Killing of cadet not related to ROTC program – AFP
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The killing of 23-year old naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) cadet Willy Amihoy was not related to the government’s ROTC program, said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
AFP spokesperson Edgard Arevalo said on Tuesday night, March 12 that the incident was a “plain criminal act,” which stemmed from a personal argument between the victim and his roommate student Elmer Decilao.
Amihoy was found dead inside the toilet of the State College of Fisheries-Dumangas Campus (ISCOF-DC) dormitory Monday, March 11.
“What happened was a plain criminal act that sprung from an altercation between two private individuals over personal matters, the incidentals, notwithstanding…. There is no way that this is ROTC-related incident or that it could have happened in a ROTC Training environment,” Arevalo said.
Arevalo said the argument was over a stolen wallet. Information showed Amihoy – a first year student and basic naval ROTC cadet – accused Decilao of stealing his wallet. Amihoy then confronted Decilao about it, which “could have preceded the commission of the crime.”
Decilao is now under police custody.
The AFP likewise denied earlier reports saying Decilao was the ROTC Corps Commander. Arevalo said he was not enrolled in ROTC.
The incident comes as the government is discussing whether or not to reinstate mandatory ROTC in Grades 11 and 12. It was made optional in 2002 following the death of University of Santo Tomas student Mark Welson Chua, who was killed by his senior officers after exposing the corruption in the UST ROTC unit.
In response to the incident, Kabataan party-list, the League of the Filipino Students, and Anakbayan had claimed that the killing of Amihoy highlighted the abuses and harassment in the ROTC program.
The military described these responses as “erroneous and malicious.” Arevalo then said the groups should apologize to relatives of the victim and the public.
“In a desperate attempt to discredit both the ROTC Program and malign the reputation of the President, Anakbayan went to the extent of distorting the facts and resorting to a lie. And on that basis calls for an indignation rally. It’s a shame,” he said.
In a statement on Friday, March 15, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Prospero de Vera III called on groups linking Amihoy’s death to the ROTC program not to exploit the issue to move forward their agenda.
“I call on all groups to stop using this issue to push for their anti-ROTC agenda. The death of Willy Amihoy is not an ROTC-related matter. The use of this incident for propaganda purposes is insensitive and an insult to the families of the victim and the accused,” De Vera said.
“I call on everyone to let the pertinent authorities handle the case according to the rule of law,” he added. – Rappler.com