ROTC student trainer kills college freshman in Iloilo

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The suspect, 22-year-old Elmer Decilao, reportedly killed a cadet from the Iloilo State College of Fisheries after hitting his head repeatedly with an iron pipe.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 12) — A student trainer for the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program of an Iloilo college on Monday killed a cadet after hitting his head repeatedly with an iron pipe.

The suspect, 22-year-old Elmer Decilao, reportedly struck Willy Amihoy a number of times on the head inside a comfort room of Iloilo State College of Fisheries, Dumangas Campus.

Amihoy, a first year college student, succumbed to head injuries.

Authorities said Decilao, a fourth year student who graduated from "advanced ROTC," tried to escape but school guards were quick to apprehend him.

S/Supt. Marlon Tayaba, Iloilo Police chief, said Decilao faces murder charges. He added Decilao claimed he killed the victim because of an old grudge.

"Itong suspect e pinagbibintangan na kumuha ng wallet ng biktima," Tayaba said. "Parang nainis nawala sa sarili sa galit niya dahil kumalat na 'yung ganong balita, 'yun ang ginawa ng suspect."

[Translation: The suspect was being accused of taking the victim's wallet. The suspect got pissed, and due to his anger following the accusations, the suspect attacked the victim.

But the police also denied that the ROTC program was linked to the crime.

"Siguro since advance graduate ito and the victim is first year, alam mo na, nandin pa rin siguro ang thinking na "Uy, junior kita." But as to the ROTC, wala siya. Walang connection 'yan," he explained.

[Translation: Maybe since he was an advance graduate and the victim is first year, you know, he might be thinking, "Hey, he's my junior." But as to the ROTC, it's not connected.]

The military was quick to distance the ROTC program from the killing.

"Ito ay away sa pagitan ng dalawang pribadong indibidwal [This is a fight between two private individuals] over personal matters. This has nothing to do with ROTC," military spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo told CNN Philippines.

The Philippine Navy added in a statement that Decilao, a former Corps Commander, was no longer involved in ROTC activities of the school when he committed the crime.

Students in different parts of the country have staged protests expressing their opposition to the proposed mandatory ROTC training.

The Commission on Human Rights condemned Amihoy's death.

"It is unfortunate that both were under a national program meant to develop physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. Violence should never be allowed in schools and universities-places where we expect our children to learn and grow in safe environments that even stand as their second homes," a Tuesday statement from CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia read.

Lawmakers are pushing for the mandatory ROTC for senior high school students. The bill reinstating the program has been approved on second reading at the House of Representatives.

Republic Act 9163 or the National Service Training Program Act of 2001 was enacted on Jan. 23, 2002. The law allowed college students to choose between ROTC, Literacy Training Service and Civil Welfare Training Service for their required National Service Training Program.