THE PHILIPPINE Military Academy (PMA) on Monday said it had relieved officers allegedly responsible for the death of a cadet for hazing.

“Officers with direct responsibility in the unfortunate incident have been relieved to pave the way for an impartial investigation,” PMA and the Baguio City Police Office said in a joint statement.

Police have identified three cadets as suspects, two others as so-called persons of interest and nine more as witnesses, according to the statement.

Presidential spokesman Salvador S. Panelo at a briefing in Malacañang said the head of the PMA should resign after the incident.

“The Office of the President condemns the barbaric practice of hazing in all its forms,” he said in a separate statement.

Mr. Panelo noted that Mr. Duterte enacted an anti-hazing measure last year “to ensure that all practices of hazing are checked and all practitioners thereof are penalized with the full weight of the law.”

He said authorities would implement this the law “as they leave no stone unturned” in the investigation of the cadet’s death.

Mr. Panelo said the palace commends the PMA for cooperating with the police in identifying the suspects.

“We at the same time lament that there is a failure in leadership as regard being negligent in not stopping this murderous ritual, which has no place in a civilized society,” he added.

Also yesterday, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the hazing death.

Cadet Darwin D. Dormitorio was found unconscious in his barracks on Sept. 18 and was rushed to the hospital. He died more than an hour later, according to the PMA. — Arjay L. Balinbin and Vann Marlo M. Villegas