Police start probe into ‘abduction’ of 2 development workers

THE Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) has started its investigation on the disappearance of two members of cause-oriented groups who were allegedly picked up and forced to ride a car by men in civilian clothes as they arrived in Cebu City port from Mindanao on January 10, 2023.

CCPO spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Maria Theresa Macatangay urged development workers and labor rights advocates Armand Jake Dayoha, 27, and his fiancé Dyan Gumanao, 28, who were allegedly kidnapped but later found last Sunday, January 15, to help in their investigation by visiting their office.

Macatangay said they already went to the house of Dayoha and Gumanao in Barangay Talamban, Cebu City, but the couple was not there.

Dayoha and Gumanao arrived in Cebu City port from Mindanao at 7 a.m. on January 10, when they were allegedly met by a group of men who introduced themselves as policemen and forced them into their car.

The two were later found abandoned in a resort in Carmen town, northern Cebu on Sunday night, January 15. Their parents fetched them on Monday morning.

Macatangay said that even before Dayoha and Gumanao were found, some school officials of the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu kept contacting them regarding the whereabouts of the victims.

Macatangay said they already gathered information regarding the incident, including the one found in the blotter report of the Maritime police, but they still have to confirm this.

She said, however, that their hunt to locate the victims ended when the relatives of Dayoha and Gumanao claimed that the latter had already been found and later called for a press conference with the militant group.

Macatangay added that they tried to communicate with the parents of the victims through the chancellor of UP Cebu so they could get concrete information.

She said they also checked the records at the Talamban barangay hall, where they found out that the two reside in Sitio Nasipit.

But when they went to their house, nobody was there.

Macatangay and CCPO chief Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog are calling on the two victims to come forward to give information that could help establish the identity of the suspects.

“I-identify nato kinsay gabuhat ana nga krimen against that persons ug atong kihaon, kana kami andam mao na nga kami miawhag nila nga mohatag silag (Let’s identify who did the crime against that persons and they will be charged. We are ready, that’s why we encouraged them to give) information and cooperation, the PNP can only do so much without their statements how can we pursue the case?” Macatangay said.

The two police officials believe that the two can give information on what really transpired on the days when they disappeared.

The public information officer of the CCPO said they are willing to provide security assistance for the victims and place them under the witness protection program if they are willing to cooperate in the investigation.

The police assured the victims that nothing will happen to them while they are under their custody.

The parents of the victims and the militant group earlier claimed that the two were abducted by the police, but Macatangay said this could not be proven unless supported by evidence.

Among the pieces of evidence being checked by the police is the video uploaded on social media showing a group of men forcing Dayoha and Gumanao to ride into their car as the latter arrived in Cebu City port from Mindanao last January 10.

The video later went viral.

Macatangay said they also interviewed the security personnel at the port but they could not confirm the kidnapping allegations.

The CCPO has already sent a letter requesting the Cebu Ports Authority for the CCTV camera footage of the port where the incident took place.

(Based on the investigators' account, some CCTVs there are damaged, while others are functional). (AYB/TPT)