MANILA — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) condemned Monday the government's curfew policy that allegedly led to the death of a 26-year-old violator in Calamba, Laguna last week.
"It is strongly condemnable that the curfew policy, which is supposed to protect our right to health, became the reason for the deprivation of the utmost right to life. Beating a person over a minor offense may be tantamount to torture—an attack to human dignity instead of a corrective measure," the commission's spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said in a statement.
Several mayors in Metro Manila and nearby provinces imposed a curfew over 2 weeks ago to arrest the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
Police report said victim 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. A relative, however, told police that Jimenez was kicked by village watchmen, causing him to fall and hit his head.
The CHR said the incident was "deeply concerning" in the wake of a similar case that happened in Gen. Trias, Cavite a few days before.
"Such excessive punishment can be considered as grave abuse of authority and those who shall be proven to have committed an overreach must be held accountable."
The commission reiterated its call for the government to exercise "compassionate and human rights-based approach" instead of intense physical punishments or excessive fines to quarantine violators.
A similar suggestion was proposed by the Department of Justice after the death of the Cavite curfew violator.
CHR said they have a launched a separate probe over Jimenez's death.