CEBU, Philippines – Dyan Gumanao and Armand Jake Dayoha, development workers reported missing last January 13, have been reunited with their families.
Dayoha’s mother, Sarah Dayoha announced the development during a press conference held at the University of the Philippines-Cebu on Monday, January 16.
“Dako kaayo ming pasalamat kay nakuha na gyud namo, na -surface na gyud sila. Pero as ginikanan… siguro ko, naa pa na silay lawm nga giagian. (We are very thankful that we now have them, they have been surfaced. But, as a mother, I am sure that they are going through something much deeper still),” she said during the press briefer.
Family and friends were able to reunite with them the morning of January 16, with aid from the administration of the University of the Philippines-Cebu.
Prior to this, family and volunteers reportedly began negotiations for their release on the evening of Sunday, January 15. They did not provide the details of the UP-Cebu aid.
According to Dennis Abarrientos of KARAPATAN – Central Visayas, this was when Gumanao and Dayoha were left at a resort in Carmen, a northern municipality of Cebu Province 42 kilometers away from Cebu City.
They were retrieved from the same resort the following day.
Speakers in the press conference refuse to divulge more details on the negotiation as of now.
“Ang mahatag ra nato na detayle mao ang nakuha nato sila og balik, safely,” Regletto Imbong, President of the All UP Academic Employees Union-Cebu said.
(The only detail we can give is that have retrieved them safely.)
A video of the alleged abduction anonymously contributed to volunteers behind the movement to locate the two was played during the press conference. The clip shows men in plain clothes forcing persons believed to be Gumanao and Dayoha in a silver car.
In the background, people, including the taker of the video, could be heard asking for help while authorities stood by.
One of the persons being coerced to enter the vehicle could also be heard struggling to escape.
“Naka sturya mi sa mga victims. And based lang pud sa ilang na share, amo lang pud ipaambit dire, dili sila ka sure kung asa sila gidala kay gipang blindfold sila… gi-tuyok-tuyok sila. Pero definitely, gidala sila somewhere else, dili sa asa sila gikuha kaganiha,” Abarrientos said in the press con.
(We have talked to the victims and based on what they have shared, they are not sure where they were taken because they were blindfolded… and driven around. But what’s definite is they were taken somewhere other than where they were retrieved this morning.)
Abarrientos added that both Gumanao and Dayoha said they were interrogated during the period of their disappearance. He did not mention what questions were asked.
“During sa pila sila ka adlaw… gi detain… while gi interrogate sa separate na rooms. Dili na sila ka further pa sturya sa pagka-karon kung unsa ang nahitabo during the interrogation. Bag-o pa kaayo and sitwasyon, they are still processing unsa ang ilang mga experiences,” Abarrientos added.
(They were detained, they were interrogated in separate rooms. They could not share more at the moment what transpired during the interrogation. It’s still so recent and they are still processing what they have experienced.)
Danilo Gumanao, father of Dyan Gumanao, said the two reportedly attested that the men who seized them introduced themselves as police officers.
“Based sa testimony sa victims, pag-arrest sa ilaha, didto pa lang sa pagbaba sa barko, direktang gipusasan sila nya, “ayaw na’g kuan kay pulis mi,” he said.
(Based on the victims’ testimonies, they were handcuffed upon their arrest, after they departed from the boat. And [they were told], ‘don’t [fuss] because we are police.’)
The Central Visayas Police Regional Office (PRO-7) sent a statement to Cebu media stating that they will lead probe on the case of Gumanao and Dayoha, requesting the cooperation of the two development workers in the process.
“[The regional director] of PRO- 7 immediately orders a deep, thorough, and impartial probe regarding the alleged abduction of Armand and Dyan. Their presence will fast-track the investigation and their blow-by-blow account of what transpired will shed light in determining the perpetrators. We request their cooperation with the investigation,” the statement read.
“PRO- 7 assures transparency in the investigation and we shall immediately update the parties once we secure developments on this case,” the statement reads further.
Gumanao and Dayoha’s families, friends and colleagues challenged the police not only to ensure a swift and impartial investigation of the case but also for accountability on the alleged abduction.
This, they said, included what they described as the “inaction” of the Cebu Port Authority, the Maritime Police of Cebu, the Philippine Coast Guard of Central Visayas, and 2GO Group Inc.
“Maayo na lang sa kaso nila Dyan, lapad kaayo ang network ug ang support… unsa na lang kaha ang mahitabo kung ang ordinary na kabus, trabahante og mag-uuma nga wala’y laing kasaligan,” Gumanao’s father said.
(What’s fortunate in the case of Dyan is that their network is wide as well as the support. What would have happened if ordinary people, the poor, workers, or farmers were put in the same situation?)
“Kami, bisan naan a ang among anak, kuyog kanamo, padayon gihapon among panawagan pagkondena sa maong binuhatan. Ug panawagan ngano nahitabo na, ngano padayon gihapon nan ga binuhatan sa atong state forces,” he added.
(Even though our children are now with us, we continue to condemn such acts. We continue to ask why this happened, why this continues to be the norm for state forces.)
“Any person deserves to talk, walk, or raise his or her fist unmolested. That is the essence of democracy. That is the essence of justice. There can be no peace and progress without justice and justice applies to all,” Ian Manticajon, head of the Public Information Office of UP Cebu, said. – Rappler.com