12-year-old boy chased by Pasay tanods loses consciousness, dies

A 12-year-old boy lost consciousness and died while being chased by barangay tanods (village guards) in Pasay City, according to a police report released to reporters on Sunday, April 18.

In a sworn statement, the witness, Jaylord Zuniega, said the village guards identified as Relan Maquiling and Arturo Rontos chased John Dave Pepito along St. Peter street in Maricaban, Pasay City on Wednesday, April 14. 

During the chase, Pepito suddenly fell and lost consciousness. 

Pepito was immediately brought to the San Pablo Health Center and later transferred to the Protacio Hospital. Unfortunately, the victim was declared dead on arrival around 4:10 pm Wednesday. 

The cause of his death has yet to be determined, according to the police. 

Barangay officials said village guards Maquiling and Rontos had received a call on Wednesday, April 14, that minors were spotted playing along St. Peter street.

Pasay City has been under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) since April 12. Under this quarantine classification, individuals aged 17 and below and 65 and above are prohibited from going outdoors to curb the spread of COVID-19 infection.

The village guards then went to the area to verify the report, according to Pasay police. 

When the village guards arrived, they chased Pepito, who later on became unconscious.

Police officers tried to interview the victim's parents on Sunday, but they refused to give a statement on the incident. The case is still under investigation.

Pepito is the third recorded casualty caused by law enforcers since April 2021 or the start of stricter lockdowns in the so-called "NCR Plus" bubble.

On April 10, 26-year-old Ernanie Jimenez was reportedly killed by village guards in Barangay Turbina, Calamba City, Laguna. The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Calamba said Jimenez was repeatedly beaten.

After being nabbed for violating curfew hours, Jimenez was brought to the barangay hall. He asked permission to go pee after a few minutes, but the village guards did not allow him. Jimenez started running but was overtaken by the village guards, who then reportedly started beating him up.

Earlier on April 3, 28-year-old Darren Peñaredondo died in General Trias, Cavite, after being forced to do 300 rounds of squats by policemen as a punishment for violating curfew hours.

Following Jimenez's and Peñaredondo's deaths, the PNP said they would stop arresting curfew violators in places under MECQ. 

The Commission on Human Rights (CHD) had earlier said that quarantine measures are for public health and not for peace and order, noting that "quarantine is not tantamount to martial law." – Rappler.com