Resignation venerated - Business Mirror - 4 minutes read

Resignation venerated

Almost all military units worldwide have some form of tradition to build a sense of unity and cohesion among their members by sharing a common experience, usually testing the individual’s physical stamina and psychological fortitude. Some might call it maltreatment; others may see it as hazing. For the most part, these forms of character-building exercises are aimed to strengthen one’s resolve in anticipation of the hardships to be encountered during military operations. Unfortunately, a few members of the unit can abuse such tradition to the point of causing severe injuries, and even death, as in the case of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Cadet Fourth Class Darwin Dormitorio who died on September 25, 2019.

In the 114-year history of PMA, there have been very few cadet casualties due to hazing. In this day and age, however, where there is greater awareness of the anti-hazing law and respect for human rights, society expects that these incidents of cruel and inhuman punishments should be down to nil. To those who have gone to any military institution, PMA especially, they understand that the culture within practically embeds some form of physical discipline, but not punishment, and some form of mental challenges, not anguish. But, when a few cadets fail to know the difference, then the concept of command responsibility kicks in to hold persons accountable.

Both graduates of the PMA and both highly decorated Army officers, Lt. General Ronnie Evangelista was the PMA Superintendent and Brig. General Bartolome Bacarro was the Commandant of Cadets during the untimely death of Dormitorio. Both resigned from their posts, not because they admitted liability, but simply because of their genuine appreciation of command responsibility. Both resigned from their posts, not because they were asked to resign, but because they were paving the way for a solution to the century-old situation in PMA.

Trusting that these leaders were placed in a position of responsibility, they ought to know how to respond during crisis. Both the superintendent and the commandant, likely, resigned realizing that their power is a sacred trust for which they will have to give an account someday. I therefore find it unfair for some judgmental people to demand the resignation of these officers and gentlemen in PMA. Calls for resignation, whether in government or in the private sector, are unnecessary. In the Bible, Romans 14:10, 12tells us, “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Aside from being judgmental, those who resort to character assassination and maligning of reputation are simply wicked in His eyes. Vicious and abusive people may bask under the sun in this world but there will always be a day for reckoning.

Hence, prior to their resignations, both Evangelista and Bacarro already initiated the appropriate proceedings to determine the culpability of those responsible for the death of Dormitorio and to address the morale situation in the Corp of Cadets caused by this isolated yet shameful incident. Aside from the usual fact-finding investigation, remedial measures, such as values-based seminars and reorientation of leadership mindsets of cadets are expected in the near future. But when asked for long-term solutions, most PMA graduates, including Evangelista himself, would resort to the Honor Code to address the misaligned utilization of military traditions by a handful of cadets.

Aside from being a commendable sacrifice in their respective careers and a class act in the eyes of their brothers-in-arms, the resignation of both Evangelista and Bacarro is something to be venerated and emulated by everyone. It serves a reminder that leaders, especially those in the military, are not given positions of power but positions of responsibility.

For questions and comments, please e-mail me at [email protected]


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