MANILA - The police chief of General Trias in Cavite was relieved from his post following the death of a man who was made to do an intense physical exercise for violating the curfew, the Philippine National Police said Wednesday.
Police Lt. Col. Marlo Solero is now under the supervision of the director of the Cavite Police Provincial Office while investigation is ongoing, PNP spokesperson Police Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said in a statement.
"This is to assure that the PNP does not tolerate any act that is inimical to the best interest of our people, particularly the aggrieved parties in the Peñaredondo case," he said, referring to Darren Manaog Peñaredondo who died after being forced to perform a strenuous activity as punishment for supposedly violating the curfew.
The Cavite police found out that those who breached quarantine measures were made to do pumping exercise by 2 policemen from General Trias, Usana said.
Two people have executed sworn affidavits regarding the incident, he added.
The 2 cops were also relieved from duty.
Solero, in an earlier statement, denied imposing physical exercise as punishment of curfew violators.
"We never use physical exercise as a form of punishment. Community service lang (only)," he had told ABS-CBN News.
ABS-CBN News has reached out to the General Trias police for comment on the matter.
Peñaredondo was about to buy water on Thursday, April 1, when he was apprehended by village watchmen for supposedly violating the curfew.
Usana had said there were 7 quarantine violators who were reportedly turned over to police after they were caught by barangay officials.
Another violator, whose real name was withheld, said they were brought to the police station where they were given a lecture. They were later forced to perform more than 100 rounds of a pumping exercise.
Peñaredondo returned home on Friday, April 2, and reportedly had trouble walking.
He started having seizures on Saturday, April 3, but was revived. He died later from stroke.
Usana said in a previous statement that PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas "wanted no arrests" of quarantine violators, and prefers the imposition only of "warning and/or fines".
"Community service is better alternative," the police spokesman said.
Cavite is among four provinces immediately outside of Metro Manila that have been placed under enhanced community quarantine from March 29 until April 11, along with the capital region, to curb the alarming rise in new COVID-19 cases.
The Commission on Human Rights said that while it "recognizes the government’s position to restrict freedom of movement in the interest of public health and safety," quarantine measures must be implemented "not as a peace and order solution."
"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 Ann de Guia.
Concerned about the treatment and death of Peñaredondo, the CHR will conduct an independent investigation of the incident, de Guia said.
- With a report from Doland Castro, ABS-CBN News