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Image of Darren Penaredondo

Philippines – Last Thursday, Darren Manaog Penaredondo, 28, took an evening trip to buy drinking water in the city of General Trias, a part of Cavite province. This late-night excursion would turn into his last. As the harmless trip to buy drinking water would put him in violation of the countries strict COVID protocols.

 

The country of Philippines is currently still experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. With more than 795,000 cases reported, in conjunction with death tolls at 13,425, the highest total of cases in South East Asia following Indonesia.

 

Many of the countries hospitals in the capital have become overwhelmed with the number of patients. In response to the increase of cases, the Philippine government had extended another national lockdown for an additional week this past Monday in an effort to decrease infection rates.

 

Because of this “enhanced community quarantine status” there are strict hours of a 6pm-5am curfew in place. Penaredondo along with another individual, were caught outside around 6pm.

Image: Darren and girlfriend Reichellyn Blace

According to Penaredondo’s partner Reichelyn Blace, she said Penaredondo and the other man were “brought to the Plaza Malabon in front of the municipal hall. And then, they were told to do pumping exercises (squats) 100 times.” In a statement obtained by Rappler.

 

There are allegations that authorities threatened the two men to repeat the exercises if they did not complete them in sync of each other. This demand led the pair to repeat this exercise a total of 300 times.

 

Penaredondo arrived home 8am the following day and could barely move because of the grueling ordeal. Balace said the man struggled to walk because of his pain. Adding that Penaredondo resorted to crawling on the floor from knee and thigh pains. As the day wore on he began to convulsive and go into seizures.

“His face turned violet, and his heart stopped beating.” Balce told Rappler.

 

A statement from Lieutenant Colnnel Mario Nilla Solero, the police chief in the city of General Trias, denies the allegations, telling media outlets no such punishment existed. “Instead, we conduct lectures,” said Solero.

While the case is still undergoing investigations of the alleged punishment, it is one not to be taken lightly. With a violent history of President Duterte’s regime during his years leading the Philippines, it is easy to see how Penaredondo’s death is not a figment of imagination.

In a televised statement, the same night of Penaredondo’s death President Duterte gave a grim warning to all citizens to stay in line during lockdown. A grizzly reminder that mirrors his infamous speech given last year:

“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”, the Philippine President said.

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