Man Dies After Being Forced To Do Gruelling Physical Exercises As Punishment For Breaking Covid-19 Curfew
A man who was forced to do physical exercises by the police as punishment for breaking the Covid-19 curfew has died. The incident occured in General Trias, a city in Cavite province, Philippines.
According to his family, 28-year-old Darren Manaog Penaredondo attracted the ire of police officers when he left his home to buy some water on Thursday, April 1.
The 28-year-old was stopped and detained by the police who were enforcing the 6 pm to 5 am curfew imposed on Metro Manila and four other provinces.
Penaredondo and other curfew violators were transported to a police station where they were forced to do a gruelling physical workout. The police officers ordered the curfew breakers to perform “pumping exercises” 100 times. The pumping exercises are reported to be similar to squats but are said to be more painful.
The police ordered all the curfew breakers to perform the exercises in sync with each other. If they failed to do them at the same time, they would have to repeat the whole set. As a result, the group ended up doing 300 of the exercises.
According to Penaredondo’s wife, Reichelyn Balce, he only returned home around 6 AM the next day. She said that her husband who had a heart condition could barely walk when he returned home and was “in a lot of pain”.
Balce told local news outlet Rappler that Penaredondo struggled to move throughout Friday.
“That whole day, he struggled to walk, he was just crawling. But I did not take that seriously because he said it’s just a simple body ache.”
The family went on to say that Penaradondo collapsed and stopped breathing a day later.
“He started to convulse on Saturday, but we were able to revive him at home. Then his body failed so we revived him again, but he was already comatose,” his family said, according to the report. Peñaredondo died at 10 p.m., the family said.
The police have since confirmed that they are investigating Penaredondo’s death. National police spokesman Ildebrandi Usana told AFP,
“They were made to exercise 100 times. It’s a knee-bender exercise.
“It’s painful. If that’s the requirement, you will really pass out especially if you’re not used to it. Even policemen themselves find it difficult.”
Usana said the city’s police chief and two officers have been removed from their posts pending the results of an investigation into the incident.
Rights groups have previously raised concerns about excessive punishments for people caught breaching COVID-19 restrictions.
During last year’s months-long lockdown, police and officials held curfew violators in dog cages and forced them to sit in the midday sun as punishment, Human Rights Watch said.
The Philippines has taken a tough approach to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. In April last year, President Rodrigo Duterte said that the police would shoot dead anyone who violated virus restrictions. During a speech, Durtete said,
“I will not hesitate. My orders are to the police, the military and the barangays: If they become unruly and they fight you and your lives are endangered, shoot them dead,”
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