MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is angry about the hazing incident that led to the death of Philippine Military Academa (PMA) Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio, said Malacañang on Monday, September 23.
"Siyempre, galit siya sa nangyayari (Of course, he is angry with what happened)," said Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo during a press briefing.
"He is one man who is always outraged at any kind of oppression and hazing is an oppressive act," he continued.
Just last year, Duterte signed a law completely banning hazing and imposing harsher penalties against those responsible for conducting or allowing hazing rituals.
Malacañang vowed justice for Dormitorio, who had died from blunt force trauma, according to the PMA.
"We will prosecute those people behind this," said Panelo.
Malacañang also "lamented" the "failure in leadership as regards being negligent in not stopping this murderous ritual," said Panelo in a statement.
He, speaking in a personal capacity, said deadly hazing should be considered a heinous crime.
"Gawin mo ngang heinous crime 'yan at gawing mong responsible lahat ng heads and members, tigil 'yan. Sige nga," he said during the press briefing.
(Make it a heinous crime and hold all heads and members responsible and this will stop. Go ahead.)
He clarified that he was speaking as himself, and not as Duterte's spokesman.
Dormitorio was a 20-year-old plebe from Cagayan de Oro City who was found unconscious inside Room 209 of Mayo Hall Annex early morning of September 18. He was rushed to the PMA Station Hospital at around 4 am that day and was declared dead more than hour later.
The official cause of death is "cardiac arrest secondary to internal hemmorhage."
Three cadets have been identified as suspects in the hazing incident while two others were included as new "persons of interest," according to the PMA and Baguio City Police. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.