Missing development workers in Cebu found; footage shows alleged abduction


Posted at Jan 16 2023 06:11 PM | Updated as of Jan 16 2023 08:54 PM

Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha, members of the group Karapatan Central Visayas. Courtesy: Karapatan Central Visayas
Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha, members of the group Karapatan Central Visayas. Courtesy: Karapatan Central Visayas

(UPDATED) The two development workers were reported missing after being last seen at Cebu City Port on January 10 have been found, with family members alleging they had been abducted.

Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha were fetched at a resort in Carmen, Cebu on Monday morning, their family members said in a press conference.

Gumanao's father claimed the two were abducted shortly after they arrived in Cebu from Cagayan De Oro, where they spent the holidays.

“Giduolan dayon sila, gidakop, gipusasan ug niingon nga mga police sila,” said Danilo Gumanao.

(They were approached, apprehended, handcuffed and were told they were the police.)

“Balisa kaayo pagkahibaw namo,” shared Armand’s mother Sarah.

(We were shocked when we found out.)

Cellphone footage from a witness and released by human rights’ group Karapatan Central Visayas showed a commotion at the port. Individuals identified as Gumanao and Dayoha where both shoved into a van, as seen in the video.

Video courtesy of Karapatan.​

There were no further explanation as to what happened after they rode the van, but Karapatan spokesperson Dennis Abarrientos said that both confirmed being “blindfolded” and “driven in circles”.

“Gi-detain incommunicado while gi-interrogate sa separate na rooms,” said Abarrientos.

(They were detained with no communication while they were interrogated in separate rooms.)

Abarrientos said they were looking into the possibility that Gumanao and Dayoha were tortured. The two are set to undergo medical examination.

According to Abarrientos, the Philippine Coastguard, as well as local police, denied a commotion occurred at the port when they sought assistance.

“We will not stop our campaign even if Dyan and Armand [have already been] found, this is the start of seeking for accountability,” said All UP Cebu Workers President Regz Imbong.

The groups are set to file a complaint before the PNP and will seek assistance from the Commission on Human Rights and the National Bureau of Investigation.

University of the Philippines Cebu was involved in the retrieval of Gumanao and Dayoha.

“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.

Gumanao graduated cum laude with a degree in mass communications and worked for Community Empowerment Resource Network as a Special Support Services Coordinator in the non-government organization.

Meanwhile, Dayoha is a 4th year student taking Bachelor of Fine Arts, his second degree after completing BA in Psychology also in UP Cebu. He is also a volunteer at the Visayas Human Development Agency.

Dayoha and Gumanao on Monday were still recuperating from "mental trauma" due to the incident, according to the groups.

Responding to the allegations of abduction, the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas, in a statement, said it will conduct “a deep, thorough and impartial probe."

Referring to Dayoha and Gumanao, the regional police said: "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."

Central Visayas police also assured transparency in the investigation, saying it will immediately update the parties involved once there are developments in the case.

— Report from Annie Perez