MANILA—Authorities, including the police, are denying an abduction was the reason behind the disappearance of two development workers in Cebu City on January 10, one of the victims' father said.
Couple Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha were reported missing after being last seen at Cebu City Port. A day after, cellphone footage from a witness and released by human rights group Karapatan Central Visayas showed unidentified men shoving unseen individuals into a van in the area.
Danilo Gumanao, father of Dyan, said in an interview that even though witnesses identified his daughter and Dayoha as the ones who were both shoved into the van, authorities denied that an abduction took place.
"Ang problema lang namin, ang kinalulungkot lang namin, dine-deny ng mga awtoridad sa pantalan at kahit sa mga kapulisan, dine-deny nila yung nangyaring abduction, may nangyaring commotion doon sa labas ng pier sa araw na iyon," Danilo told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo on Monday, noting there already was a video of the incident.
Karapatan spokesperson Dennis Abarrientos earlier confirmed also that the Philippine Coast Guard, as well as local police, denied a commotion occurred at the port when they sought assistance.
Danilo said the people who abducted the couple identified themselves as the police, despite wearing ordinary clothes. No further identification was given, he added.
Abarrientos earlier noted that both confirmed that they were “blindfolded” and “driven in circles”.
Danilo also said that, according to her daughter, Dyan was put in front of an electric fan for hours after she did not follow an order from one of her abductors.
The couple's personal gadgets such as computers and cell phones were taken, before the victims were fetched at a resort in Carmen, Cebu on Monday morning.
The father thinks the couple was abducted due to the nature of their activities as development workers, adding they have been red-tagged or accused of being supporters or members of communist or terrorist groups.
"Red-tagged talaga sila dito sa Cebu," Danilo said.
The couple is currently undergoing psychosocial intervention and guarded by support groups, he said.
Abarrientos has said they were looking into the possibility that Gumanao and Dayoha were tortured.
The support groups are set to file a complaint before the Philippine National Police (PNP) and will seek assistance from the Commission on Human Rights and the National Bureau of Investigation.
The University of the Philippines Cebu was involved in the retrieval of Gumanao and Dayoha. Gumanao graduated cum laude with a degree in mass communications from UP Cebu while Dayoha is a 4th-year student taking Bachelor of Fine Arts at the same school.
“If it involves our student or our alumnus, UP Cebu will take action. We are also not aware of any case to apprehend Dyan and Armand,” said UP Cebu Public Information Officer Atty. Ian Manticajon.
The Police Regional Office in Central Visayas earlier said in a statement it will conduct “a deep, thorough and impartial probe."
It also assured transparency in the investigation.