CHR condemns ‘abduction’ of 2 labor rights advocates, starts own investigation

Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) condemned the alleged abduction of two labor rights advocates, who were eventually found, as it started its own investigation on the incident.

Arman Dayoha and Dyan Gumanao were last seen on board MV 2GO Maligaya en route to Cebu City, but neither have been in contact nor have been present at work since the passenger ship docked at Pier 6 last Jan. 10.

It was alleged that Dayoha and Gumanao were abducted by law enforcers because last June 5, 2020 they were arrested during a protest rally against the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Dayoha is a coordinator of the Alliance of Health Workers in Cebu, while Gumanao is a volunteer coordinator of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers in Central Visayas.

Last Jan. 16, they were finally found, the CHR said quoting from news reports. It said that during a press conference, a video of the alleged abduction was shown. The video, reportedly taken on Jan. 10, 2023 at about 9 a.m., shows men in plain clothes forcing individuals, believed to be Dayoha and Gumanao, into a vehicle while people in the area were being heard asking for help, it said.

Concerned colleagues, however, shared that when they asked 2GO Group, Inc. (2GO), the Cebu Port Authority, the Maritime Police, and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Region VII, all denied any sort of commotion at the docks.

The CHR said that reports stated that Dayoha and Gumanao were detained with no means of communication and were interrogated in different rooms during their alleged abduction.

It pointed out that the Philippine Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantee the right to life, liberty, and security of all.

“Any form of arbitrary, unlawful deprivation of liberty, such as illegal arrest, detention, or abduction, is also punishable by law under Republic Act No. 10353 or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012,” it said.

“We reiterate that the State must adhere to the principles and standards on the absolute condemnation of human rights violations set by various international instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, both of which the Philippines is a State party,” it also said.

At the same time, it said that “Section 7 of RA 10353 obligates anyone who has information of a case of enforced or involuntary disappearance to report the circumstances and whereabouts of the victim to any law enforcement agency, to the CHR or any human rights organization, and to the victim’s kin or lawyers.”

It appreciated the "deep, thorough, and impartial" investigation recently ordered by the Director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas on the alleged abduction of the two labor rights advocates.

The CHR also said in its statement:

“As we conduct our own independent investigation, CHR strongly urges law enforcement agencies to treat this case with urgency. For justice's sake, this case must be pursued to the fullest extent of the law. Enforced disappearance is a serious human rights violation.

“We also call on 2GO and concerned authorities to cooperate and maintain transparency so we may ascertain the truth on this matter. Perpetrators must be held accountable in the name of serving justice to all, regardless of socio-political affiliations and ideological beliefs.

“The Commission thanks all those who came forward to help the families gather evidence and aided their retrieval. We note the details communicated moving forward.

“CHR maintains its commitment to uphold the rights of all, especially in the face of serious violations of human rights and dignity.”

TAGS: #CHR #Abduction #Labor rights advocates