But he was stopped by police and told to do “pumping exercises” 100 times, according to the report. Police made him repeat the exercises, meaning he ultimately did about 300 repetitions.
“He started to convulse on Saturday, but we were able to revive him at home. Then his body failed so we revived him again, but he was already comatose,” his family said, according to the report. Peñaredondo died at 10 p.m., the family said.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government and the mayor of General Trias city have ordered an investigation into Peñaredondo’s death, according to the report.
“All police officers who will be proven to have violated the law will be prosecuted and meted with appropriate (administrative) and criminal penalties,” the department’s undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a text message to CNN Philippines.
Peñaredondo’s death follows a string of incidents involving brutal policing techniques.
Jose Manuel Diokno, a lawyer and founder of Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), said it was not legal to lock people up in cages or make people squat 300 times. “The only penalties that can be imposed by law enforcers for any kind of violations are those found in local law and national law, and we don’t have any laws that allow people to be put in dog cages or be made to exercise for long periods of time,” he said.
A tough approach to Covid restrictions
The Philippines has taken a tough approach to containing coronavirus.
Lockdown orders had also harmed people who need to leave their homes to work, he said, adding the measures were “very anti-poor.”
Decline in freedoms
Brutal policing methods have been an issue for years in the Philippines. Since Duterte came to power in 2016, thousands have died in the “war on drugs” after the president ordered police to kill anyone they believed to be connected to the drugs trade.
But activists say the pandemic has further degraded freedoms and human rights.
According to Conde, the key problem is the government is treating Covid-19 as a public safety issue — not a health concern. The outsized roles given to military and police had only increased the prevalence of aggressive policing tactics, he said.
“I think the police, the military and the local government, they have been emboldened to commit human rights violations even more during the pandemic,” he said.
Diokno, the lawyer, said authorities had “just taken a cue from their leader,” referring to Duterte.
Diokno said human rights had “very clearly” been degraded over the pandemic. “Aside from the lives that have been lost, the first victims of the pandemic were democratic rights and freedoms,” he said.