MANILA (UPDATE) - Police in the province of Laguna are searching for 2 village watchmen tagged in the death of a 26-year-old man after they allegedly beat him up for violating a region-wide curfew.
Police report said Ernanie Lumban Jimenez, collapsed after sustaining injuries from the incident involving watchmen of Barangay Turbina at 11 p.m. last Wednesday. He died at the Calamba Medical Center Hospital before noon on Friday.
The report said Jimenez was accosted for supposedly violating the curfew last Wednesday. Laguna police spokesperson Lt. Col. Chitadel Gaoiran said Jimenez was looking for work, according to investigation.
Representatives from Barangay Turbina told police Jimenez tried to flee when he was brought to the village hall to urinate.
"Sa side nung barangay, sinabing nagkahabulan sila dahil umano nagtangkang tumakas ito. Sa pagkahabulan ay nadapa o natapilok ang tao kaya po siya ay natumba at nabagok ang ulo," Gaoiran told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(On the barangay's side, they said they chased the victim when he attempted to flee. The victim fell down which was why he hit his head.)
A relative, however, told police that Jimenez was kicked by village watchmen, causing him to fall and hit his head.
"Sa side ng victim, ito ay minaltrato at binugbog kaya 'yun po ang sanhi na siya ay natumba at nabagok ang ulo," Gaoiran said.
(On the side of the victim's family, they said he was maltreated and beaten which was why he fell and hit his head.)
Police have identified the watchmen as Arjay Abierta and Joel Ortiz.
Authorities are still waiting for the victim's death certificate and the result of his autopsy.
A native of Guinayangan, Quezon, Jimenez' remains were brought home to be buried there this week.
Curfew violators, unless charged with a crime, are usually sent home after being issued violation tickets or receiving warnings from enforcers, according to Gaoiran.
"Of course maximum tolerance po tayo at depende po kasi sa bawat bayan at city na pinapatupad na ordinansa," she said.
(Of course we implement maximum tolerance and it depends on each town and city's local ordinance.)
"Hanggat sa maaari di kami magkukulong unless may talagang compelling reason para gawin ito."
(We try not to arrest them unless there's compelling reason to do so.)
Earlier this month, Darren Peñaredondo died from injuries after being allegedly being forced to do exercises for being outside during curfew in General Trias, Cavite.
Following the incident, the Philippine National Police said their personnel should merely issue warnings and get documentation of curfew violators before immediately releasing them.
Laguna, adjacently south of Metro Manila, is part of the “National Capital Region (NCR) Plus Bubble” which for 2 weeks until April 11 has been under enhanced community quarantine.
The curfew during the period was from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.
With the region reverting to the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine beginning Monday, curfew hours have been moved to 8 p.m.