Reward for UPLB student slay raised to P300,000
LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines — The police have released an artist’s sketch of one of the suspects in the murder of University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) student Ray Bernard Peñaranda.
A cash reward totalling P300,000 –P100,000 each from Interior and Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo, Laguna Governor Jeorge “ER” Ejercito and Los Baños Mayor Anthony Genuino –was also offered, up from P100,000 and later P200,000, for any information that might help identify the assailants.
The suspect, believed to have stabbed Peñaranda in a failed robbery attempt, was described to be between 5-feet-5-inches and 5-feet-6-inches tall and with medium build, based on the descriptions provided by the 19-year-old student’s companions to the police.
Peñaranda’s companions (names withheld) had sought help in a nearby dormitory after two unidentified men attacked them in Barangay (village) Batong Malake here on Sunday.
The outgoing police chief, Superintendent Dante Novicio, who was relieved after the crime, said a footage from a CCTV camera of a private dormitory showed the perpetrators escaping. However, he said the footage could not clearly identify the assailants.
Genuino said the police were following leads, which he could not as yet disclose, in the murder of Peñaranda and of 14-yar-old Rochel Geronda, a student of the Los Baños National High School, who was raped and killed six days earlier, or on February 27, just meters away from where Peñaranda was killed.
He maintained that the recent murders were “isolated case(s), although very alarming.”
“Nobody wanted these to happen. We are doing everything to solve and prevent these kinds of crime (and) we are appealing to the students to be extra-careful,” Genuino said in an interview prior to the peace and security council meeting with UPLB constituents and chairmen of the town’s 14 barangays on Monday afternoon.
Genuino said the council was expected to draft a peace and order master plan and impose tighter security in the villages of Batong Malake, San Antonio, and Putho-Tuntungin, surrounding the UPLB campus.
He said the municipal government would also establish police outposts on every street in these three villages, increase lighting, and roll out CCTV cameras in strategic locations. Another proposal being studied would be to impose an alcohol ban through the night, starting at 10 p.m., for an indefinite period, he said.
“We are extending our condolences and every help we can to the families of Bernard and Rochel,” the mayor said.
The remains of Geronda were expected to be laid to rest on Tuesday, while Penaranda’s remains were immediately brought by his family to their hometown in Rizal province.
Genuino said the recent cases would definitely affect the town’s tourism “but instead of criticizing, I appeal to everyone to work together and bring back the (good) image of Los Baños.”
The UPLB student council, meanwhile, spearheaded an indignation rally at the university campus at 5:30 p.m. Monday to call for justice for the murder of the three students. Jamie Marie Elona, INQUIRER.net
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