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General Trias police chief relieved from post after death of curfew violator

The chief of police of General Trias City in Cavite has been relieved from his post amid the death of a curfew violator allegedly due to excessive punishment.

Although Police Lieutenant Colonel Marlo Solero had denied that they subject curfew violators to physical exercise as punishment, two quarantine violators said otherwise, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Wednesday.

The PNP said based on the sworn affidavits of the two violators, policemen made them do knee bender exercises as punishment.

“Cavite PPO has relieved the COP of Gen Trias after finding out that 2 of the quarantine violators executed sworn affidavits that they indeed were made to do physical exercises (knee bender) by two GT policemen earlier relieved pending the investigation,” the PNP said.

PNP spokesperson Police Brigadier General Ildebrandi Usana said Solero and the two cops involved are placed under the supervision of Cavite Police provincial director Police Colonel Marlon Santos.

Usana said Santos validated the information from the witnesses “that may probably be one of the preceding causes of the death of Mr. Darren Peñaredondo.”

Usana identified the two police personnel who allegedly required physical exercises to seven quarantine violatorsas Police Corporal Jerome Vibar and Police Corporal Kenneth Mercene.

Investigation is being conducted by the Cavite Provincial Police Office.

“This is to also assure that the PNP does not tolerate any act that is inimical to the best interest of our people, particularly the aggrieved parties in the Peñaredondo case,” Usana said.

Usana clarified that physical exercises are not bad, but pointed out that excessive physical exercise could be harmful to a person with medical history.

Peñaredondo died on Saturday after allegedly being forced to do around 300 rounds of a pumping exercise as punishment for violating curfew.

His live-in partner, Reichelyn Balce, said he was arrested by village watchmen on April 1. She said Peñaredondo only went out to buy mineral water but was arrested and brought to the General Trias Police Station.

Arrested persons were ordered to do pumping exercises 100 times, according to her. However, the violators had to repeat the exercise because they were not in sync. Balce said Peñaredondo told her he has a heart disease.

Three days after he was arrested, Peñaredondo started having seizures and was rushed to a hospital where he eventually died.

Solero denied the allegation, saying they never imposed physical exercise as punishment for violators.

Solero said Barangay Tejero officers brought Peñaredondo to their police station. According to him, they took a picture of the violators before their release to assure that they were turned over to barangay officials in good physical condition.

He said violators are usually released to barangay officers around 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. after their community service. —KBK, GMA News