HIGHLIGHT: A promising young lady at 19, trekking the path to becoming a computer science expert - she was Given Grace Cebanico. In 2011, her rape and murder sparked public outcry regarding security measures in University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) campus as well as other state universities.
In October 2011, the body of Given Grace was found in a canal near the boundary of the university campus and the International Rice Research Institute. She bore a gunshot, stab wounds, and her hand and mouth were taped and gagged with handkerchief.
She was last seen riding a tricycle to get home to their dormitory.
As the investigation went full swing and under the eye of public, the puzzling death of Given achieved clarity -her abductors came forward. They were security bank guard Lester Ivan Rivera and tricycle driver Percival de Guzman.
A touching tribute to the junior student shows her grace, exuberance and innocence.
Her death provoked issues on state universities' budgets in terms of security while the management stressed that the rape incidents happened outside of the campus, though they vowed to push having dormitories inside.
UPLB Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Dr. Virginia Cardenas commented, “We condemn this act of killing an innocent, promising young lady. We are saddened by the incident… (and) are working to intensify security not only within campus but also in (neighboring) communities.”
In odd coincidence, another UPLB student was raped also in October, three years after Cebanico's death and on the same spot along the Institute of Plant Breeding Crop (IPB) Road where Given Grace's body was found.
Yesterday, justice sought for Given Grace's premature death finally got one step close to reality after Rivera was sentenced to life imprisonment and de Guzman's verdict expected to come out next month.