February 3, 2023

The Philippine Military Academy has reported it will look into the mental health of its personnel as it does with the cadets, following the shooting incident that led to the death of an Air Force personnel and the wounding of another soldier on Sept. 29.

Ina statement, PMA Spokesman Maj. Cherryl Tindog said the academy is saddened by the incident and added it will attend to the mental health of its military personnel.

“In coordination with stakeholders, the Academy will continue to provide psycho-social intervention to identify and help its personnel who may have mental problems, similar to what has been done for our cadets. This is PMA’s commitment to its personnel for them to remain psychologically fit for any mission given them” the statement reads.

Police reported a shooting incident in the afternoon of Sept. 29 inside the academy barracks where three military personnel reportedly had a heated argument due to a misunderstanding.

Police investigators said the suspect, whose name has been withheld pending further investigation, has fired upon Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeofrey Torqueza and Army Staff Sgt. Vivencio Raton using his M16 rifle.

Torqueza died while Raton and the suspect were wounded and were rushed to the PMA Station Hospital but were transferred to the Baguio General Hospital.

Raton died on Oct. 1 while being treated at the hospital.

The suspect, who was reported to have shot himself after attacking his colleagues, died on Sept. 30.

Tindog said based on PMA’s initial investigation, the suspect, a second-class Air Force airman, had been struggling with mental health issues.

“Our soldiers, like any other person, may have been silently struggling with such ordeal. Hence, the Academy is now, more than ever, committed to attend to the mental health not only of our cadets, but more so of every military personnel,” PMA statement added.

The military institution said it is coordinating with the police for an impartial probe and speedy resolution of the case.

“Inasmuch as this incident is an isolated case, the PMA community is doing its best to look into every detail leading to the incident and provide the necessary solutions to ensure that no similar case will happen in the future.”

PMA also extended its condolences to Torqueza’s family and assured that all the necessary support will be accorded them.

During a press conference on Sept. 30, Baguio City Police Office Director, Col. Allen Rae Co, said they are working on the charges to be filed against the suspect. – Jane B. Cadalig