PHILIPPINE National Police Officer-in-Charge, Lieutenant General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday said he wants the full implementation of the Anti-Hazing Law in the PNP Academy to prevent cadets’ death or injuries.
“I would like to encourage the PNPA to launch a war on hazing too since we already have an anti-hazing law,” the PNP-OIC said in the wake of an ongoing investigation into the case of one PNPA plebe who was hospitalized and diagnosed to be suffering from internal bleeding in his abdominal area after allegedly being maltreated by one of his upperclassmen.
Cadet 4th Class John Desiderio was initially taken to the PNPA Hospital in Silang, Cavite after complaining of massive abdominal pain before being brought by an ambulance to the PNP General Hospital in Camp Crame last Tuesday.
He was later transferred to the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City where he underwent surgery and was listed in stable condition. The victim’s testimony as soon as he recuperates will be crucial in the investigation of the incident.
Gamboa said he was saddened by the PNPA incident but maintained it was only a ‘single incident’ which is already being investigated. Gamboa is a product of the Philippine Military Academy which also has its own share of hazing deaths.
The PNP-OIC added that PNPA director Brigadier Gen. Jose Chiquito M. Malayo, a member of PMA Class 1989, is “doing good and has effected many institutional changes in the Academy.”
Shortly after the case of Desiderio was discovered, Gamboa said Malayo immediately ordered an investigation that triggered the relief of some of the injured cadet’s upperclassmen.
“We will see to it that these erring cadets will be dismissed,” he said.
Gamboa said although the PNPA turnover to the PNP is not yet completed, they are already doing their best to prevent a repetition of the Desiderio case.
According to PNPA spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Byron Allatog, their intelligence division has joined the Cadet Affairs’ Office in conducting an initial investigation.
Allatog said initially, a Cadet 2nd Class who is not part of the victim’s squad, was identified as the supposed tormentor of Desiderio and has been isolated from other cadets as a result of the incident. The identity of the accused was withheld.
The PNP spokesperson said if proven to have really maltreated the victim, the accused will face dismissal from the PNPA apart from criminal charges.
The incident came exactly a year after President Rodrigo Duterte announced the impending expulsion from the PNPA of three cadets who were accused of forcing two freshmen to perform oral sex.
The President said he does not want police cadets to “dehumanize” other PNPA students and they don’t deserve to stay in the Academy since he does not tolerate any unlawful hazing at the PNPA.