LOS BAÑOS, Laguna — Another female student from the University of the Philippines – Los Baños (UPLB) was raped near campus grounds on Wednesday night, as confirmed by Dr. Enrique Tolentino Jr., the UPLB Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs, on Thursday morning.
The 17-year-old victim—whose identity will remain anonymous “as requested by the family”—was on her way home after attending a student activity at around 9:00 pm Wednesday. She rode a tricycle from Barangay (village) Maahas, one of the many villages along the outskirts of the UPLB campus, heading to her home in Brgy. Paciano Rizal.
Baranggay Captain of Putho-Tuntungin (another village near the campus) Mr. Ronald Oñate said the victim sent a text message to her mother around 11:00pm that night saying that she was on her way home and was already in nearby Sitio Buot.
The nightmare started when the tricycle driver pretended to run out of gasoline and decided to stop in a poorly lit area along IPB Road within Brgy. Putho-Tuntungin. Tolentino said that “the driver even asked her (the victim) to pay the fare” in order to buy the gasoline. The driver then held out a weapon and forced himself on the victim, then left her along the road.
Later that night, she was discovered “walking” by a UPLB campus security guard, according to Tolentino. He added that the victim “is still suffering from trauma,” but is now under the care of Los Baños police.
Upon the request of the victim’s family, Los Baños Police Chief Supt. Ricardo Dalmacia refused to divulge details of the case but confirmed that an investigation is already ongoing in cooperation with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon Province). Dr. Tolentino and Brgy. Capt. Oñate shared approved information in a phone interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“There’s a witness who said that only one tricycle passed by that way around that time (of the rape),” Oñate said, adding that they are also conducting their own investigation to trace the color of the tricycle and match it with any transport associations in the area.
“It happened on almost the same area where Given was attacked,” said Oñate.
Oñate is referring to the case of 19-year-old Given Grace Cebanico, a UPLB student who was raped and found dead along IPB Road on October 11, 2011. Despite the two suspects being in custody, Cebanico’s court trial is still ongoing.
After Cebanico’s Demise, light posts were installed along IPB Road.
“I just don’t know what happened why the lights (have gone missing recently). That place had always been our problem because it (gets) really dark at night,” Oñate said.