2 PMA cadets, 3 doctors charged with murder in death of Dormitorio

The Baguio City Prosecutors Office found a basis to file murder charges against two Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadets involved in the death of Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio in 2019.

2 PMA cadets 3 doctors charged with murder in death of Dormitorio
Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio died of blunt-force trauma due to maltreatment he experienced while studying at PMA last year. (Image from Tempo)

PMA 3rd Class Cadets Shalimar Imperial and Felix Lumbag Jr. would be charged with murder as per the recommendation of a three-person panel of prosecutors in a 66-page resolution dated June 5.

The prosecutors also recommended filing charges for violating Section 14 (a) of the Republic Act 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Law against Imperial and Lumbag. They allegedly planned and participated in the cadet’s hazing that eventually killed Dormitorio.

Also read: PMA cadet who died of hazing experienced 24 hours of ‘hell’

Capt. Flor Apple Apostol, Maj. Ofelia Beloy and Lt. Colonel Ceasar from the PMA Station Hospital (PMASH) would also face murder charges for the death of Dormitorio, according to the resolution approved by Baguio Prosecutor Elmer Sagsago.

“The indispensable participation by the PMASH doctors is reckless imprudence – the spirit behind the result, which is the death, and the resulting death only operates to determine the penalty imposed on them,” the resolution states.

Dormitorio’s death “was not the result of a single criminal act, nor was it the product of two criminal acts, where one was necessary to commit the other,” the panel likewise said.

The panel of prosecutors, meanwhile, ruled that the other five PMA cadets who were allegedly involved in Dormitorio’s maltreatment committed offenses that were not part of the main complaints.

However, the prosecutors recommended PMA cadet Julius Tadena to face charges for violation of Section 14 (b) of the Anti-Hazing Law and serious physical injuries, while 2nd Class Cadet Christian Zacarias is recommended charged for slight physical injuries.

“The nature of the relationship between a plebe and his upperclassman plays a crucially important role. A plebe, whenever called by an upperclassman, is under strict obligation to comply with an order; he is in no position to question his upperclassman. Thus when the plebe is subjected to a katay, he is already in a position (where) he (could not) defend himself… much less question the propriety of the katay done to him,” the panel says.

Meanwhile, the complaints against 1st Class Cadet Rey Sanopao, 3rd Class Cadet Rey David John Volante, 3rd Class Cadet John Vincent Manalo, Maj. Rex Bolo and Capt. Jeffrey Batistiana was for lack of probable cause.

Charges against then PMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista and Brig. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro was also dismissed.