Police told to stop ‘victim blaming’

SYMPATHIZERS of two activists who were abducted last Jan. 10, 2023 by supposed government agents are calling on the Police Regional Office-Central Visayas (PRO 7) to refrain from redirecting the blame on the victims.

In a statement, Karapatan-Central Visayas spokesperson Dennis Abarrientos condemned the police for putting the blame on activists Armand Jake Dayoha and his fiancée Dyan Gumanao.

Quoting Lt. Col. Maria Theresa Macatangay, Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) spokesperson, Abarrientos said Macatangay challenged the two activists to cooperate in the police investigation and not stay silent.

“It is ridiculous that police forces now have the gall to say this, when in fact, families and colleagues of the two victims sought their help way before they were rescued. This is clearly an attempt to redirect the public’s attention from the police, who were identified to be the captors,” Abarrientos said.

Abarrientos said the victims will cooperate with the police investigation as soon as they recover from their traumatic experience.

“Until such time that they are well enough to detail what really happened, we hope that the police can stop these unfair intimidation tactics against the victims and the general public who supported the two,” Abarrientos said.

Dayoha and Gumanao were forced into a vehicle by unidentified men after they disembarked from a ship at Pier 6 in Cebu City last Jan. 10.

On Sunday, Jan. 15, the abductors left the victims in a resort in Carmen town, northern Cebu.

Dayoha is a volunteer of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, while Gumanao volunteers for AMA Sugbu-KMU or Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno.

The incident witnessed by several people at the port area, was allegedly perpetrated by plainclothes men who identified themselves as police officers, according to Gumanao’s father, Danilo.

CHR complaint

Danilo and Sarah Dayoha, Armand’s parents, lodged a formal complaint at the Commission on Human Rights-Central Visayas (CHR 7) on Thursday, Jan. 19 for violation of their children’s right to liberty and security.

CHR 7 Director Arvin Odron said the cases would strengthen the conduct of CHR’s ongoing investigation.

“Because a formal complaint has been filed, we can proceed with our investigation using the statements given to our investigators as our guide in our additional probes or inquiries,” Odron said in a mix of Cebuano and English. (JKV, HIC)