By Jaime Laude, October 16 2019; Philippine Star

Image Credit to Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The seven cadets of the Philippine Military Academy indicted for the fatal hazing of Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio will undergo court-martial proceedings, a senior official of the PMA said yesterday.

The General Court Martial proceedings will be convened against the accused for violating Articles of War 97 or Conduct Prejudicial to Good Order and Military Discipline, Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., PMA commandant of cadets, said.

The seven are Cadets 3rd Class Shalimar Imperial, Felix Lumbag Jr., John Vincent Manalo, Julius Carlo Tadena and Ray David John Volante; C2C Christian Zacarias and C1C Axl Rey Sanopao.

The cadets, who are under the custody of the PMA for administrative proceedings, have been charged with murder and violations of the anti-hazing law before the Baguio City Prosecutor’s Office.

The charges were filed by the Dormitorio family.

“A General Court Martial will be formed at the general headquarters. That is the next step of the administrative side of the case,” Brawner said.

The decision to convene the court martial, aside from administrative dismissal proceedings, was due to the gravity of the case, he added.

Once the court martial is convened, the accused cadets will remain under military custody.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has yet to decide on the fate of the five military officers who were relieved in connection with the Dormitorio hazing.

They are tactical officers Maj. Rex Bolo and Capt. Jeffrey Batistina, and military doctors Col. Cesar Candelario, Capt. Apple Apostol and Maj. Ofelio Beloy.

The five were also included in the charges of murder and violation of the anti-hazing law filed by the Dormitorio family before a civilian court. They were placed under the custody of the military.

“It’s up to the AFP to evaluate and decide on the case. But the seven cadets will be court martialed,” Capt. Cheryl Tindog, spokesperson for the PMA, said.

Tindog said the convening of the General Court Martial is proper as the seven accused were part of the cadet corps of the AFP and are subject to military rules and regulations.

Dormitorio died on Sept. 18 due to injuries he suffered from hazing.