A month of maltreatment: Dormitorio’s last days

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 30) — Investigation of the Baguio City police into the death of Darwin Dormitorio showed that the young Philippine Military Academy (PMA) plebe endured living hell for at least a month before finally succumbing to maltreatment by upperclassmen.

According to authorities, Dormitorio and other PMA plebes were made to exercise, then beat up and even electrocuted with the use of a taser.

They added that some upperclassmen also downplayed Dormitorio’s symptoms and even threatened to lodge a complaint against him for deception.

Here’s a timeline of the torture experienced by the cadet a month before he finally succumbed, as told by the police:

AUGUST 19

9:00 p.m.

Third class cadets Shalimar Imperial Jr., Felix Lumbag Jr. and Manalo ordered Dormitorio to do exercises in his room. Lumbag and Imperial also punched and kicked Dormitorio for supposedly spending half of his ₱4,000 allowance which should have been used for their needs. This ordeal lasted 20 minutes, in which Dormitorio fell down many times.

"I fell from bridge under bunk many times and hit the floor many times. Cadet Lumbag was very angry and made me raise my arm up high and punched me in the body in the rib part. I was hit a few times more after," Dormitorio said of the incident in a handwritten statement to the police. He had gone to the police to report the physical abuse he got from his colleagues at the academy.

AUGUST 20-27

Dormitorio was admitted to the PMA hospital and was found with multiple bruises on his abdomen and back and a healed burn on his left shoulder. He stayed there for eight days.

AUGUST 28

Imperial hit Dormitorio on the face, causing his nose to bleed profusely.

AUGUST 29

After Dormitorio complained about the maltreatment he received from fellow cadets, Lumbag was ordered to stay away from all plebes. But police said he violated this prohibition.

SEPTEMBER 6

Dormitorio was at the PMA hospital again. His roommates said he was brought to the medical facility because he had a toothache and a swollen jaw.

This time he was found with a respiratory tract infection and a contusion in the chest area.

SEPTEMBER 14

Nighttime

Imperial, Lumbag and Manalo covered Dormitorio’s face with a thick plastic sprayed with rubbing alcohol. They tied his hands behind his nape, with a broom inserted between his arms and neck. While lying, they firmly held his upper body and legs to keep him from moving.

Dormitorio was shouting in pain and was suffocating. Manalo cautioned them to stop as the plebe’s shouting was getting too loud — but they did not mind him.

A first class cadet saw them while he was on the ledge through a window and made them stop. This cadet ordered Dormitorio’s “buddies” to stay away from the plebe and were told they could no longer supervise him.

SEPTEMBER 17

4:30 a.m.

Dormitorio joined the Corps Duty Exercise at the Borromeo Field for around 40 minutes. He was able to perform all the exercises.

5:20 a.m.

All cadets went to the Yap Hall

6:52 a.m.

Sanopao called out Dormitorio three times at the Mayo Hall Barracks

6:53 a.m.

Dormitorio immediately reported to Sanopao, who ordered him to look for his combat boots because he could not find them.

7:00 a.m.

Dormitorio called for his buddies, Imperial and Lumbag, from their room.

7:02 a.m.

Dormitorio, along with Imperial and Lumbag, entered Sanopao’s room.

7:05 a.m.

The three went out of Sanopao’s room and went back to Lumbag and Imperial’s room.

7:30 a.m.

Sanopao again called for Dormitorio. The plebe came out from Imperial and Lumbag’s room shivering and in pain at the hallway.

7:31 a.m.

At the hallway, Sanopao told Dormitorio, “Ba’t parang cool na cool ka?” and ordered him to perform squat thrusts. Dormitorio was only able to perform five repetitions as he was not feeling well.

7:33 a.m. – 7:35 a.m.

A first class cadet came and asked Dormitorio what has happened to him. The plebe said he was not feeling well.

The first class cadet asked Dormitorio who his squad leader is. Dormitorio identified him as Cadet Zacarias. He was ordered to proceed to Zacarias’ room, where he slept.

8:30 a.m. – 8:31 a.m.

Zacarias, along with three second class cadets arrived at their room. Zacarias was surprised to see Dormitorio on his bunk.

Zacarias asked the plebe why he was sleeping on his bunks, but he did not answer. A second class cadet noticed Dormitorio using his blanket, so he pulled it away.

Zacarias again asked Dormitorio who made him sleep on his bunk, but the plebe was still not answering. A fourth class cadet answered for Dormitorio.

Zacarias pulled Dormitorio from the bed to stand up. But the plebe could not stand and was noticeably in pain as he was holding his stomach.

Dormitorio fell on the floor. Zacarias then strongly kicked Dormitorio at least five times on the right side of his body while he was lying on the floor.

8:40 a.m.

Zacarias reported to 1st Class Cadet Lucas, Echo Company Commander, that Dormitorio was unable to stand up and that he needed to be brought to the hospital.

9:05 a.m.

An ambulance arrived and brought Dormitorio to the PMA hospital. He arrived at the hospital at 9:15 a.m. There, he was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection.

4:25 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Dormitorio was discharged. When he returned to his room, his roommates noticed that he was weak and pale. He told a fellow cadet why he was in pain: “Ikaw ba kabugin, suntukin at sipain na naka-hang at ‘di maihap?”

6:30 p.m.

A third class cadet only identified in police reports as Volante arrived and saw Dormitorio sitting on the floor, pulling his pants down. Wearing dress shoes, Volante slightly kicked Dormitorio in the forehead once to make him move faster.

Volante is said to be unaware that Dormitorio was on sick-in-quarters status.

Dormitorio remained in the room until 7:32 p.m.

7:30 p.m.

Lumbag and Imperial showed a video of Dormitorio to another fourth class cadet. Dormitorio was described as someone who is exaggerating symptoms.

7:32 p.m.

Dormitorio reported to Captain Batistiana, the Company Tactical Officer with the fourth class cadet who Lumbag and Imperial were talking to earlier.

At 7:38 p.m., Dormitorio was already alone with Batistiana.

7:40 p.m.

Dormitorio vomited in the first floor restroom. Upon query of a first class cadet, the plebe revealed that he experienced maltreatment at the hands of Lumbag and Imperial

7:43 p.m. – 9:35 p.m.

Dormitorio went back to his room, where a fourth class cadet warned him that he will be reported for “deceiving.” In response, Dormitorio said, “Hindi naman agad eepekto ‘yung kabog. Siya kaya pagkakabugin ko. [The beating would not immediately affect me. What if I beat him up?]”

He was left by his roommates at 9:35 p.m for fourth class duty at Lopez Hall.

9:45 p.m.

Dormitorio was seen in the hallway wearing a study uniform. He was advised to change into the general athletic uniform, prompting him to return to his room.

10:30 p.m.

Dormitorio was seen in the hallway again.

Sanopao saw him and called for him. He presented the plebe to second and third class cadets and said he was in improper uniform. Another first class cadet told him to return to his room.

Dormitorio was observed to be moving very slow and did not greet his upperclassmen.

He returned to his room at 10:33 p.m.

10:35 p.m.

Fourth class cadets were in the club room in the first floor to answer a “shabbity list.” Dormitorio was seen outside the room peeping.

10:40 p.m.

A fourth class cadet and 3rd Class Cadet Julius Tadena entered Dormitorios’ room. Tadena tasered a fourth class cadet, while other fourth class cadets were ordered to perform exercises.

10:45 p.m.

Dormitorio came back to his room. Tadena tasered the fourth class cadet again. He then tasered Dormitorio.

He told them that they shouted like girls when tasered and that made them f*****s.

The more detailed police report about the incidents that led to Dormitorio no longer mentioned that the plebe was tasered on his genitals.

10:50 p.m.

Dormitorio and two other fourth-class cadets reported to Cadet 2nd Class Termil in his room. They were reminded of their compliances and left his room.

11:00 p.m.

The fourth-class cadets returned to their room. Dormitorio complained of stomach pain. He said he could not lie down and there seems to be no comfortable position for him.

SEPTEMBER 18

12:30 a.m. – 1:05 a.m.

Dormitorio vomited several times. Other cadets gave him medicine, food and water.

2:00 a.m.

Dormitorio slept.

3:00 a.m.

Dormitorio was seen in a kneeling position with his head resting on the floor.

3:20 a.m.

Dormitorio was seen sitting on the floor. His back and head rested against a study table.

3:40 a.m.

The duty sentinel arrived at Dormitorio’s room and turned on the lights. His two roommates stood up, but Dormitorio remained sitting on the floor, motionless.

The duty sentinel commanded one of the plebes to wake up Dormitorio — but he was unresponsive, had no pulse and was not breathing.

3:45 a.m.

Other cadets arrived to check on Dormitorio. An ambulance would not arrive until 10 minutes after.

4:00 a.m.

Dormitorio arrived at the PMA hospital for the last time, where they tried to revive him.

5:15 a.m.

Dormitorio was declared dead.

“If there's any small consolation, sa pagte-trace po namin ng movements ni Cadet Dormitorio, napakalakas po ng batang ito, napakatibay ng loob at napakatibay ng katawan,” Baguio City police chief Allen Rae Co said.

[Translation: If there's any small consolation, with how we traced Cadet Dormitorio’s movements, this kid was really strong and determined.]

Acting PMA Commandant of Cadets BGen. Romeo Brawner Jr. has declared a war on hazing. He said he will scrutinize the implementation of the PMA Honor Code, which states, "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do."

"We really have to look into the honor system of the cadets, into its implementation. Honor system is a perfect system, but sometimes when it's implemented, there are differences from the real objectives," he told CNN Philippines on Friday.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Gerg Cahiles and Baguio-based journalist Lauren Anuma contributed to this report.