By JIGGER J. JERUSALEM
HAZING victim Cadet 4th class Darwin Dormitorio once told his girlfriend he would marry her after his Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduation, and that he would “change” the country the moment he becomes a soldier.
None of these would happen because hazing robbed the 20-year-old plebe of his dreams — and life last week.
Dormitorio was laid to rest yesterday at a posh cemetery in Barangay Lumbia where his grieving girlfriend Ashely Ravidas recalled being told by the fallen cadet: “Just wait, bae, when I become a soldier I will change the Philippines.”
Ravidas told Dormitorio’s friends and relatives that they were opposites and that they didn’t share the same tastes in a lot of things. She also described her late boyfriend as the type who never gave up.
Dormitorio, she said, told her that he wanted to marry after his PMA graduation.
She quoted Dormitorio as telling her after she told him she planned on taking up Medicine first before they tied the knot, Dormitorio responded: “Don’t become a doctor. You will be 30 by the time you graduate. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.”
Despite his status as a cadet on his first year in the PMA, Dormitorio was given military honors like an officer during his burial.
Soldiers from the Army’s 4th Infantry Division served as pall bearers while other troopers the 21-gun salute as his casket was being lowered to the ground.
Dormitorio was supposed to be cremated but the family had a change of mind especially after his girlfriend requested to see his body one last time.
Dormitorio’s brother Dexter said Ravidas sent him a message and requested to see the fallen cadet before interment.
“The initial plan was to cremate him because we could not bear looking at him what with all the pain that he had gone through. But the family’s decision changed because of Ashely,” Dexter said.
Dexter called his brother as the family’s “lucky charm,” saying things got better for the Dormitorios when Darwin was born.
On his death by hazing, Dexter gave this message for his brother: “You won because they were not able to break you. They were not able to take your dignity from you. You died fighting.”
Jane Año, the wife of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, spoke in behalf of her husband. She said, “There will be no whitewash, no sacred cows. That’s what my husband told me.”
Año’s wife is said to be related to the Dormitorios.
“We all care for the plebes. We care for the institution, but we don’t want maltreatment (at the PMA),” she said.
Omaradji Pizarro, the mayor of Kalilangan town who is married to one of Dormitorio’s aunts, said the League of Municipalities of the Philippines in Bukidnon, would send President Duterte a resolution in order to ask him to make PMA officials strictly enforce the Anti-Hazing Law in the institution. Pizarro is the incoming president of the League.