Cebu activists report of being followed before abduction

John Sitchon

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Cebu activists report of being followed before abduction

Development workers and labor rights advocates Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha reunite with their family members after a press conference at the University of the Philippines-Cebu on January 21, 2023. The two discussed what transpired on the day that they were abducted in broad daylight by men in plainclothes, who introduced themselves as police officers, on the morning of January 10, 2023. Photo by Jacqueline Hernandez

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

Development worker Dyan Gumanao says they filed complaints on December 6, 2022, at the Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas after experiencing multiple incidents of being followed by suspected state agents

CEBU, Philippines – Activist Armand Dayoha revealed during a Martial Law remembrance forum on Thursday, September 21, that he and his partner were repeatedly stalked by suspicious individuals in 2021 up to the events leading to their abduction on January 10, 2023.

According to Dayoha, on January 22, 2021, he and fiancé Dyan Gumanao were leaving a protest commemorating the 1987 Mendiola Massacre in downtown Cebu, when they noticed that they were being followed by a suspicious individual.

Both activists made their way to SM City from Colon street in Cebu City and then, to Ayala Center Cebu, still noticing the stalker on their trail. 

Upon confrontation, they took a picture of the stalker and proceeded to Mabolo Police Station in order to file a complaint there. 

“At the police station, we waited for 3 hours, 4 hours. They presented a different person,” Dayoha said in a mix of English and Cebuano.

Dayoha told Rappler that he could still remember how the individual was dressed exactly like the stalker but had a completely different physical appearance and build.

Gumanao, in a chat message sent to Rappler Thursday afternoon, confirmed that this was not the last time that they were followed. 

In early December, she said, there were suspected state agents following them and their peers.

On December 6, 2022, Gumanao, along with members of progressive youth organizations, filed multiple complaints at the regional office of the Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas (CHR-7) and called for an investigation on the matter.

A month later, Gumanao and Dayoha were abducted in a crowded pier on January 10, triggerring a multi-sectoral campaign to erupt nationwide. 

They were released and reunited with their friends and families on January 16. 

On September 19, Gumanao vowed to bring their case and the twin abductions of environmental activists Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro to international attention at the 54th United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session. –

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