UPLB community demands justice for Given Grace

by Camille Naredo, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Oct 14 2011 05:30 PM | Updated as of Oct 15 2011 06:58 AM

UPLB still a safe place, says vice-chancellor

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines – The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) community held an indignation rally on Friday to condemn the killing of student Given Grace Cebanico and called for justice.

“We were in shock,” said Joyce Divino, chairman of the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council.  “It was something that we didn’t expect. At the same time, we are grieving the loss of someone who had a very bright future, but wasn’t given the chance to have that.”
Despite the murder of one of its female students, an official of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) believes the college campus is still safe.

Dr. Virginia Cardenas, UPLB Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs, says the murder of Cebanico, a 3rd year Computer Science student, was an isolated event.

“Here in the UP campus, tahimik naman dito,” she said. “It’s a safe place. The incident happened outside the campus, beyond our control. It was very unfortunate.”

Divino agrees with Cardenas.

“I live inside the campus, and it is still somehow safe. They still have security at night,” she said.

But, she adds, “We can never be 100% sure that it’s safe.”

Suspects under custody

Cebanico was kidnapped on her way to her dormitory and was robbed and killed. Her body was found at a canal near the Institute of Plant Breeding road early Tuesday morning.

The suspects, a tricycle driver and a security guard, are already under police custody.

Cardenas says UPLB will remain as a good place to learn and study.

“I don’t think this isolated incident will affect the image of the university,” she added.

But she is also calling on the student body and the UPLB community to be “more security conscious.”

Cardenas says the university meets with the barangay officials of the areas surrounding the UPLB campus in order to help tighten the security.

However, TJ Monserrat, a Computer Science instructor, feels that the UPLB campus is no longer as safe as it once was.

“Hindi na natin alam kung sino yung mabuti o hindi,” he said, adding that he has instructed his students to walk in groups.