Ex-security guard convicted for rape-slay of UP student
SAN PEDRO CITY—A former bank security guard has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape and slaying of a University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) student in 2011.
Judge Alberto Serrano, of the Calamba City Regional Trial Court Branch 92, found Lester Ivan Rivera guilty of three counts of rape of Given Grace Cebanico with homicide and theft, and was sentenced to three life imprisonment terms.
Serrano issued the verdict at a court in Muntinlupa City on Tuesday, more than four years after the crime that shocked the university community in Los Baños town in Laguna province.
Given Grace, 19, a junior computer science student, was raped and killed near the campus in October 2011. Her death sparked public outcry that prompted university and local government officials to review security measures around the campus.
Percival de Guzman, a tricycle driver, was arrested after the crime and is detained at the Los Baños municipal jail.
Rivera, who surrendered to authorities, was transferred to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City in 2014 after he was convicted of theft. His former security agency filed a separate case against him for using his service firearms to shoot Given Grace.
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Cebanico’s father, Jun, said the family had expected the verdict, after Rivera, in February, reentered a plea and owned up to the crime.
De Guzman, is awaiting the court verdict, which the Cebanico family expects to come out next month.
In the February arraignment, Jun said Rivera approached him and begged for forgiveness.
“I feel sorry for Lester, knowing that he’ll be spending the rest of his life in prison,” Jun said. He said he never saw any relative visit Rivera throughout the hearings.
“The family is happy [about the conviction]. But of course, it was not something we could easily forget. In those four years, we still feel sad,” he said.
In October 2014, another UPLB student was raped almost at the same spot where Given Grace was attacked.
Police said the victim took a tricycle in Barangay Maahas, a village adjacent to the campus, in going home to Barangay Paciano Rizal, also called Barangay Mainit.
A village official in Putho-Tuntungin said the victim was able to send her mother a text message around 11 p.m. that she was already in Sitio Buot of Mainit.
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