BAGUIO, Philippines, AFP
President Gloria Arroyo on Sunday ordered the Philippines’ premiere military school to stop older students torturing cadets in brutal, and sometimes fatal, ceremonies.
Despite a law that bans the tradition, called “hazing”, freshman cadet Edward Domingo was killed in one such secret rite at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) on March 10.
Police have arrested four sophomore cadets over the murder.
“Hazing must never be repeated,” Aroyo said in a speech that drew muted applause during the PMA graduation day in the northern mountain resort town of Baguio.
The ceremony was held with the Philippine flag at half mast following the 23 year-old cadet’s death.
“Hazing is a senseless act that leads to nothing but senseless pain,” Arroyo said.
“I urge the PMA leadership and the entire cadet corps to lead by example in rejecting hazing. Let us all be vigilant and make the PMA a hazing-free zone.”
The PMA produces the bulk of the Philippine military’s officers. This year’s 196 graduates included seven young women and an exchange student from a Thai military school, Mongkol Khomarwut.