The Philippine National Police (PNP) is urging witnesses to come out and help in its ongoing investigation into the case of a curfew violator who died after he was reportedly required by policemen to do a strenuous body exercise in General Trias, Cavite.
Darren Peñaredondo, 28, died on Black Saturday, two days after he was arrested by barangay officials of General Trias, Cavite and turned him over to the police, who allegedly forced him to complete 300 rounds of squats as punishment for violating quarantine protocols.
The chief of the General Trias police, Lt. Col. Mario Celero, denied Peñaredondo was made to undergo such a physical punishment, saying it was even his men who rushed the victim to the hospital where he died.
“It was the chief of police of Gen. Trias po denying they ever imposed physical exercises on the quarantine violators. We will take his word for that. He even claimed they provided assistance to the victim’s family to bring him to the different hospitals,” PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said.
“But if there are witnesses to the contrary, the PNP in the region will be there to get their side for the conduct of an investigation,” he added.
Usana said there other quarantine violators who were at the police station at what time, and they should know that really happened.
“The truth must come out. After all, there were seven other quarantine violators referred accordingly by the apprehending barangay officials to the Gen. Trias Police,” he said.
“The investigation can get their side one by one to shed light on the case,” he added.
Usana said it was not a policy of the police to impose punishment against curfew violators, saying warning and fines will suffice.
“Even the CPNP [General Debold Sinas] himself wanted no arrests on ECQ violators, only warning and, or fines,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PNP said that its “Libreng-Sakay” program has served 13,378 stranded passengers since the Metro Manila and its nearby provinces plus were placed under ECQ on March 29.
Sinas said PNP’s heavy lift transport vehicles comprising two buses, five utility trucks, and two coasters alternately make regular round trips to and from designated pick-up and drop-off points within the city.
As supplies allow, Libreng-Sakay also provides face mask, bottled water and useful information materials to passengers, Sinas said.
PNP’s Libreng-Sakay vehicles ply seven regular routes from Edsa-Crame to Meycauayan, Bulacan and San Jose del Monte City in the North; Zapote, Bacoor, Cavite in the South; and Rodriguez, Rizal, Antipolo City and Taytay, Rizal in the East.
Sinas said Libreng-Sakay is further complemented by 1,317 PNP mobile assets of the National Capital Region Police Office which has so far logged 2,743 sorties ferrying 11,558 passengers from March 29-April 4.