PNPA upperclassmen beatings a 'tradition' – police chief

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – Beating up upperclassmen is apparently a “tradition” at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), the country’s premier police school.

This was announced by no less than police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Monday, March 26, describing it as an “on-and-off” “tradition” that “should be stopped.”

"My reaction is that kind of tradition is not good. It's sad to say, it promotes a cycle of violence because if that kind of tradition is not stopped, it will happen every year ," Dela Rosa said in a mix of English and Filipino.

He described the tradition as "bawian", a Filipino word which means "getting back" or "taking revenge."

Dela Rosa's pronouncements come in the wake of 6 PNPA fresh graduates being mauled by their underclassmen just after their commencement exercises on March 21.

According to the top cop, it is a tradition upheld by the cadet corps (academy students) and is not sanctioned by the PNPA administration.

The tradition this year took a wrong turn as the beating ended with the 6 fresh graduates who were attacked being admitted to a hospital. The attackers apparently used "rocks" and "paddles" to hit them.

PNPA Director Chief Superintendent Joseph Adnol has pronounced the scandal an "isolated incident", and has formed a special task force to ensure that the suspects are penalized.

Dela Rosa's own son, Rock dela Rosa, is a cadet at the PNPA. The younger Dela Rosa was not involved in the beating incident, Adnol said. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.