PMA sacks swimming instructors over cadet’s death

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

THE Philippine Military Academy (PMA) has ordered the dismissal of two civilian personnel for negligence that led to the drowning of cadet 4th class Mario Telan Jr., an official said on Friday, November 22.

Robert Bete and Antonio Catalan, both instructors of Fundamentals of Swimming at the academy, were found “negligent and imprudent" in the conduct of the course which led to the death of Telan on November 10.

“With that, Mr Robert S. Bete, a regular employee of the Command, has been recommended for dismissal from the service with penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and barred from taking civil service examinations,” said PMA spokesperson Captain Cherryl Tindog.

“Likewise, the contract of Mr. Antonio Catalan, a job-order employee, is immediately terminated by PMA. He has also been recommended to the Civil Service Commission for cancellation of eligibility, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and barred from taking civil service exams,” she added.

The academy is still deliberating on the punishment to be meted to two 4th Class cadet marchers and the head of the Sports and Physical Development Unit. The two cadet marchers were responsible for making sure that all their classmates were accounted for before and after the swimming class.

Tindog said swimming classes remain suspended “until all safety measures have been covered and are in place.”

“The Academy is also arranging for the assignment of a team from the Philippine Navy Special Operations Group to be part of all water-borne training activities of the cadets,” she said.

“The PMA is committed to leaving no stone unturned on the case of Cdt 4Cl Telan, and will continue to institute measures for the safety of all cadets so that this tragic incident will not be repeated,” she added.

Telan drowned about two months after Cadet 4th class Darwin Dormitorio died from injuries sustained from hazing. (SunStar Philippines)