GENERAL SANTOS - The family of 19-year-old Phillip Bacudo has made an emotional plea for information as the search of his whereabouts entered its 33th day.
"Kahit ayaw niyong magpakilala, ituro niyo lang kung saan tinapon ang bangkay para matahimik na kami," his father Bernard told ABS-CBN News.
Their frustration grew as the investigation of the missing teenager seems to have taken a back seat. They are bracing for a tragic outcome.
"Nagkakasakit na ang asawa ko sa kakaisip namin kay Phillip. Maawa po kayo sa amin," Bernard added.
Phillip was last seen November 10, 2017 while he was allegedly arrested by a police officer, according to witnesses.
He was together with his friends on board a tricycle on a supposed joyride when they were flagged down at Dacera Ave.
Two of Phillip's friends told ABS-CBN News the alleged police officer who was riding a motorcycle fired shots and caught up with them at a gasoline station.
"Hindi kasi siya tumakbo. Nahuli siya ng pulis," his friend said.
The gas station's security guard who also witnessed the incident believed the man who arrested Phillip was a police officer.
"Pinabantayan pa niya sa akin si Phillip baka tumakas. May patrol car din na dumating tapos kinuha yung tricycle tapos sumunod yung motorsiklo na sakay si Phillip," he said.
Phillip's family gathered clues and searched for his whereabouts in every jail in General Santos City, but none have led to him.
Police Station 4 Chief Rexor Jake Canoy, whose police unit responded to the Nov. 10 incident, denied allegations they took Phillip.
"Wala sa amin yung bata kasi we only responded to a call na may abandoned tricycle. Walang tao doon pagdating namin kaya namin dinala ang tricycle dito sa police station," Canoy said.
But the police statement rings hollow to Phillip's family, particularly to his mother Susana.
She said Police Station 4 didn't even respond to their request for help.
"Pinagalitan pa kami. Kanino namin hahanapin ang anak namin?" she said.
The Bacudo family instead sought help from the regional chapter of human rights watchdog In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement or iDEFEND.
The family filed a petition for writ of amparo, a remedy that covers extralegal killings and enforced disappearances, last Nov. 20. Two days later, the court issued an order to the local police to produce the body of Phillip to no avail.
iDEFEND believed Phillip's disappearance could be a case of extra-judicial killing.
"If hindi mahanap si Phillip Bacudo, he could be the 67th victim of killings in GenSan. There is an urgent need to find Phillip. He's been missing for more than a month now and the police is not seriously investigating the case," said Ben Somug-oy of iDEFEND.
A task force has been created by Police Regional Office 12 to conduct an investigation into the missing teenager.
"We assure the public that our police will cooperate. We are giving full support to General Santos City Police to solve this case. Wala tayong iniuutos sa kanila na manakit ng kapwa," said Chief Supt. Cedrick Train, PRO12's outgoing regional director. - report from Jay Dayupay, ABS-CBN News