A Filipino man who was caught violating coronavirus restrictions was reportedly ordered by police to perform hundreds of exercises as punishment, and died a day later, amid concerns that authorities are abusing rule-breakers.
Darren Manaog Penaredondo was reportedly stopped by local security personnel in the City of General Trias, on the island of Luzon, while trying to buy water after curfew. The region is currently under strict lockdown.
According to local media reports, citing his family and his partner, the man was then taken to a nearby square, where along with other rule violators he was instructed to do 100 squat-like exercises. The police allegedly announced that the group would have to perform more exercises if they failed to do them in sync.
In total, Penaredondo was ordered to perform the move 300 times, a physically straining task which he is said to have carried out with some difficulty.
With the assistance of a fellow rule-breaker, he managed to hobble back home. His girlfriend initially thought that he had been beaten up. She said the following day he complained of severe aches in his knees and thighs. He struggled to walk and had to crawl on the floor to move around. Hours later, he suffered from a seizure and collapsed. A neighbor was able to perform CPR and briefly revive him. Penaredondo reportedly died shortly after.
The city’s mayor has ordered authorities to conduct an investigation into the case, describing the alleged punishment as “torture.”
The local police chief has insisted to the media that curfew violators are only supposed to receive lectures. He said physical punishment was not allowed and that there would be no tolerance for such cases.
This isn’t the first time that Filipino police have been accused of inhumane treatment of Covid rule breakers. Human Rights Watch released a report last month alleging that police and local authorities were putting curfew violators in dog cages and forcing them to sit in the sun as punishment.
Last week, the country’s President Rodrigo Duterte warned that anyone who disregarded the public health measures could be shot. The head of the national police later clarified that Duterte was trying to convey the seriousness of the health crisis, and stressed that no one would be gunned down.
The Philippines has registered more than 803,000 Covid cases, as well as 13,435 deaths linked to the illness, since the start of the pandemic.
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