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Highest ranking PMA cadet resigns over Dormitorio tragedy

  • Cadet 1st Class Ram Michael Navarro, the class baron of PMA Masidlawan class of 2020 resigned his post over the death of 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio
  • He cited command responsibility for his decision, calling the tragedy “an insult to the sanctity of humanity”
  • Meanwhile, Dexter Dormitorio, Darwin’s older brother, filed a complaint against the 7 alleged suspects in Dormitorio’s death

BAGUIO, Philippines – The highest-ranking cadet of Philippine Military Academy resigned from his post on Wednesday, Oct. 9, after the death of 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio.

According to reports, Cadet 1st Class Ram Michael Navarro, the brigade commander of the cadet corps, or the class baron of PMA Masidlawan class of 2020, cited command responsibility for his decision. 

A few days after Dormitorio’s death, Navarro issued a manifesto condemning the incident, calling it “an insult to the sanctity of humanity as an untoward act that destroys the core values that bind us together as brothers and sisters.”

He will be replaced by Cadet 1st Class Marion Dale Cordova as the PMA baron. 

Darwin Dormitorio died on Sept 18, after suffering from stomach pain and vomiting. After a rigorous investigation, it was showed that his cause of death was due to “blunt force trauma.”

Previously, the head of the Philippine Military Academy has also relinquished his post following the hazing death of Dormitorio.

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

“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.”


Meanwhile, Dexter Dormitorio filed criminal complaints against 7 suspects in the death of his younger brother on Tuesday, Oct. 8. 

The late cadet’s brother, Dexter Dormitorio files charges in Baguio. <I>Photo: ABS-CBN News</I>

via ABS-CBN News

He was accompanied by his legal counsel John Adrian Bonifacio and Baguio City Police Office chief Allen Ray Co. According to reports, Dexter Dormitorio literally waited for the last minute to file a 34-page complaint, crossing the street from the Baguio City Police Office to the Baguio Justice Hall to meet up with fiscal Edwin Bayan Sagsago at 5 PM.

“I would like to tell my brother, this is just Part I of the battle. We will not stop hanggang hindi napapanagot ang lahat [until every single one is made to account],” Dormitorio said. “This is what our family wanted: an airtight case.

He accused the following PMA cadets of violation of the anti-hazing law, of torture, and of murder:

  • Felix M. Lumbag Jr
  • John Vincent Manalo
  • Julius Carlo Tadena
  • Rey David John Volante
  • Cadet Third Class Shalimar Imperial
  • Cadet Second Class Christian Zacarias
  • Cadet First Class Axl Ret Sanopao

Dexter Dormitorio also tagged Darwin’s tactical officers as accomplices in the 3 cases. Their liabilities are said to be more of omission, according to Bonifacio. 

  • Major Rex Bolo, Tactics Group senior tactical officer
  • Captain Jeffrey Batistana, the tactical officer of the Echo Company

He also filed a dereliction of duty complaint against 3 doctors from the PMA Station Hospital:

  • Colonel Cesar Almar Candelaria, the commanding officer of the Philippine Military Station Hospital
  • Captain Flor Apple Apostol
  • Major Ofelia Beloy

In an earlier report by the Rappler, Dormitorio said that they did not expect the tragedy that happened to their youngest brother at the Philippine Military Academy, saying they “though he was secure there.”

Bonifacio also admitted that the case is complicated, saying that filing a case against those involved in this incident is more than seeking justice for Darwin. 

“We do want to seek justice for my brother. But we also want to preserve the reputation of the institution. We want to repair the reputation [after] this incident, especially that my father (Retired Colonel Wilfredo Dormitorio) loves his alma mater and taught its values to his children,” he said.

“This is for the kids who want to join the academy and other institutions in the future,” Dexter added. -Rappler/ABS CBN

Featured image: via Mau Victa/Rappler

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