De Lima seeks probe on ECQ deaths, human rights violations | Inquirer News
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De Lima seeks probe on ECQ deaths, human rights violations

/ 12:49 PM April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday called for a Senate investigation into the human rights violations committed during the last reimplementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), saying that it was a continuation of the government’s “campaign of systemic violence”.

In Senate Resolution No. 703, De Lima states that the senseless deaths of reported curfew violators under the hands of authorities during ECQ are manifestations of “clear abuse of power by the government.”

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“This series of beatings which led to deaths of innocent victims is a demonstration of how the government is continuing with its campaign of systemic violence, climate of fear and impunity among officials and lack of regard for human rights,” De Lima said in a statement.

“Measures must be taken to ensure respect of our constitutionally-guaranteed rights, especially by the State who is duty-bound to maintain peace and order, to protect life, liberty, and property and to promote the general welfare of the public,” she added.

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On the first day of reimplementation of ECQ in the so-called National Capital Region (NCR) Plus on March 29, more than 5,400 violators of curfew and minimum health safety protocols were apprehended in the said region.

Among the controversial incidents that De Lima cited in the SR are the deaths of quarantine violators Darren Manaog Peñaredondo and Ernanie Jimenez.

Peñaredondo was nabbed by the barangay tanods of Brgy. Tejero, Cavite last April 1 after he was seen buying drinking water past 6pm.

After he was caught, authorities ordered him to do 300 rounds of pumping exercise as punishment for violating curfew protocols.

Hours later, he experienced seizures, lost consciousness, and had a stroke. He eventually died.

Jimenez on the other hand died on April 9 after being arrested and beaten up by barangay tanods for going outside his residence at 10pm to buy food. 

Barangay tanods allegedly snapped when Jimenez asked if he could go to the bathroom, causing the victim to run away out of fear.

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After getting caught again, witnesses say the tanods beat Jimenez up, causing him to sustain numerous bruises, wounds, and a broken skull.

A few days later, the Philippine National Police then released a statement that police are barred from arresting and punishing quarantine violators. 

The senator also cited previous incidents which occurred on the first implementation of the ECQ last year.

Among them was army veteran Winston Ragos who was shot and killed by police officers alleging that Ragos was carrying a loaded revolver inside his bag.

Multiple witnesses, however, claimed that the victim had no firearms during the incident.

Because of these cases, De Lima said there is an urgent need to conduct an investigation and to hold accountable the public officers responsible for the “numerous attacks on our citizens right to life, liberty and property during the reimplementation of the ECQ.”

“If the COVID-19 pandemic persists which requires re-implementation of lockdowns and other mobility restrictions on citizens, the rules of engagement with and treatment of violators must be clarified as to ensure that no unnecessary injury or death is caused by abuse or misunderstanding by the quarantine implementers,” said De Lima.

“Moving forward, government must craft policies that will ensure respect for basic human rights and avoid future violation of rights,” she added.

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TAGS: Coronavirus, Curfew, Leila de Lima, NCR Plus, Senate
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