UPLB community mourns slay victim

(UPDATED, October 13) Students and alumni from the University of the Philippines Los Banos are changing their profile pictures to black ribbons, a move aimed to seek justice for a slain student.

A black ribbon with the words "Justice for Given" is making rounds in UPLB's social circles, days after BS Computer Science student Given Grace Cebanico's body was found dumped near the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) road in UPLB.

UPLB Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Virginia Cardenas said UPLB will exhaust all its efforts to bring justice for the victim.

"I assure the University is cooperating with authorities so we would be able to bring justice," Cardenas told Yahoo! Southeast Asia in a phone interview.

Cardenas quoted police as saying that Cebanico's body was found Tuesday, with her cellular phone, laptop and wallet missing. She noted there "was no rape," contrary to earlier reports.

Cebanico was killed by a gunshot wound and police are eyeing robbery as a motive, added Cardenas.

Cebanico supposedly left her dormitory 5th of September Mansion, around 6 p.m. on Monday for a group meeting. After her meeting, she allegedly went home alone, during the wee hours of the morning.

"Given", as friends would call her, was able to post a Facebook status 11 p.m. Monday. One of her last status updates was: "You were born because you are going to be important to someone."

Aileen Macalintal, the victim's former teacher, recalled that Cebanico was a determined student.

"She’s my former student, one of the best, she got an uno for the research paper," she added, noting that Cebanico had so much potential.

UPLB, known for its serene environment, is still in shock over the gruesome killing.

"This is a senseless act. It is unacceptable. We are saddened here in the university," added Cardenas.

She noted that security within and in the vicinity of the campus have been tightened.

Cardenas added that the University aims to provide more dormitories inside the campus for a more controlled security.

(UPDATED by Yahoo! Southeast Asia staff, October 14, 5 p.m.) As of Friday, October 14, a report from dzBB revealed that the suspected mastermind in the abduction and murder of Cebanico, bank security guard Lester Ivan Lopez Rivera, was arrested in Pampanga. The other suspect, Percival de Guzman, a tricycle driver, was already in police custody. (Note: This segment is an addendum to the original article and is not written by the author identified in the byline.)

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