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General Trias police chief relieved over quarantine violator's death

Two days after the reported death of Darren Peñaredondo, the 28-year-old man who died after being forced to do 300 pumping exercises, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced that the police chief of General Trias, Cavite, along with two other policemen, have been relieved from their posts.

In a phone interview with Rappler, PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Ildebrandi Usana confirmed that Police Lieutenant Colonel Marlo Nillo Solero was relieved and will be reassigned to the provincial headquarters of Cavite police in Imus, Cavite.

Two unnamed police officers will join Solero in the reassignment.

Peñaredondo was confirmed to have died due to a stroke, according to the copy of his death certificate obtained by Rappler.

On April 1, Darren Peñaredondo was nabbed by the barangay tanod (village guards) for violating the curfew in General Trias City in Cavite. As a punishment, he and the other violators were ordered to do 100 rounds of squats. This was further increased to a total of 300 rounds of the exercise.

The following day, Peñaredondo died and his family blamed the death on the exertion he went through the night before. He was just buying mineral water past 6 pm, according to his family.

Initially, General Trias police chief Police Lieutenant Colonel Marlo Nillo Solero denied the allegations of Peñaredondo's family, saying they do not have such a punishment for quarantine violators.

“So sa claim po na pumping, wala po kaming binibigay na ganoong punishment sa kanila. Instead, we’re conducting lectures po,” Solero said in a phone interview with Rappler.

(As to the claims of pumping, we don’t give such a punishment. Instead, we conduct lectures.)

But based on the investigation of Cavite provincial police, two General Trias policemen ordered Peñaredondo and 6 other quarantine violators to do the squats on April 1.

The PNP added that two quarantine violators, in sworn affidavits, supported the claim of Peñaredondo that they were made to do extensive exercise as a curfew punishment.

“The provincial director of Cavite Provincial Police Office has relieved the chief of police of General Trias after finding out that two of the quarantine violators [have] executed sworn affidavits that they were made to do physical exercises (knee bender) by two General Trias policemen,” the PNP said in a message to reporters.

Police added they are currently preparing administrative and criminal complaints against the policemen involved.

On April 6, the Commission on Human Rights condemned the incident and said such a punishment for curfew violators was an overreach of quarantine rules. The commission also emphasized that quarantine protocols were implemented for public health emergencies and not for peace and order. – Rappler.com