Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año welcomed the dismissal of three (3) Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) cadets for hazing/sexual harassment, stressing that they have no place in the country's premiere police training academy.
"PNPA is the ground zero of the formative years of our future law enforcers and such abuses among cadets will never be tolerated and will be dealt with accordingly," Año says.
"Walang puwang sa PNPA ang mga kadeteng baluktot mag-isip at lalong walang espasyo para sa mga baluktot na gawain. Even the President himself was appalled by what happened," he adds.
Año cited the decision of new PNPA Director, PCSupt. Jose Chiquito M. Malayo which established that there is substantial evidence to find the three cadets (who forced two other cadets to perform oral sex as punishment) guilty of grave misconduct and conduct unbecoming of an officer or acts inimical or prejudicial to good order and discipline.
“Because of the gravity of the offense which is in violation of the New PNPA Cadet Guide, the three erring cadets deserve no less than dismissal from the cadetship program,” he says.
The Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) also welcomed this decision as it proves that cases of misconduct and hazing are not tolerated in the Academy and the PPSC which has the direct administrative supervision over PNPA.
"The PNPA and PPSC have a strong stance against any form of maltreatment. We have directed all Constitutive Units and Regional Training Centers to reiterate and stress the PPSC's Anti-Hazing Policy on the adherence to the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018," says PPSC President PDDG Ricardo De Leon.
Año, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, says that punishments inside the PNPA should only be limited to performing push-ups or other physical activities and should never resort to any sexual acts.
The DILG Chief says that the PNPA has a long-standing history of producing batches of police officers who have dedicated themselves for the service of our country and such abuses performed within the academy is a smear to its image and reputation.
"We have already relieved the former PNPA head for command responsibility and now the dismissal of the three cadets. We hope that this will be the last of such an occurrence in the PNPA," he says.
According to Año, the dismissal of the said cadets is a reminder to the PNPA and other educational institutions to be more vigilant and ensure that student's welfare is of paramount priority.
In the said decision, it was stated that "hazing can be classified into various categories including, but not limited to, acts of violence, acts of humiliation, sexual-related acts, and alcohol-related acts."
It further said that sexual hazing includes simulated sex acts, sodomy and forced kissing which may lead to emotional damage and traumatic stress.
“Hazing in whatever form is not tolerated in the PNPA. By being involved in this dastardly act, the three cadets tarnished the good reputation and image of the academy,” says Año.
He also reminds the PNPA and universities across the country to strictly adhere to the recently signed Anti-Hazing Law of 2018 as the already dismissed cadets will also face hazing cases which can lead to imprisonment.
Section 8 of the Anti-Hazing Law of 2018 states that "the responsibility of the schools to exercise reasonable supervision in loco parentis over the conduct of its students requires the diligence that prudent parents would employ in the same circumstances when disciplining and protecting their children."
"For the PNPA and other universities, vigilance is key. We have so much to learn about this unfortunate incident. Hazing is not confined in physical battery alone, as what the decision stipulates," he says.
Section 14 of the Anti-Hazing Law of 2018 states that the penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of P2-M shall be imposed on all persons who actually planned and participated in the conduct of the hazing.
Photo by Bullit Marquez/AP/Philstar