Suspect in Given Grace's slay case changes plea to guilty

Pia Regalado, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2016 04:17 PM

MANILA -- One of the suspects in the 2011 slay case of Given Grace Cebanico has changed his plea to guilty.

On October 11, Cebanico, a 19-year old third-year Computer Science student of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños was found dead along the IBP Road in Barangay Putho-Tuntungin, Los Baños.

She was shot and stabbed in the back. She was also allegedly raped.

Atty. Tito Sese, the legal counsel of the Cebanicos, confirmed to ABS-CBN News that Lester Ivan Rivera, the bank security guard who is co-accused in the case, pleaded guilty to three counts of rape with homicide and one count of theft during the hearing last February 23.

The hearing was held at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City, where Rivera is serving a sentence for one count of theft filed against him by the security agency from which he stole the gun used in killing Cebanico.

According to Pastor Jun Cebanico, the victim's father, Rivera pleaded guilty after being hounded by his conscience.

"Ang sinasabi niya, hindi na kaya ng kalooban niya na magpatuloy na magsinungaling kaya gusto niya talaga ay aminin na."

The pastor added: "Ngayon pa lang ay thankful na kami na at least, itong isa ay umamin na at bababaan na siya ng hatol so ang aming pinaglaban for more than four years, ang katarungan na hinahanap namin para sa aming anak ay finally, hopefully makamit na namin kahit dito sa isang accused pa lang."

Meanwhile, tricycle driver Percival de Guzman, who allegedly forced Cebanico into a tricycle before bringing her to the crime scene near UPLB, maintains his innocence.

The defendant is set to present another witness and additional evidence at the continuation of the hearing on March 3 and 10.

He is currently detained in Los Baños municipal jail.

ABS-CBN News is still trying to reach the defendants' lawyer.