By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang vowed that all those responsible for the death of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadet Darwin Dormitorio will be made accountable, saying the Palace will not condone hazing or any kind of illegal activities.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the statement after the Philippine National Police (PNP) confirmed that the 20-year-old Dormitorio complained of stomach pains when he was rushed to the hospital where he died.
Reports said the cadet had bruises on his stomach, which were considered indications of hazing.
In an interview, Nograles said that the law was clear about hazing and someone should be held responsible for the act.
“Kung totoo mang nagkaroon ng hazing diyan, very clear po sa batas ang magiging parusa (If this is true, then the law is clear about the punishment for hazing),” he said.
“Kung sino yung dapat managot, eh kailangang managot. So kahit sino pa man ‘yan, at hindi tayo, we do not condone itong mga illegal na gawain, yung mga unlawful activities, at ang (Whoever they are, they should be held responsible. We do not condone these illegal and unlawful activities and) hazing is one of those things that this administration does not condone,” he added.
Nograles then assured that President Duterte will “apply the law equally” especially since the crime happened inside the PMA.
“So kung ano man ang magiging investigation or outcome ng investigation at kung ito ba ay aakyat sa korte at mapo-prosecute (Whatever the result of the investigation will be, if it needs to reach the court and be prosecuted), then, it will have to go through the full process of the law,” he said.
In July last year, President Duterte signed into law a tougher the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018, which finally prohibits hazing and regulates other forms of initiation rites of fraternities, sororities and other organizations, in schools, including citizens’ military and army training; and penalizes violations.
Among the hazing acts mentioned in the new law are paddling, whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity.
The law also imposes a penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of P3 million upon those who participated in the hazing if the act results to death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation.
A penalty of reclusion temporal and a P1-million fine will be imposed on all those present during the hazing, and all those who will try to hide the fact that such activity happened, and those who will obstruct any investigation that will be conducted.
Read more: PMA cadet dies of hazing, police probe shows