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DILG orders probe on âpush-upâ death
DILG spokesman and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya directed Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne Binag and the local government of General Trias to conduct an investigation on the death of 28-year-old Darren Peñaredondo on April 3.
STAR/File

DILG orders probe on ‘push-up’ death

Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - April 7, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) yesterday ordered a probe into the death of a curfew violator in General Trias City, Cavite who was allegedly forced by police to do 300 squats as punishment for breaking quarantine protocols last week.

DILG spokesman and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya directed Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne Binag and the local government of General Trias to conduct an investigation on the death of 28-year-old Darren Peñaredondo on April 3.

“We gave a directive for an investigation if there were violations and irregularities committed,” Malaya said in a television interview.

The probe will cover the entire police force of General Trias and officials of Barangay Tejero who arrested Peñaredondo on April 1 for allegedly violating curfew.

Malaya said sanctions would be imposed on the police officers involved if it is proven they went overboard in imposing quarantine protocols.

He said they are supporting the recommendation of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra that quarantine violators should be punished with community service.

Local government units (LGUs) have passed ordinances imposing fines and even imprisonment on recidivist quarantine violators, while first-time offenders are released with a verbal warning.

Malaya said the penalties being imposed by LGUs are not within the authority of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The PNP Internal Affairs Service has also launched an investigation on the incident, IAS chief Alfegar Triambulo said.

Peñaredondo went out of the house to buy water when he was accosted by barangay officials, who turned him over to the local police.

Peñaredondo and seven other quarantine violators were allegedly subjected by police to do physical exercises as punishment for violating curfew hours. He and the others were sent home on Friday.

The victim’s partner, Reichelyn Balce, posted a video clip of Peñaredondo having difficulty sitting on the stairs of their house, and complained that his whole body ached, particularly his thighs and knees.

Peñaredondo’s relatives rushed him to hospital on Saturday after he suffered a seizure. He was pronounced dead at 9:49 p.m.

Lt. Col. Marlo Solero, General Trias police chief, denied they forced Peñaredondo and the other curfew violators to do physical exercises.

Solero said quarantine violators were lectured on the dangers of COVID-19 and ordered to do community service such as cleaning the municipal hall and police station grounds before they were sent home.

PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said investigators would get the testimonies of witnesses to shed light on the incident.

CHR probe

The Commission on Human Rights will also look into the death of Peñaredondo, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said.

De Guia said they would reach out to the family of Peñaredondo.

“We recognize the government’s position to restrict movement in the interest of public health and safety. However, we stress that quarantine measures are being implemented as a public health measure and not as a peace and order solution,” she said.

De Guia recommended the imposition of community service on quarantine violators instead of harsh physical exercises and fines, noting that these only add to the burden being felt by the poor and vulnerable sectors.

The CHR has reminded the government to treat the pandemic as a health crisis and not a peace and order problem.

On Monday, the commission also initiated a probe on the arrest of a doctor for biking without a face shield in Cainta, Rizal.

The doctor was supposedly arrested for disobedience after correctly pointing out that bikers are not required to wear face shields. – Janvic Mateo

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