MANILA (UPDATE) — Police said on Friday it has identified a sixth cadet allegedly involved in the suspected hazing that killed a student at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) last week has been identified.
PMA Cadet Darwin Dormitorio, 20, died last Sep. 18 after complaining of stomach pain. He had bruises on his stomach consistent with hazing, initial reports said.
"May lumabas na naman ulit na 2nd class cadet na involved allegedly sa maltreatment na nangyari kay Cadet 4th Class Dormitorio," said Cordillera police chief Brig. Gen. Israel Ephraim Dickson.
"Isa siya sa mga last touch bago dalhin sa ospital [si Dormitorio]. Sa katawan, parang nag-inflict din siya ng damage," he added.
(There is another 2nd class cadet who appeared to be involved allegedly in the maltreatment of Cadet 4th Class Dormitorio. He was one of the last cadets to touch Dormitorio before he was brought to the hospital. He appeared to have inflicted damage on the victim's body.)
The sixth cadet allegedly punished Dormitorio for lying on a bed that was not his own, after he was punished by other upperclassmen for allegedly losing a pair of combat boots, said Baguio City police chief Col. Allen Rae Co.
"Initially, ang lumalabas doon ay pinapatayo niya, e dahil nga masama na ang pakiramdam ni Cadet Dormitorio e hindi makatayo... Allegedly pinagsisipa po niya," he said.
(It appears that the sixth cadet asked Dormitorio to get up, but he couldn't because he was already feeling unwell. The upperclassman allegedly kicked him repeatedly.)
The sixth cadet has been placed in PMA's isolation area, said Dickson.
Investigators have found 2 more witnesses, bringing the total number to 16, including 14 cadets and 2 PMA staff.
The police is coordinating with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which earlier condemned the hazing incident.
Despite the passage of a stronger anti-hazing law, hazing incidents and frat-related violence in the country’s premier military training institution and in some law schools continue. Some incidents 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.
-- With a report from Michelle Soriano, ABS-CBN News