Given Grace case: 2nd accused convicted
SAN PEDRO CITY—The second accused in the rape and killing of a University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) student has been convicted and sentenced to three life terms, ending a five-year trial of the case.
Judge Alberto Serrano, of the Calamba City Regional Trial Court Branch 92, on Wednesday sentenced Percival de Guzman, a tricycle driver, to three life terms for rape with homicide and 12-17 years for qualified theft.
De Guzman was the second man convicted of the rape and killing of UPLB student Given Grace Cebanico in 2011.
Lester Ivan Rivera, De Guzman’s accomplice and former bank security guard, had been convicted and sentenced also by Judge Serrano in April. Rivera was meted the same sentence as De Guzman’s.
Given Grace, who was 19 years old when she was killed and a junior computer science student, was raped and killed near the UPLB campus on Oct. 11, 2011. Police first arrested De Guzman while Rivera surrendered to authorities days later.
De Guzman was detained at the Los Baños jail but Rivera was transferred to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City in 2014 after he was convicted of theft.
Rivera’s former security agency had filed a separate case against him for the use of his service firearm in the crime.
In February, Rivera changed his plea of innocence and owned up to the crime.
In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Given Grace’s parents, Marlene and Jun, said they were grateful to everyone who stood by the family throughout the trial.
“We can now put this issue to rest,” Marlene said.
Jun said the family plans to focus on the Given Grace Academic Excellence Foundation Inc., which they established in 2013. The foundation offers scholarships to poor college students, in memory of Given Grace who herself was a Department of Science and Technology scholar in UPLB.
“We have grown up from this experience. We are now putting behind this very sad part of our lives,” Jun said.
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