MANILA— The two community development workers who were abducted in Cebu by unidentified men urged authorities on Tuesday to focus on probing and identifying those behind their forced disappearance.
Dyan Gumanao, 28, and Armand Dayoha, 27 were abducted at the Port of Cebu on Jan. 10.
On Jan. 15, Gumanao and Dayoha’s captors left them at a resort in Carmen town, where their families and colleagues picked them up the following morning.
In a press conference in Manila, they said that while their families were searching for them, the police are questioning the legitimacy of their disappearance.
According to Gumanao, this is an unbecoming act for law enforcers.
"Pinapalaganap na istorya ng kapulisan na hindi kami tumutulong sa imbestigasyon, na gawa-gawa lang namin ang nangyari sa amin. Nakakapagtaka po na ganoon ang tono ng ating kapulisan at awtoridad. Parang nangchichismis, ganoon po ba tayo sa mga biktima at nagsasampa ng reklamo?" she said.
An emotional Dayoha, meanwhile, insisted that being an activist is not a ground to label them as terrorists. He said that their captors tagged them as part of a communist group.
"Walang masama sa pagiging aktibista, hindi kailanman magiging legitimate na target for abduction or killing, illegal arrest (ang mga aktibista) kahit bali-baliktarin pa. Sa abduction namin ine-equate talaga na yung union at aktibista na terorista," he said.
The victims earlier said their abductors identified themselves as police before shoving them into a van.
The families of the workers are urging authorities to file charges against the alleged police officers who supposedly abducted Dayoha and Gumanao.
The spokesperson of the Cebu City Police Office has said they have been coordinating with the families to get the victims' statements to help with the investigation.
“We want to extend our helping hand to them, to approach the PNP, to help them build the case,” said spokesperson P/Lt. Col. Therese Mactangay, adding they are willing to provide the victims with security or put them under the witness protection program.
The police have denied involvement but a rights group has complained of alleged inaction in the probe.
The Philippine Coast Guard and the local police initially denied there was a commotion at the port at the time of the supposed abduction, according to Dennis Abarrientos, spokesperson of rights group Karapatan-Central Visayas.
But a video released by the group showed Gumanao and Dayoha allegedly being shoved inside a van at the port after they arrived from Cagayan de Oro on Jan. 10.
Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos earlier assured that a full investigation will be conducted on the incident.