[EXCLUSIVE] Video in 2017 shows beating at PNP Academy

Rambo Talabong
[EXCLUSIVE] Video in 2017 shows beating at PNP Academy
A source identifies one of the punishers in the 2017 video as one of the victims in the 2018 PNPA graduation mauling: Police Inspector Ylam Lambenecio

MANILA, Philippines – Is the recent beating in the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) really an “isolated case”? A video obtained by Rappler shows otherwise.

The footage shows PNPA cadets wearing the academy’s exercise overalls, gathered in a white-tiled room. A cadet stands in the center to get hit by another cadet, who holds a stick or a paddle.

According to sources who graduated from the PNPA, the video was shot inside the academy.

The cadets use the stick for hitting palms and soles, while the paddle is used to strike behind the thighs and knees.

The persons giving the beating appear to be grinning after delivering the blows.

At certain points in the video, cadets in full uniform are shown passing by casually during the paddling.

What the video is about: According to the source of the video who refused to be identified for safety reasons, the beating happened a year ago, in February 2017, and the cadets present are all from the PNPA Echo company, belonging to different batches.

Company mates typically live in the same building in the PNPA, forging close bonds that go beyond their time at the academy.

According to the source, other PNPA companies hold hazing rites similar to what is shown in the video, but they do not usually save clips of the event. Cadets who take part in the beatings swear not to speak about them outside.

The beating is more of a practice than a tradition, the source said. It is used to discipline erring cadets in the academy, which brands itself as the country’s premier police school.

Actually hindi ‘yan basta tradition. Sa loob, they aim for perfection. Madalas nangyayari ‘yan nang patago. Once na ma-caution sila sa parada, makalimutan mag-salute, kapag meron silang pagkakamali, kung hindi malasan, paluan ‘yan,” the source told Rappler.

(Actually, it isn’t just a tradition. Inside, they aim for perfection. Most of the time it happens in secret. When they get cautioned in a parade, when they forget to salute, when they commit a mistake, when they fail at physical exercises, they receive the beatings.)

Cadet in video also in 2018 mauling: According to the source, one cadet who was a victim in the controversial 2018 PNPA graduation mauling was present in the 2017 recorded beating: Police Inspector Ylam Lambenecio.

Lambenecio was then a 2nd class cadet or in his 3rd year at the PNPA.

The source identified him as the only cadet in the video wearing a black sweatshirt – the uniform of the PNPA’s slow drill platoon. He appeared in the earlier part of the video with a camera slung around his neck and in the latter part of the clip, delivering blows of his own.

Now, he is one of the two mauling victims who decided to file physical injury charges against 9 underclassmen. The PNPA administration has since formed a special investigating team to probe the incident, with 20 cadets confined to the PNPA headquarters at Camp Castañeda in Silang, Cavite.

PNPA director Chief Superintendent Joseph Adnol said in an earlier interview that the 2018 mauling may have been fueled by the “personal grudge” of underclassmen against their upperclassmen. It is unclear whether the alleged hazings contributed to this.

Rappler has tried to reach Adnol for comment on the video, but he has yet to respond as of posting time. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.