The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has requested for an investigation to be conducted on the death of a curfew violator in Cavite, who allegedly died after being punished by Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel for violating ECQ protocols.

According to DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, a directive has already been released for an immediate inquiry into the man’s death. He shares that their department is already cooperating with the PNP and is now in close contact with the local government of General Trias – the area where the incident occurred.

“Nagbigay na po tayo ng direktiba na imbestigahan agad-agad kung meron bang mga paglabag sa protocol o  kaya naman nagkaroon ng irregularidad ‘yung ating mga kapulisan,” Malaya said in an interview with GMA’s Unang Balita

According to his family, Darren Peñaredondo died on Black Saturday (April 3) – a few days after he was allegedly held by PNP officers and was forced to undergo 300 repeated pumping exercises as punishment for breaking the curfew. 

Peñaredondo was supposedly buying mineral water outside when he was nabbed by village guards and brought to the General Trias Police Station.

In a phone interview with Rappler, Peñaredondo’s live-in partner, Reichelyn Balce, said he arrived home a day before his death (April 2) complaining about body aches and was unable to move due to fatigue. Later, in the day he suffered seizures. 

Balce noted that Peñaredondo was already suffering from a heart condition even before the events took place. 

For Balce, the situation could have been avoided if violators were given a simpler punishment, noting community service could have sufficed.

“Sana sa susunod, puwede naman sigurong sitahin lang… Hindi naman tatambay eh, may bibilhin lang. Saka kung magpaparusa sila, ‘wag naman ganoon dahil hindi naman lahat ng tao ay physically fit. Community service, okay na ‘yun,” Balce said.

Meanwhile, General Trias police chief Police Lieutenant Colonel Marlo Nillo Solero denied the accusations saying there were no such punishments for ECQ violators.

“So sa claim po na pumping, wala po kaming binibigay na ganoong punishment sa kanila. Instead, we’re conducting lectures po,” Solero told Rappler.

On Monday, General Trias Mayor Antonio Ferrer confirmed that he already reached out to the victim’s family to offer support. 

Undersecretary Malaya said they’re waiting for initial investigations to conclude and assured the public that those responsible for  Peñaredondo’s death will be held accountable.

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Image credit: Ezra Acayan via Getty Images