A tale of an alleged abduction

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez - The Freeman

Two individuals who come from the same organization with the same principles find themselves falling in love while working their way to fight for the rights of the marginalized sector. Dyan, 28, and Armand, 27, were already planning to tie the knot this year after years of working and being together. Most of the people in the UP Cebu Community knew them either as "Ate Dyan" and "Sir Armand".

Both were visible in various mobilizations involving different cause-oriented groups. This explains why on the day they were reported missing, many organizations sounded the alarm, including their alma mater.

They just came back to Cebu after spending the holidays in Mindanao with family, something must be up. Six days later, the family claimed that they had surfaced. Insider talk said negotiations had to take place with the perpetrators before they were finally left in a resort in Carmen, Cebu, where they were fetched. The next thing we knew, a viral video hit the internet of both seemingly being shoved into a vehicle.

While there is no other compelling evidence other than the victims' testimonies, to the eyes of the authorities these are simply allegations. Just as every government office operates, they need to anchor on documents in black and white. There is no special mission for top-notch intelligence personnel to go after the public's claims. Kudos to the Commission on Human Rights for launching a motu propio investigation. Yet until something comes out of it, we continue to be wary.

If individuals such as Dyan and Armand keep on fighting for what's right and then end up in the most inhumane of situations, then we are losing the essence of a democracy. If the allegations are true about State forces, tailing and abducting vocal individuals such as them, then we should reevaluate our claims on being a free country. As it is now, it isn’t safe.

Dyan and Armand's ordeal can happen to me, you, or anybody. The victims' side is usually the hardest to prove, especially when met by men who put their intelligence to waste. With authorities tagged as villains, whom do we trust now? Their only hope now is for the witnesses to also come forward, but safety is also a concern, as we speak.

We are all left puzzled by this story but hope that all questions shall be answered in time. The public should learn how to see both sides of the story as well --where the issue of negligence and the discussion on jurisdiction lie. Bureaucracy still hounds us even in urgent circumstances.

The mental trauma will be difficult for these two, even if justice will be served. Let's hope that with the attention this story is getting, the authorities will also make this urgent. Both are also good friends of mine, whom I haven't seen since they were found. I say a prayer that they're fine and that we'll continue to keep tabs on their case.

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