PH lawmakers call for probe after Filipino man dies doing 300 squats as punishment for breaking curfew

ON GUARD. Barangay Immaculate Conception personnel guard the entrance of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral Church, Quezon City on Thursday (April 8, 2021) during the 2nd-day cash aid distribution. They strictly enforced the basic health protocols for those entering the venue such as wearing a face mask, face shield, temperature check, applying hand sanitizer, and social distancing. (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

PHILIPPINE lawmakers are calling for an investigation into the death of an alleged quarantine violator who was forced to do 300 rounds of squats as punishment.

Bayan Muna Reps. Eufemia Cullamat, Carlos Zarate, and Ferdinand Gaite on Wednesday, April 7, filed House Resolution No. 1697, urging members of Congress to defend the human rights of Filipinos.

“It is imperative for members of Congress, as representatives of our people, to defend the rights of our people and check on excesses and violations committed against them, especially in this time of crisis,” they said.

“Laws and rules should serve the interest of our proper, and should not be weaponized to suppress their rights and oppress them,” the lawmakers added.

On April 1, 28-year-old Darren Manaog Peñaredondo nabbed by village guards (barangay tanod) while he was on his way to buy water during curfew hours in a village in General Trias, Cavite.

He was ordered to do 100 rounds of squats as punishment for violating curfew. The enforcers also reportedly made him repeat the exercises, leading him to do a total of 300 rounds.

Peñaredondo returned home on April 1, and died from a stroke the following day.

“Umuwi po siya ng Friday ng 8 a.m. ng umaga hindi na sya makalakad ng maayos.. Tapos sabado ng madaling araw nag-comvulsion siya na-revive pa namin siya sa bahay… Sinumpong ulet siya na-revive ulet kaya lang comatose na siya. Hanggang ngayong 10 p.m. wala na (He went home on Friday at 8 a.m. and he couldn’t walk properly. In the middle of the night on Saturday, he started convulsing but we managed to review him. It happened again and we revived him but he was already comatose. As of 10 p.m., he’s gone),” wrote Peñaredondo’s cousin Adrian Luceña in a Facebook post.

Rights group Karapatan likewise called for an investigation into the incident.

“We call for the investigation on this incident on the possible violations of the Anti-Torture Law among others. Law enforcement officials who impose cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment should be held accountable,” Karapatan Secretary General Tinay Palabay said in a Facebook post.

The country’s Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said that the punishment was an overreach of quarantine rules.

“Excessive punishments and fines which are punitive in nature and disproportionate with the violation represent an overreach of the enforcement of quarantine rules and regulations,” said CHR spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia in a statement.

She also stressed that the quarantine measures are for public health, not for peace and order.

“We stress that quarantine measures are being implemented as a public health measure and not as a peace and order solution – this is the rationale as previously espoused by the Chief Executive himself when he stated that the quarantine is not tantamount to martial law,” said De Guia.

Following the incident, General Trias police chief, Police Lt. Col. Marlo Solero, and two other cops were relieved from their post.

Ritchel Mendiola
Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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