Arrest warrant issued for PMA officers, cadets tagged in fatal hazing of Dormitorio

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 8) — An arrest warrant was issued on Wednesday against six people allegedly involved in the fatal hazing of a Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadet.

The warrant was signed on July 7 by Judge Maria Ligaya Ilitiong Rivera of Branch 5 of Baguio's Regional Trial Court. It named Capt. Flor Apple Apostol, Major Maria Ofelia Beloy, Lt Col. Caesar Almer Cadelaria, Shalimar Imperial Jr., Felix Lumbag Jr., and Julius Carlos Tadena as those who would be arrested for murder.

It also stated that no bail was set for Tadena, Lumbag, and Imperial, while Apostol, Beloy, and Cadelaria had a fixed bail of P200,000 each.

In a statement, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said it has not received a copy of the warrant, and said the Judge Advocate General would attend to the matter and recommend to Chief of Staff General Felimon Santos Jr. what the proper action should be taken regarding the cadets.

The statement also said six PMA cadets have been arraigned and are now facing trial before a General Court Martial for violating rules.

Speaking to reporters, AFP spokesperon MGen Edgard Arevalo said the arraignment was held on Feb. 14 and the cadets pleaded not guilty.

As for the three officers named in the warrant, Arevalo said the PMA will take appropriate action.

"Meron silang sariling Judge Advocate General, ang tawag natin dun is Staff Judge Advocate of the PMA to determine (what action to take) so the best way to do is to ask PMA kung ano disposition nila dun," he said.

[Translation: They have their own Judge Advocate General, we call it the Staff Judge Advocate of the PMA to determine (what action to take), so the best way is to ask the PMA what the action will be.]

The AFP said it is cooperating in the case and assisting in the dispensation of justice.

"We owe it to the people — especially to the parents of the late Cadet Darwin Dormitorio — and the community of PMA Alumni," it said.

In a statement, PMA spokesperson Maj. Cheryl Tindog said Beloy posted bail on Tuesday.

"With the assistance of our judge advocate, inassist sya, kasi civilian court kasi siya so pagdating dun sa civilian proceedings medyo hands off si PMA kasi may sarili silang lawyers e. May sarili silang law, so kung ano lang yung assistance na kailangan, yun lang yung pinoprovide ni PMA. Pero sa exact location niya nandito sya sa PMA, nagpost sya ng bail and she is readying herself to face the court," said Tindog.

[Translation: She was assisted by the judge advocate, because it's with the civilian court, so when it comes to civilian proceedings, the PMA is a bit hands-off because they have their own lawyers. They have their own law so we extend only the help that is needed. But as for the exact location, Beloy is here at the PMA, she has posted bail and is readying herself to face the court.]

The six individuals were charged in the death of 20-year-old PMA cadet Darwin Dormitorio in September 2019 after reportedly enduring a month of maltreatment at the hands of several upperclassmen.

State prosecutors have recommended hazing and murder charges against those named. They said Imperial and Lumbag should be charged with murder, along with Candelaria, commanding officer of the PMA Station Hospital, and attending physicians Captain Flor Apple Apostol and Major Ofelia Beloy.

Meanwhile, Tadena should be prosecuted and charged with less serious physical injuries, the prosecutors ruled.

Several resigned officials of the PMA were cleared of charges for lack of evidence.

READ: Darwin Dormitorio's family feels 'deprived of justice' as prosecution clears ex-PMA officials in hazing case