Cops probe abduction of 2 Cebu activists
CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — The Central Visayas Police Regional Office has started looking into the alleged abduction of two Cebu-based development workers who were forced into a vehicle by unidentified men after they disembarked from a ship at Pier 6 here on Jan. 10.
Brig. Gen. Jerry Bearis, regional police director, said there was a need to conduct a “deep, thorough and impartial” probe on the abduction of Armand Dayoha and his fiancée Dyan Gumanao.
“PRO-7 (Police Regional Office in Central Visayas) assures transparency in the investigation and we shall immediately update the parties once we secure developments on this case,” he said in a statement.
Abandoned in resort
The statement was released on Tuesday, a day after Dayoha and Gumanao were found abandoned in a resort in Carmen town, about 41 kilometers north of Cebu City. Appeals for help from their families and friends became viral on social media on Jan. 14, four days after their disappearance.
Their relatives reported the couple missing after they failed to contact them shortly after they arrived in Cebu City after spending their Christmas break in Cagayan de Oro City. Since then, reports about their disappearance, as well as appeal to find or surface them, were shared on social media.
A video taken by a concerned citizen showed that Gumanao and Dayoha were forced into a silver sport utility vehicle by a group of men shortly after their arrival at Pier 6. A voice of a woman repeatedly shouting, “Help them!” could be heard in the clip but none of the bystanders responded.
Gumanao and Dayoha were later abandoned in a resort in Carmen after they were detained and interrogated in separate rooms. They have yet to talk publicly about their ordeal.
Bearis said he hoped that Dayoha, 27, and Gumanao, 28, would cooperate in the investigation.
“Their presence will fast-track the investigation and their blow-by-blow account of what transpired will shed light [on the identity of] the perpetrators,” he said.
“We request their cooperation with the investigation. We hope and request for full cooperation of all concerned in the investigation,” he added.
In an interview over ANC’s “Rundown” on Tuesday, Lt. Col. Gerard Ace Pelare, Central Visayas police spokesperson, said policemen had nothing to do with the alleged abduction of Dayoha and Gumanao.
“It’s not the policy of the police to just do these things. What we do is we arrest people after we find evidence against them, then we charge them in court. That is how our criminal justice system works,” Pelare said.
“The (Philippine National Police) is not involved in this particular case and the fact that the two victims are now safe could really help us investigate [and] really know what happened in this case,” he added.
Dennis Abarrientos, the spokesperson for human rights watchdog Karapatan-Central Visayas, said that before Dayoha and Gumanao were abducted, they had been tailed by unidentified persons after they participated in a Human Rights Day protest on Dec. 10, 2022.
They are graduates of the University of the Philippines Cebu (UP Cebu).
Gumanao is a cum laude graduate of mass communication while Dayoha received his psychology degree from the state university. Dayoha is finishing his second degree, in fine arts, at the same university.
In June 2020, Gumanao was among eight activists arrested by policemen during an antiterror bill rally near the gate of UP Cebu.
Policemen claimed the rally violated a ban on mass gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The eight activists were charged with violating the law on reporting of communicable diseases but a local court dismissed the charges against them three months later.
But the cases filed against them for staging a rally without a permit and for disobedience to an agent or a person in authority are pending in court.
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