The death of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Cadet Darwin Dormitorio created a loud noise all over the country. But while PMA officials and alumni were to cautious about their statements over the incident, the unbridled lips of Senator Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa, a member of the PMA Sinagtala Class, spilled a ca of worms betraying his comrades.
Indeed, PMA officials were too cautious calling the incident as “hazing” and would rather use the term “maltreatment”. As PMA Superintendent Lieutenant General Ronnie Evangelista stated, “It was wrong for a cadet to die in this manner. It was a wrong for a cadet to die in the hands of a fellow cadet. Maltreatment is wrong in PMA.” (Emphasis supplied.)
Even Senator Panfilo Lacson, also a PMA graduate, was too cautious calling the incident as “misplaced enthusiasm” or “indiscretion” — meaning, the physical injury was “unplanned” or not pre-meditated.
But here comes Senator dela Rosa joining the fray betraying his colleagues by publicly admitting that hazing is deeply embedded in the PMA. He said, “Just imagine, kung itong mga civilian universities mayroong hazing, mas more ang military academy. Imagine-in ninyo. Tine-train ang mga tao diyan para maging warriors.”
In fairness, however, Senator Dela Rosa should be commended for living up to the words of former President Manuel Luis Quezon. According to Quezon, “My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins.” In this case, the senator’s loyalty to the PMA ended by exposing the truth about hazing in the PMA for the sake of the Filipinos especially the taxpayers who need to know what is happening to their money.
But while that is a “plus” for the senator, admitting that hazing is the way to train warrior is the “minus”. There are many physical endurance training that can be used. In addition, PMA should not just be developing warriors but intelligent and morally upright soldiers – those who know what is right and what is wrong, and understands with all their heart the laws they are supposed to promote and uphold. These laws include the anti-hazing laws.
Somehow, Senator dela Rosa moved one foot forward but with his power as a Senator, we are hoping that he will do more and this include cleansing the ranks and the educational system being used in the PMA. But may he not be selective in truth-telling and truth-seeking. In the first place, he owes his position to the real powerholders — the Filipino people. Right?
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