A Filipino who was found breaking curfew collapsed and died after being made to do 300 squats by police as punishment, his family claims.
Cops allegedly stopped Darren Manaog Penaredondo while he was buying water after curfew in Cavite province, southwest of Metro Manila, currently under strict lockdown to tackle the spread of Covid-19.
The local police chief said there is no physical punishment for those found violating curfew rules, only lectures from officers. He told local media that if officers were found to have enforced the punishment, it would not be tolerated.
A relative of the victim, Adrian Lucena, announced his death on Facebook. He said Penaredondo and other curfew-breakers were told to do 100 squat-like exercises in sync together.
When they failed, they were forced to start again, he said. The group ended up doing 300 squats.
Penaredondo came home at 6am on Friday morning in pain, his brother said. His live-in partner told local news outlet Rappler that he had difficulty moving throughout the next day.
“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,” she said.
The following day he collapsed and stopped breathing. Neighbours helped her try to revive him, without success.
The local mayor condemned the alleged punishment as “torture”.
Earlier this month Human Rights Watch warned that rule-breakers in the Philippines were being abused. The rights group said they knew of cases where police and local officials had confined people to dog cages.
During a television address last week, President Rodrigo Duterte warned citizens not to defy lockdown rules, saying: “I will not hesitate. My orders are to the police and military, as well as village officials, if there is any trouble, or occasions where there’s violence and your lives are in danger, shoot them dead.”