MANILA The two ranking officials of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) took the moral high ground when they opted to quit their posts in the wake of the alleged maltreatment of Cadet Fourth Class Darwin Dormitorio that resulted in his death last month, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief said Tuesday.
"And to be candid about it, one of the reasons we are gathered this morning to witness the change-of-command of our dear alma mater is not because we have failed as an education and training institution but because our outgoing Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Ronnie Sexon Evangelista, took the high ground of taking full command responsibility, one of the leadership traits he has learned from this sacred ground, to protect not only the academy but the AFP as a whole," AFP Chief-of-Staff Lt. Gen. Noel Clement said in his speech, during the PMA Change-of-Command Ceremony held in Fort Gregorio Del Pilar, Baguio City, which was forwarded to reporters.
Aside from Evangelista, Clement also lauded former Cadet Corps Commandant Brig. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, who also stepped down in wake of the incident in order to protect the PMA from criticism.
Evangelista was replaced as PMA Superintendent in an acting capacity by Rear Admiral Allan Cusi while Bacarro was replaced by Marawi crisis veteran Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner last week.
Stressing that wrongdoings in any institution should be immediately corrected, Clement said maltreatment is never right and will never be right in any circumstances.
"And as we find ourselves grappling with the unfortunate incident of a cadet's passing, while attempting to move forward with the mission to ensure that such devastating loss will not happen again. We should be able to reflect and learn from past mistakes, and make good on the vow that the military as an institution has made - to serve and protect the country and its people," he added.
"For this promise then to be fulfilled, we must pledge to protect the lives and well-being our cadets, the future protectors of our nation," he said.
Earlier, AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, said Clement is expecting positive impacts from Cusi during his stint as acting PMA Superintendent. Clement also expects Cusi will succeed given his known competence as a trainer, mentor, leader, and commander in various levels of command and staff positions, he added.
"Lt. Gen. Clement is aware that Rear Admiral Cusi faces a complex and daunting task of curbing, and ultimately, eliminating the malady brought by maltreatment in the soonest possible time," Arevalo stressed.
Arevalo said Cusi's former assignment at the PMA's Tactics Group, which directly deals with cadet leadership development and training, and his recent stint as head of the Philippine Navy's Naval Education, Training, and Doctrines Command will be of great value to his new position. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency