who are guilty of the crime in varying degrees of liability and culpability and that justice has been rendered to the victims," AFP said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, meanwhile, said Evangelista will temporarily be placed in the office of the AFP Chief of Staff.

"He will be temporarily be placed at the office of the Chief of Staff while investigation on the hazing is ongoing," he said in a text message to ABS-CBN News.

Freshman cadet Dormitorio, 20, died Wednesday after complaining of stomach pain. He was hospitalized twice in the previous month and had bruises on his stomach consistent with hazing.

Dormitorio's death has sparked calls for Evangelista to resign and take command responsibility.

The premier military school earlier said it has fired officials with direct responsibility over the cadet's death.

On Tuesday, the PMA said it has relieved four cadets: 3rd class Shalimar Imperial, 3rd class Felix Lumbag, 1st class Axl Rey Sanupao, and 2nd class Nickoel Termil.

Lumbag and Imperial were allegedly directly involved in Dormitorio's death.

Two more cadets, 1st class Christian Correa and 1st class Elbert Lucas, were suspended for a year, while cadet 1st class Irvin Sayud was meted special confinement.

Col. Cesar Candelaria, commander of Fort del Pilar Station Hospital where Dormitorio died, was also fired.

The PMA has said it was also looking for signs of injury among its cadets after Dormitorio's death and 2 others were hospitalized due to suspected hazing.

--With reports from Micaella Ilao and Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News