MANILA – Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Tuesday appeared to concede that hazing is deeply embedded in the culture of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), saying the practice is present even in “civilian universities.”
“Just imagine, kung itong mga civilian universities mayroong hazing, mas more ang military academy. Imagine-in ninyo. Tine-train ang mga tao diyan para maging warriors,” Dela Rosa told reporters.
(Just imagine, hazing exists even in civilian universities, what more in the military academy? These men are being trained to become warriors.)
Dela Rosa again admitted he underwent hazing in the hands of upperclassmen during his stay at the premier military institution. He said he was once forced to gulp “patis” (fish sauce) and was subjected to many forms of physical attacks.
He refused to share more details for fear of being labeled as pro-hazing. Dela Rosa belongs to the PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986.
“You can attack us. You can vilify us. You can condemn us, but please do not condemn our alma mater. We love PMA so much,” he said.
The former police and corrections chief also said times have changed and PMA cadets must turn to other means of instilling discipline among their underclassmen.
Dela Rosa aired his view on hazing at the PMA in the wake of the death of freshman cadet Darwin Dormitorio allegedly due to hazing.
He said while Dormitorio’s death was “another case of shattered dreams,” his case was “isolated.”
Dormitorio’s alleged hazing death is the first such case in the PMA in 18 years.
Authorities have identified 3 suspects, 2 persons of interest, and 9 witnesses, all of whom are cadets.
PMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista resigned in the wake of Dormitorio’s death.
Hazing incidents and frat-related violence have been a periodic occurrence in the country's 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.