By Ben Rosario
Lawmakers, including one of the principal authors of the amended Anti-Hazing Law, yesterday called for the conduct of random and surprise medical and physical check up of plebes and trainees of military and police institutions to help end hazing activities.
At yesterday’s Partylist Forum, House Deputy Majority Leader Bernadette Herrera (Bagong Henerasyon Partylist) and Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay (DIWA Partylist) agreed that serious injuries and death, as in the case of Philippine Military Academy Cadet Darwin Dormitorio, could have been prevented had it not for the strict ”code of silence” that cadets and trainees are asked to observed.
“Yes, a random and surprise medical check up on plebes at the PMA and PNPA (Philippine National Police Academy) can be an effective means of stopping hazing,” said Herrera.
Herrera, one of the principal authors of the amended Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law, also asked the Department of National Defense to enumerate the physical, psychological and mental methods of training would-be military officers that should be exempted from the provisions of the anti-hazing law.
She said there are “extraordinary” training methods that the law does not define as form of hazing.
“Baka ito ang nagiging excuse nila. Now we will have to mandate the Department of National Defense to enumerate which of these methods of training are allowable,” Herrera stated. (Maybe this is their excuse.)
The Lower House official also urged military and police authorities to allow the mandatory conduct of unannounced physical and medical examination that will determine whether or not trainees have been subjected to unacceptable physical penalties and hazing.
Further, she challenged the Philippine Medical Association to impose disciplinary action against its members who were found to have allowed themselves to be used in covering up hazing activities at the Philippine Military Academy.
For his part, Aglipay said a third party should be tapped to conduct the surprise medical examination on cadets of the PMA and the PNPA.
“Dapat magkaroon nga nga unannounced medical examination pero dapat third party ang magsagawa,” said Aglipay, son of former PNP special action force chief Director (retired) Edgar Aglipay.
The neophyte lawmaker said that although his father and other PMA graduates had indeed been subjected to physical punishments that resulted to injuries, they are one in supporting government’s bid to put an end to hazing.
ON September 18, Dormitorio succumbed to multiple organ failure due to the physical injuries inflicted on him by senior PMA cadets. Two other plebes were hospitalized for similar injuries.