One soldier killed, two others hurt in PMA shooting

Marje Pelayo   •   September 30, 2020   •   294

MANILA, Philippines — One soldier was killed while two others were injured, including the gunman, after a member of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) went amok and fired indiscriminately in their barracks inside the Philippine Military Academy on Tuesday (September 29).

Initial investigation revealed that the suspect, Airman Second Class Christopher Lim (PAF) approached the victims at the second floor of their barracks and opened fire with his M-16.

The other two soldiers were identified as SSgt. Joefrey Turqueza (PAF) and SSgt. Raton Vivencio (PA).

Turqueza was declared on the spot while Raton was injured.

Despite his injury, Raton managed to scuffle with the suspect over the rifle also hitting the suspect.

Both soldiers were rushed to the PMA Station Hospital and later transferred to the Baguio General Hospital. 

They were later transferred to the Baguio General Hospital. 

The PMA assured that the cadets who are located in nearby barracks remain safe.

Investigation is still ongoing as to the cause of the incident while the PMA committed to an impartial investigation in order to shed light on the said incident.

3rd soldier in PMA shooting passes away; probe continues

Marje Pelayo   •   October 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) confirmed on Friday (October 2) that the wounded soldier in Tuesday’s shooting inside the academy has also died while in confinement at Baguio General Hospital. 

Army SSgt. Vivencio Raton, who scuffled with the suspect, Airman 2nd Class Christopher Lim during the incident, did not survive even after days of treatment and died Thursday (October 1).

“We are assisting them and their families especially in going back to their homes, with funeral matters and in processing administrative entitlements,” PMA Spokesperson Maj. Cherryl Tindog said.

All three persons involved in the case have passed away but according to Baguio City Police Chief PCol. Allan Rae Co, their investigation will proceed to determine the motive of the suspect aside from his mental health condition.

Co clarified, however, that no criminal charges will be filed against the gunman who passed away on Wednesday.

“Mayroon daw pong chismis na patungkol sa kanya [Lim] na making the rounds (Allegedly there were rumors about him [Lim] that were circulating),” Co said.

“We just do not know kung iyong dalawa ang napagdudahan niya na gumawa ng chismis o pinagchi- chismisan siya (We just do not know if [Lim] suspected the two of starting the rumor against him or they happened to be talking about him), during that time. Iyon po ang lumalabas,” he added.

On September 29, Lim approached Raton and Airforce SSgt. Joffrey Turqueza inside their barracks and went amok before opening fire at the victims. 

Turqueza was declared dead on the spot while Raton and Lim were injured and rushed to the hospital. MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Suspect in PMA shooting has mental health issues, PMA confirms

Marje Pelayo   •   September 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) confirmed on Wednesday (September 30) that Airman 2nd Class Christopher Lim Jr. who ran amok in their barracks on Tuesday (September 29) had mental health issues.

The PMA leadership revealed in a statement the result of the initial investigation on Lim’s condition which led him to open fire and kill one of his comrades, Airforce Staff Sergeant Joefrey Turqueza, and injure Army Staff Sergeant Vivencio Raton.

“With the initial probe conducted by PMA, it has been revealed that the shooting incident is an issue of mental health problem on the side of the shooter that led to this tragedy,“ said PMA Spokesperson Major Cherryl Tindog.

Lim also suffered injury when Raton scuffled to stop him despite the latter’s gunshot wound. 

Following the incident, the PMA assured that the institution’s psycho social intervention in general is in place not only to address mental health problems among cadets but also among enlisted personnel.

“The Academy is and will continue to be providing psycho-social intervention to identify and help its personnel who may have mental health problems, similar to what has been done for our cadets,” Tindog said.

The Department of Health (DOH) has been advising agencies and institutions to consider the mental health of their employees and members especially at this time of crisis.

Kailangan lang may mga programa ang mga employers nila na talagang makakapag- maintain na maayos ang mental health ng mga employees na iyan because they are away from their families,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

[Employers need to have a program that will help maintain the proper mental health of their employees because they are away from their families.]

“Lagi nating sinasabi [We always say] it is okay not to be okay especially at this time during our situation in the pandemic. That’s okay. Lahat tayo nakakaramdam ng ganiyan [All of us share the same feelings], we just have to have that coping mechanism,” she added.

The PMA assured to cooperate with the investigation to shed light on the incident. 

Raton and Lim are now being treated at Baguio General Hospital. MNP (with reprots from Lea Ylagan)

AFP to cooperate with court order vs PMA cadets, officers over Dormitorio death

Robie de Guzman   •   July 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday said it has yet to receive a copy of the warrants of arrest issued by a court in Baguio City against six cadets and officers of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) who are facing charges for the death Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio.

In a statement, AFP spokesman Major General Edgard Arevalo said the Judge Advocate General will attend to the matter and give appropriate recommendation to the AFP chief General Felimon Santos Jr. as to the disposition of the named cadets.

The Regional Trial Court Branch 5 of Baguio City issued arrest warrants against 3rd Class Cadets Shalimar Imperial Jr. and Feliz Lumbag Jr., and Cadet Julius Carlo Tadena for murder charges over Dormitorio’s death due to hazing.

The local court also released warrants of arrest against the three officials from the PMA Station Hospital, namely, Lieutenant Colonel Ceasar Candelaria, Captain Flor Apple Apostol, and Major Maria Ofelia Beloy who have also been charged for murder.

Arevalo said six PMA cadets are under the custody of the general headquarters and are now facing trial before a General Court Martial for violation of Article of War 97 Conduct Prejudicial to Good Order and Military Discipline.

As to the officers who were ordered to be arrested, Arevalo said the Philippine Military Academy where they are assigned will take appropriate action.

“We once more commit to the court that we will cooperate and, when needed, assist in the swift dispensation of justice. We owe it to the people–especially to the parents of the late Cadet Darwin Dormitorio—and the community of PMA Alumni,” he added.

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