Marawi commander assumes PMA post

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 26 Sept) – The military administrator of Marawi City has been named commandant of cadets of the Philippine Military Academy following the scandal that rocked the premier military school.

Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. at Kampo Ranao in Marawi City. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., who was chief of the 103rd Infantry Brigade based in Marawi, is replacing Brig. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro.

Lt. Gen. Noel Clement, Armed Forces Chief of Staff, also designated Navy Vice Commander Rear Admiral Allan Ferdinand Cusi as the academy’s superintendent officer-in-charge, replacing Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista.

Evangelista and Bacarro resigned last Tuesday following the death of 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio allegedly due to hazing.

The 20-year-old cadet from Cagayan de Oro, who would have been a member of PMA Class 2023, died last Sept.18 from cardiac arrest secondary to internal injuries due to supposed maltreatment inside the country’s premier military school.

Police named at least five PMA cadets for the alleged maltreatment of Dormitorio.

Brawner fought against remnants of the Daesh-inspired Maute gunmen who took control of Marawi City in 2017.

A member of PMA “Makatao” Class of 1989, Brawner hails from Baguio City and Ifugao province.

He was one the 10 outstanding Philippine soldiers of the Metrobank Foundation and Rotary Club of Makati.

Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo overseeing elections in Marawi City in May 2019. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo, Brawner’s deputy, took over the command of the 103IB.

Cuerpo said he will follow the military doctrine set by Brawner in combatting the Islamic militants and around 100 communist rebels who threatened the security in Lanao del Sur.

A native of Iligan City, Cuerpo belongs to PMA Class 1990 (“Bigkis-lahi”).

As deputy brigade commander, he was among the military officers who contributed to the liberation of Marawi City from the ISIS-Maute terrorists group after five months of battle.

Cuerpo will sustain the military’s role in providing security support to Task Force Bangon Marawi in the debris clearing operations and the rehabilitation of the Most Affected Area.

The Iligan Bay Chamber of Industries Security Alliance lauded the develoment and welcomed the new leadership of the 103IB. (Froilan Gallardo, with reports from Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)