With all due respect to Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Brig. Gen. Jerry Bearis, the police must reconsider their decision to conduct an investigation on the abduction of labor rights activists Armand Jake Dayoha and his fiancee Dyan Gumanao.

This is because of the allegations that the couple’s captors identified themselves as police officers who forced the couple into a vehicle after they disembarked from a ship at Cebu City’s Pier 6 in broad daylight on Jan. 10, 2023.

Though it has yet to be proven that the perpetrators belong to the government security forces, it would be a good move for the PRO 7 to let other investigating bodies look into the incident because the couple’s parents believed that the abduction was the police’s doing.

The parents’ statement can be interpreted as a vote of no confidence.

In fairness to Bearis, the police official has vowed that their investigation will be impartial; however, it is best for the PRO 7 to turn over the case either to the National Bureau of Investigation 7 or the Commission on Human Rights 7.

Dayoha traveled with Gumanao to his fiancee’s hometown in Mindanao to ask permission from her parents to wed her in May this year.

The couple have been identified with their volunteer work for cause-oriented groups.

The couple have since returned to their respective families, reportedly traumatized by their experience.

Their captors, regardless if they are real police officers or not, must be held accountable because the Philippines is still governed by laws.

The 1987 Constitution safeguards all citizens, including activists, against unlawful arrest and illegal detention.

Activists who are advocating human rights and other kinds of rights must be afforded the safety that the State ensures for its citizens. And if they are wronged, those wrongdoers must be brought to justice.*