Aegis Juris fratman found guilty of obstruction of justice in Atio hazing death

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 17, 2019   •   1558

John Paul Solano

Aegis Juris fratman John Paul Solano has been found guilty of obstruction of justice over the death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio ‘Atio’ Castillo III.

Solano is guilty of two counts of obstruction of justice and was sentenced by the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) Branch 14 to a minimum of two years and 4 months up to 4 years and two months in prison.

“Considering that he allowed himself to be left behind asserting his desires to attend to Castillo, and he, in fact, saw those who brought Castillo to the hospital leave, nothing would prevent him from refusing to follow the supposed instructions or get lost in the hospital or from speaking the truth to the police officers who arrived to investigate,” the decision reads.

The court, meanwhile, acquitted him for perjury.

READ: Man who brought slain UST law student to hospital, considered a ‘person of interest’

Solano led the convoy that took Atio to the Chinese General Hospital when Atio was severely injured after undergoing hazing. Solano then reported the incident to authorities but identified himself as a stranger who found Atio.

“It is clear that he gave false and fabricated information to mislead the police or prevent them from apprehending those responsible for the death of Castillo,” as stated in the court’s decision.

Atio’s parents, meanwhile, are satisfied with the court’s verdict but they said the battle for justice is not yet over.

READ: Fratmen’s “cover-up attempt” revealed through a group chat presented in Senate

“Hopefully we will file cases again sa mga kasama—even iyong mga lawyers iyong mga involved sa cover up, (Hopefully, we will file cases again against the other members and even the lawyers who were involved in the cover-up),” said Atio’s father Horacio Castillo Jr.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

New PMA Commandant wants cadets’ honor system, mental health strengthened

Marje Pelayo   •   September 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Newly installed Commandant of Cadets BGen. Romeo Brawner Jr. has declared war against hazing inside the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

Brawner wants to change the culture inside the institution by strengthening the PMA’s honor system, instead of focusing on physical standards.

The PMA is governed by an “honor code” which bars all cadets from any act of dishonesty, theft and deception.

 “[Our honor code is] perfect in itself but the implementation is sometimes different among the cadets, among the company,” Brawner noted.

Aside from physical examination, Brawner plans to launch a program that will focus on the cadets’ mental health “to make sure that everybody who remains in the Cadet Corps are mentally fit,” he said.

Amid the controversy of hazing deaths, the PMA still has no record of a plebe quitting the Academy.

The PMA assures parents and guardians that the cadets are well taken care of throughout the duration of their stay in the Academy.

“Noong nangyari ito, naging bukas ang PMA sa lahat ng imbestigasyon ng proper authorities. Wala po siyang tinago or walang cover-up na ginawa, (When the [hazing] happened, the PMA has been open to investigation by proper authorities. [The Academy] has nothing to hide nor has it anything to cover up),” assured PMA Spokesperson Maj. Reynan Afan. – MNP (with details from April Cenedoza)

PNP identifies 2 more suspects in PMA cadet’s fatal hazing

Robie de Guzman   •   September 26, 2019

A taser flashlight which was allegedly used to hurt late PMA cadet Darwin Dormitorio.

MANILA, Philippines – Police on Thursday identified two more suspects in the fatal hazing of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio.

Baguio City Police chief Allen Rae Co said the suspects were upper classmen of Dormitorio but he refused to disclose their names yet as they are still waiting for the sworn statement of the witnesses.

The 20-year old plebe died last Sept. 18 after complaining of stomach pain.

Authorities earlier confirmed Dormitorio had died of hazing after autopsy results showed he sustained bruises consistent to injuries incurred in hazing.

Police also said that a taser flashlight or tactical flashlight is believed to have been used to inflict injury on the victim by electrocuting his private parts.

“Di ba may mga burned tissue sa katawan ng victim, this is believed to have been used by the perpetrators,” Cordillera Regional Police director BGen. Israel Ephraim Dickson said.

Dickson said the item was surrendered by one of the suspects.

Investigation also revealed that Dormitorio was kicked on the head.

“Actually noon ang Sick call niya po pala nung September 16, masakit po pala ang ngipin… pero that time he was also inspected, nakita yung mga markings niya that was already seen noon pong August 20,” Co said.

Police earlier said it would file criminal charges against cadets and other parties with direct involvement in Dormitorio’s hazing.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered police investigators to be completely transparent and that no whitewash will happen on their investigation in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The issue has led PMA chief Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista to quit his post and the relief of other PMA officers. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Grace Doctolero)

PMA hazing victim Darwin Dormitorio laid to rest

Robie de Guzman   •   September 25, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The remains of 20-year old Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio were laid to rest in his hometown on Wednesday.

Family and friends gathered for the burial service of Dormitorio at the Cagayan de Oro Gardens in Barangay Lumbia.

As his casket draped with a Philippine flag was lowered to the ground, soldiers gave a 21-gun salute for Dormitorio.

Authorities earlier said Dormitorio had died due to hazing.

Prior to his death, he complained of stomach pain, and an autopsy conducted on his remains revealed he died due to blunt force trauma consistent to injuries incurred in hazing.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier said it has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to be transparent and to ensure that no whitewash will happen in their investigation on the fatal PMA hazing incident.

READ: DILG chief tells PNP: No whitewash in PMA hazing probe

The Dormitorio family expressed hope that justice will be served and parties liable in the death of their family member will be charged.

“I think naman ‘yung pakiusap ng tatay ko sa PMA mismo na walang whitewash at sign of respect na rin sa academy, sana wala,” said Dexter Dormitorio, Darwin’s brother.

They also welcomed the move of PMA chief Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista to quit his post and the relief order issued on other PMA officers over the hazing incident. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Weng Fernandez)

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