Advocates cry justice for Given Grace Cebanico
MANILA, Philippines – Advocates against crime and the University of the Philippines (UP) community are organizing various activities to stress their call for justice for Given Grace Cebanico who was raped and killed in Los Banos, Laguna last year.
It has nearly been a year since the brutal killing of Cebanico yet justice has been elusive for the victim and her family. The first pre-trial for the case came just August of 2012 and the second hearing was set for October 10, just a day before the first anniversary of Cebanico’s death.
In response to the slow pace of the justice system, a volunteer group – Task Force Given Grace (composed of over 300 volunteers) – in partnership with Gabriela Women’s Party, organized activities, including a fun run and a bike for a cause in two UP campuses, to help raise funds for the long legal battle the Cebanico family will face and to renew vigilance within the community.
To kick start the series of activities, a Benefit Gig was held last September 1, Saturday, at the Blackbird Bar in San Antonio Village, Makati City. Those whoe performed were Save Alex Movement, Death or Glory, Earthfish, Datu’s Tribe, The Jerks and Ms. Monique Wilson. Tickets are priced at P300 and each is inclusive of one drink.
On September 23, Task Force Given Grace, in partnership with the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Gender Center, Students of Destiny, the PadyakElbi group, Gabriela Youth, Young Software Engineers Society, and the Institute of Computer Science, will hold a campus-wide Ride for Justice.
Likewise, a bazaar will also be held at the UPLB Baker Hall on September 23 and 24.
Task Force Given Grace, with the help of the UP Diliman Office of Anti-Sexual Harassment (UP-OASH), the UPD Gender Office(UPD-GO) and the UP Mountaineers, will also hold “The Run for Given” at the UP Diliman Oval on October 7. Runners may choose to run in the 1 Loop, 2 Loops, or 4 Loops distances.
Interested runners may sign up online at www.lakwatcha.com/runforgiven or at the offices of the UPD-GO and UP-OASH in 2f Benton Hall, Palma Annex in UP Diliman.
“The series of events is organized not only to raise funds for the family of UPLB student, rape-murder victim Given Grace Cebanico, but also to create and sustain awareness for the fight for justice and make a statement that the community is vigilant against all forms of violence,” Task Force Given Grace convener Rene Borromeo said.
Cebanico, a 19 year-old Computer Science student of UPLB was found dead in a canal near the IBP Road in Barangay Putho, Tungtungin in Los Baños, Laguna just outside the campus last October 11, 2011. Police said she was found with bruises all over her body, had multiple stab wounds, was gagged, and with her hands cuffed behind her back.
She was on her way back to her dormitory when she was abducted by the suspects police had identified as Percival de Guzman, a local tricycle driver, and Lester Ivan Lopez Rivera who was then working as a bank security guard in Los Baños.
De Guzman has admitted to the killing and also told police that he and Rivera also took turns raping Cebanico.
Last May, Judge Alberto Serrano of the Calamba Regional Trial Court Branch 29 approved the motion of prosecutors to elevate the charges from robbery with homicide to rape with homicide which is a non bailable offense.