Two Cadets Convicted for Slight Physical Injuries Over Death of ex-PMA Cadet Dormitorio

BAGUIO CITY – A Baguio court has convicted two cadets of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) for slight physical injuries over the death of ex-PMA cadet Darwin Dormitorio in 2019, his family said on Monday.

Julius Carlo Tadena and Christian Zacarias were sentenced to 30 days of imprisonment by Judge Maria Ligaya Itliong-Rivera of the Baguio Regional Trial Court Branch 5, according to Dormitorio’s brother, Dexter.

The court also acquitted three doctors of the PMA Station Hospital of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, namely Lt. Col. Cesar Candelaria, Maj. Ofelia Beloy and Capt. Flor Apple Apostol.

The Dormitorio family expressed disappointment over the verdict, saying that it was a “slap on the wrist” for the perpetrators and a “slap on the face” for the victim.

“We are saddened by this decision. We expected more from our justice system. We hoped that they would give justice to our brother who died a senseless and brutal death,” Dexter said in a statement.

He added that they would appeal the decision and pursue the other cases filed against the cadets and the doctors.

Tadena, Zacarias and another cadet, Shalimar Imperial Jr., are still facing hazing charges before another court, while the three doctors have administrative cases pending before the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

Dormitorio, 20, died on Sept. 18, 2019 after suffering from severe injuries inflicted by his upperclassmen as part of a hazing ritual.

He was also diagnosed with urinary tract infection and had bruises on his stomach and genitals.

His death sparked outrage and prompted investigations by the PMA, the Philippine National Police and the Commission on Human Rights.

It also led to the resignation of then PMA superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista and commandant of cadets Brig. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro.

The PMA vowed to implement reforms to prevent hazing and violence among its cadets and to uphold its core values of courage, integrity and loyalty.

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