Dormitorio tortured and suffocated with bag days before death: police

<I>Student protest Sept. 25 outside the University of the Philippines, condemning the death of Dormitorio. Photo: ABS-CBN</I>
Student protest Sept. 25 outside the University of the Philippines, condemning the death of Dormitorio. Photo: ABS-CBN

Three days before a freshman cadet was fatally attacked over a pair of boots, his peers at the Philippine Military Academy beat him and suffocated him with a plastic bag, Baguio City police said yesterday.

Cadet 3rd class John Vincent Manalo placed a plastic bag over the head of Darwin Dormitorio after cadets Felix Lumbag Jr., and Shalimar Imperial beat him up on Sept. 14, Baguio City Police chief Allen Rae Co told reporters. Three days later, Col. Co said the cadet endured another round of beatings from Imperial and Lumbag, Jr., at the encouragement of cadet Axl Rey Sanopao.

They allegedly did this after boots belonging to Sanopao and entrusted to Dormitorio went missing.

Read: Freshman cadet Darwin Dormitorio allegedly killed over missing boots

Dormitorio was taken to the hospital that night where he was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and discharged. Upon his return from the hospital, Dormitorio was allegedly tasered in the genitals by cadet Julius Carlo Tadena. 

He was rushed back to the hospital at 4am the next morning, where he died an hour later.

Investigators have named all the implicated cadets as persons of interest in Dormitorio’s death.

To date, seven upper-class cadets – Imperial, Lumbag, John Vincent Manalo, Tadena, Rey David John Volante; Christian Zacarias, and Sanopao –  along with Capt. Flor Apple Apostol and Maj. Ofelia Below of the academy station hospital have been named by police as responsible for Dormitorio’s death.

The cadets will be charged with violating the Anti-Hazing Law. The physicians face charges of criminal negligence. The police said they’re waiting for the Dormitorio family to file a complaint, Manila Bulletin reported.

Various students and youth groups have staged protests condemning the killing of Dormitorio, and the cadet’s death has led to the resignations of academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista and Bartolome Bacarro, its commandant of cadets.

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