Philippine National Police

Administrative complaints filed vs General Trias cops over quarantine violator’s death

Jairo Bolledo

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Administrative complaints filed vs General Trias cops over quarantine violator’s death

ANOTHER ECQ CASUALTY. Darren Peñaredondo's family said he died after being forced to do 300 rounds of exercise for curfew violation in General Trias, Cavite on April 1, 2021.

Photo from Darren's Facebook Account

The cops who ordered Darren Peñaredondo to do hundreds of squats for a curfew violation face grave misconduct resulting in homicide and grave neglect of duty complaints

Administrative complaints have been filed against the sacked police chief of General Trias, Cavite, and two other policemen in relation to the death of quarantine violator Darren Peñaredondo in early April.

The Philippine National Police-Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) said in a news briefing on Monday, April 19, that Police Corporal Jerome Vibar and Police Corporal Kenneth Mercene face complaints of grave misconduct resulting in homicide and grave neglect of duty.

Vibar and Mercene had punished Peñaredondo, a curfew violator, with strenuous physical exercises believed to have caused his death two days later.

A grave neglect of duty complaint was filed against Lieutenant Colonel Marlo Nillo Solero, who was relieved of his post as General Trias police chief on April 7. Vibar and Mercene were also relieved of their posts on that day and were reassigned with Solero to the Cavite police headquarters in Imus.

On April 1, barangay tanod (village guards) in General Trias City nabbed Peñaredondo for violating the curfew and was brought to the police. As punishment, he was made to do 300 rounds of squats. He died of a stroke two days later.

Solero initially denied the allegation, claiming that they did not give such punishment to quarantine violators but PNP investigators tracked down two other quarantine violators who, in sworn affidavits, supported the claim of Peñaredondo that they ordered to do the strenuous physical exercise as punishment .

It was not the first reported incident of such type of punishment for quarantine violators in General Trias. In May 2020, General Trias cops made 30-year-old factory worker Ronald Campo to do strenuous physical exercises before allegedly beating him up.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) had condemned Peñaredondo’s death and said such a punishment for curfew violators was an overreach of quarantine rules.  The CHR also emphasized that quarantine protocols were implemented for public health emergencies and not for peace and order.

Following the April 1 incident, Cavite police chief Colonel Marlon Santos announced in a media interview on April 8 that quarantine violators in the province, including those still out during curfew hours, would no longer be arrested and would only be warned and fined. –

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.