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Priest slams death of quarantine violator in Philippines

Arrested man dies after 'being made to do excessive exercises as punishment'

Priest slams death of quarantine violator in Philippines

Father Ranhilio Aquino said the alleged punishment was inhuman. (Photo supplied)

A Catholic priest in the Philippines has condemned the death of a Covid-19 curfew violator in Cavite province, south of Manila, after authorities allegedly forced him to do 300 squat exercises that led to him having a seizure and heart failure.

Father Ranhilio Aquino, dean of San Beda Graduate School of Law in Manila, said the alleged punishment was not only inhuman but against the Philippine constitution.

“I understand the necessity for restrictions, but no matter the threat, the constitution is supreme. The constitution was precisely crafted so that no matter how extreme the danger or the threat — and war is the farthest you can go — the law prevails,” said Father Aquino on social media.

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He was commenting on the death of 28-year-old Darren Penaredondo, who was nabbed by village guards on April 1 for buying drinking water during curfew hours.

The country’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases has imposed a 6pm to 5am curfew in Manila and four provinces, including Cavite.

Penaredondo’s partner said he was taken to the municipal hall after being arrested to do squat exercises 100 times.

He and other violators were allegedly told if they did not do the exercises together, everyone would repeat the routine until they were in sync. The demand resulted in them doing the exercise 300 times.

“When he came home [early the next day] he was assisted by a fellow quarantine violator. I asked if he had been beaten. He just smiled but it was obvious he was in pain,” Penaredondo’s partner told reporters.

Hours later he suffered seizures and heart failure.

“I asked our neighbors to give him CPR and his heart restarted but we lost him in the hospital,” said his partner, who did not wish to be named.

Father Aquino said nobody deserved to be arrested and detained in this way for any quarantine violation even if the state has the power to impose quarantine laws.

“The policing power of the state has well-recognized limits. It is not absolute, and not even in the name of the most pressing of emergencies can it set aside the rights of individuals.” Father Aquino said.

He said he would join legal experts should they decide to file a case with the Supreme Court to question the legality of Penaredondo’s punishment.

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