Palace vows justice for UPLB student killed by holdup men | Inquirer News
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Palace vows justice for UPLB student killed by holdup men

Malacañang gave assurance that it would get justice for a 19-year-old student of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) who was stabbed dead by unidentified holdup men in a street near the university campus on Sunday.

Ray Bernard Peñaranda, an agriculture student, was killed at about 1:30 a.m. along F.O. Santos Street in Barangay (village) Batong Malake in Los Baños, Laguna. Only last week, the body of a 14-year-old girl was found near the area, a victim of apparent rape.

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“These killings strike at the very heart of the peaceful, orderly and safe community that UPLB has been, and must be again. We will not rest until justice is done and the perpetrators are punished,” President Aquino’s spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda, said in a statement.

Lacierda said authorities were taking steps to ensure the safety of the campus from criminals. “We would like to assure concerned faculty, parents, students and all those in the UPLB community that steps are being taken to make the campus a safe place to work and live in and visit,” he said.

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Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and Governor Jeorge “ER” Ejercito have separately offered rewards ranging from P100,000 to P200,000 for information that may help identify the assailants.

Robredo ordered more police personnel on UPLB grounds, as well as a stepped-up investigation of the recent murder cases on and off campus.

Los Baños police have released an artist’s sketch of one of the suspects in the murder of Peñaranda. The suspect is at least 5 feet, 5 inches tall and with medium build, based on descriptions given to police by Peñaranda’s companions.

The two had sought help in a nearby dormitory after two men attacked them on Sunday.

Supt. Dante Novicio, who was relieved from his post as town police chief after the incident, said a footage from a CCTV (closed-circuit television) camera of a private dormitory showed the killers escaping. However, he said, they were not clearly identified in the footage.

Los Baños Mayor Anthony Genuino said investigators were following leads in the killing of Peñaranda and the rape-killing of Rochel Geronda, a student of Los Baños National High School, on Feb. 27.

He offered P100,000 for information leading to the arrest of Geronda’s killers.

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He said the recent cases were “isolated case(s), although very alarming.”

“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 before a meeting of the peace and security council with UPLB constituents and chairs of the town’s 14 barangays yesterday afternoon.

Genuino said the council was expected to draft a security master plan and impose tighter security measures in the villages of Batong Malake, San Antonio and Putho-Tuntungin, which surround the UPLB campus.

He said the municipal government would also establish police outposts on every street in the three villages, install more lighting facilities and roll out CCTV cameras in strategic locations.

Another proposal being studied was an alcohol ban starting at 10 p.m., 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 buried today. Peñaranda’s body was immediately brought by his family to their hometown in Rizal province.

The UPLB Student Council led an indignation rally at the university campus at 5:30 p.m. yesterday to call for justice for the deaths of the three students.

Outraged students, alumni and sympathizers have flooded social networking sites with messages that blamed the murders on the inability of the local government unit to keep the residents safe.

Five months ago, a UPLB student, Given Grace Cebanico, was abducted on her way to her dormitory in Batong Malake before she was raped and killed along IBP Road in Barangay Tuntungin-Putho on Oct. 11, 2011.

Batong Malake is right outside the campus where most student dormitories and apartments are located.

Following Cebanico’s killing, the Laguna police announced the deployment of more personnel to augment the Los Baños police force. A curfew for minors was imposed.

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TAGS: Batong Malake, Crime, Given Grace Cebanico, Killing, Malacañang, Murder, Police, Ray Bernard Peñaranda, University of the Philippines-Los Baños
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