CHR to conduct separate probe into PMA cadet’s death

Michelle Soriano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2019 10:05 PM

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will launch a separate investigation into the death of cadet Darwin Dormitorio, a casualty of apparent hazing at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) barracks in Baguio City last week.

CHR-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) announced this as it condemned the killing of Dormitorio, referring to the act as a “brazen disregard of the right to life.”

“It is saddening that up to now, even after the passage of a stricter anti-hazing legislation, there are still those who adhere to barbaric, inhumane and illegal practices of initiation or discipline in some military training institution,” it said in a statement Thursday.

Due to the absence of a complainant, the CHR regional office said it will conduct a motu proprio investigation on the incident.

"Para rin makita natin na hindi magiging bias 'yung parang investigation. Hindi natin masasabi na alam ng buong institution (PMA) pero ang suspects sa pangyayari ay mga kasamahan niya (Dormitorio) sa akademiya,” said Atty. Rommel Daguimol, director of CHR-CAR.

(So we can be assured of an unbiased investigation. We can't say that the whole PMA institution knows the real story, but suspects in Dormitorio's killing were his colleagues in the academy.)

CHR investigators went to the PMA last week and sent a request letter on Monday to secure documents for their probe.

“Sinasabi nila (PMA) last time ay in the process ang request. Hindi pa raw sila allowed. Kasi siyempre nag-resign 'yung superintendent saka 'yung commandant [ng PMA]. Siguro 'pag meron nang naitalaga to act on our request for documents, makakakuha rin tayo,” Daguimol said.

(Officials said last time that our request was still being processed. They were still not allowed to give us documents since the superintendent and commandant of the PMA resigned. If there's an official who will act on our request, we will get a copy.)

Daguimol said the rights group was also assured by police it would be furnished a copy of Dormitorio’s autopsy and the case’s progress reports. The CHR also plans to speak with Dormitorio's family and two other cadets who were allegedly injured due to hazing.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia earlier denounced Dormitorio's death.

Dormitorio, of Cagayan de Oro, reportedly vomited and complained of stomach pain at the barracks at Fort del Pilar before he was sent to the hospital, where he died. Police said he had internal hemorrhage due to blows to his body.