Philippines: Man breaking Covid-19 restrictions dies after exercise punishment

A Filipino man who was found breaking quarantine rules has died after being made to do 300 squat-like exercises by police as punishment, his family said.

Darren Manaog Penaredondo was allegedly stopped by officers while buying water after 6pm local time in Cavite province on Thursday.

He collapsed the following day and later died.

Cavite province, on the island of Luzon, is currently under strict lockdown to tackle the spread of Covid.

Marlo Solero, police chief of General Trias City, 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 Mr Penaredondo and others found violating the curfew were told to do 100 squat-like exercises in sync together.

If they failed to do them at the same time, they would have to repeat the set, he said. The group ended up doing 300 of the exercises.

Mr. Penaredondo came home at 0600 on Friday morning in pain, his brother said.

“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,” Reichelyn Balce said.

The following day he collapsed and stopped breathing. Ms Balce asked the neighbours to help revive him, but he reportedly died not long after.

Ony Ferrer, Mayor of General Trias City, said he had ordered the chief of police to conduct a thorough investigation. He described 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 there were cases where police and local officials had confined people to dog cages and others were forced to sit in the midday sun.

During a television address on Thursday, 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.”