Son of retired PAF man tops PMA class

Son of retired PAF man tops PMA class

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City, Philippines — The 22-year-old son of a retired Philippine Air Force (PAF) technical sergeant from Lipa City, Batangas topped the Philippine Military Academy (PMA)’s Madasigon (Mandirigmang may Dangal Simbolo ng Galing at Pagbangon) Class of 2023.

“It was my childhood dream (to become a pilot),” First Class Cadet Warren Leonor said.

The PAF service is in the Leonors’ blood. Aside from his father, retired T/Sgt. Joel Leonor, the PMA Class of 2023 valedictorian’s inspiration to becoming a pilot at a young age, 10 other close relatives are in the same branch of service in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Straight from senior high school at the Lipa National High School, the younger Leonor entered the PMA four years ago and went on to succeed in fulfilling his childhood dream that he is offering to his family.

“My success is my family’s success,” he said.

Leonor bested 310 of his mistahs, who will graduate on May 21 before President Marcos, who, as the Commander-in-Chief, is the guest of honor and speaker at ceremonies at the Borromeo Field.

Two hundred fifty-nine members of the Madasigon class are males while 52 are females – five of them in the top 10.

Being class valedictorian and graduating cum laude, Leonor will get the Presidential Saber, Philippine Air Force Saber for also topping his class in the Air Force training, Australian Defense Best Overall Performance Award, National Security Studies Plaque, Academic Group Award, Management Plaque, Special Sciences Plaque, Tactics Group Award, Air Force Professional Courses Plaque, SPDU Plaque, General Antonio Luna Award, JUSMAG Saber and Spanish Armed Forces Award.

Graduating salutatorian is Cadet First Class Edmundo Logronio, 23, a farmer’s son from Manito, Albay who, like Leonor, went straight from SHS to the PMA four years ago.

The outspoken Logronio, who is heading to the Philippine Army (PA), will receive the Vice Presidential Saber from Vice President Sara Duterte, Australian Defense Best Overall Performance Award, Aguinaldo Saber, Philippine Army Saber, Department of Tactical Officers Plaque and Army Professional Courses Plaque.

“We are ready to be deployed in the field because the PMA has prepared us holistically – academic, character, military and physical,” Logronio vowed, speaking on behalf of the class.

Placing third in the graduating class is Butuanon Nicole Sarmiento, 22, who will also head to the PA.

The incoming Army second lieutenant, like four others among her female mistahs in the top 10, “never did see gender as a hindrance to reach my goal.” Sarmiento will receive the Secretary of National Defense Saber.

Ranking fourth is Zhen Zhen Cayton, 23, from Dupax del Norte, Nueva Vizcaya, who like Leonor, is going to the PAF, while in fifth place is Rez Mark Cantor, 22, from Bugallon, Pangasinan, who is going to the Philippine Navy (PN).

Also graduating cum laude like Leonor, Cantor will receive the Philippine Navy Saber and Australian Defense Best Overall Performance Award.

The rest of the top 10 are half Tausug-Igorot Rojan Macario, 21, from Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City, PA, in sixth place; Samuel Banac, 22, from West Fairview, Quezon City, PAF (No. 7); Kimberly Kate Lawingan, 22, from Sadanga, Mountain Province, PN (No. 8); Rico Jay Fernandez, 21, from Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, PN (No. 9) and Arla Crish Bahingawan, 23, from Kiangan, Ifugao, PAF (No. 10).

Fernandez will receive the Association of Generals and Flag Officers Inc. Award and the Department of Leadership Plaque, while Bahingawan will receive the Department of Humanities Plaque and Chief Justice Saber.

“Your hard work has paid off,” PMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Rowen Tolentino told Leonor, other members of the Madasigon Class of 2023’s top 10 and class achievers presented to journalists at the Longayban Hall yesterday morning.

“Make your alma mater proud!” Tolentino added.

The PMA chief also thanked the men and women who were responsible for these cadets’ success.

Their parents “were the wind beneath their wings” to soar like Leonor, who would soon be flying fixed-wing fighter aircraft, “not anymore as back rider, but as main pilot,” according to Tolentino.

All five female cadets graduating in the top 10 of their class said gender was never an issue at the PMA.

“The PMA has no gender discrimination,” Cayton said.

“The PMA ensures all gender are given equal opportunity. Being a female did not at all affect how we perform (at the Academy),” Macario said.

“The PMA is a very inclusive community,” Lawingan and Bahingawan said in unison.

Males or females, “all are ready to be assigned in combat units” in the mission to safeguard Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to Tolentino.


Meanwhile, measures preventing hazing or maltreatment have been put in place, the PMA vowed yesterday during the presentation of the Madasigon Class of 2023 top 10.

A corrective training policy has been instituted, according to PMA Commandant of Cadets Army Brig. Gen. Julius Tomines, as he explained that issues among cadets are addressed immediately with mechanisms already in place to prevent wrongdoing among upperclassmen.

Hazing victim Cadet Fourth Class Darwin Dormitorio, who died at the PMA due to apparent hazing four years ago, would have been a member of the Madasigon Class of 2023.

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