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Passage To Ponder (Over) # 16

9.November.2011

“If an offence come out of the truth, better is it that the offence come than the truth be concealed.”

~Saint Jerome

Given

16.October.2011

Given Grace.

When I first heard her name, I knew I wouldn’t forget it. She’s the only Given I know.

When I first heard of the news Wednesday afternoon, I was taken aback: a 19-year-old, female UPLB student taking up BS Computer Science—who was lodging at 5th of September Mansion—was found dead near IRRI after being robbed, beaten, and, apparently, raped. I sat frozen in front of my laptop screen, stunned silent. I had stayed at 5th of September Mansion for most of my college life, so my mind was racing through the possibilities. Do I know the victim? If not, do I know someone who does? How did this awful event come to pass? The questions answered themselves as more details became available.

And when I found out that the victim’s name is (I refuse to use was because it still is her name, even though she is no longer with us) Given Grace Cebanico, my mind went numb as my heart skipped a beat and almost stopped beating.

Later, I realized that Given was just outside of my social circle, barely out of my reach. She was a friend of a friend (a lot of my friends, in fact), and to have lost the chance to get to know her is a loss I won’t be able to let go anytime soon. And so, the news of her untimely death—and how her life was snuffed like that—hit me pretty bad, even if I didn’t know her all that well.

I hardly knew her, but I know enough—enough to care, enough to feel the pain, the loathing of what transpired on that fateful night. Enough to feel outrage, bloodlust even, for those responsible. Images of roasting the culprits alive and conscious on a spit ran through my mind as I heard the accounts of the crime on the evening news, and as I read gruesome detail after gruesome detail on the Net. I found myself incredibly saddened as I heard and read, with these horrible accounts, their total opposite—stories of what Given was like when she was still alive: her kindheartedness, her charm, her giggly persona, and her indomitable cheerfulness in life. Her parents, cousins, classmates, and friends all recalled how she shared the flame of her faith with everyone around her. It’s plain to see that her faith was what made her special.

As the reality sunk in, I realized that Given and I had a lot of similarities: we both lived in Rizal Province (she in Binangonan, yours truly in Morong), we both decided to go to UPLB for our college education, we both decided to stay at 5th of September Mansion while at Los Baños, and we are both the eldest child of a clergyman. All these drive home the point that even though we’ve never met, we have so many things in common that I feel like I do know her.

When I had enough of the accounts of her final moments, I took a moment to reflect on Given and everything I found out about her through the news. And all I could think about was that she fought. Despite being threatened with a gun, she fought. She didn’t go out without a fight. That would explain why her hands were tied behind her back, the bruises all over her body, and the two gunshot wounds she sustained.

First, they took her freedom. Then they took her possessions. After that, they took her dignity. And, as if they haven’t done enough, they decided to take her life, too.

The first is forgivable; the second, punishable; the third, deplorable to no end; the fourth and final one, that’s the one that hurts the most and is the hardest to accept. Even if all those responsible for Given’s suffering and demise were to die a more gruesome death than she did, it still wouldn’t be equal to what Given meant to her family, friends, and loved ones (and it certainly wouldn’t completely ease the pain and sorrow they all feel).

And yet, in this darkness, there is a flicker of light shining through—undeniable, unmistakable, unrelenting. Given, after all the agony she endured, is now with our Lord—free of pain, suffering, and death. They dare take her freedom? She now has it eternal. They dare take her possessions? She now has everything she will ever need and more. They dare take her dignity? God has restored her and lifted her soul to befit His glorious standard. They dare take her life? God has given her life everlasting.

As I pray for Given and everyone mourning her death, my closed eyes can see it: Given smiling from ear to ear—knowing that the worst is over, and that from now on, she’ll have nothing else to do but harvest the fruits of her faith and the irreproachable life she led here on earth.

When I first heard her name, I knew I wouldn’t forget it. And now, I never will.

– – –

Must-read posts about Given Grace Cebanico:

A letter addressed to Given — from one of her orgmates (written in Filipino)

A tribute to Given — from her ENG 2 instructor, Ms. Aileen Macalintal (written in English)

Passage To Ponder (Over) # 15

1.July.2011

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

~Henry David Thoreau

MP³ #21: Something That Reminds You of a Written Work

28.June.2011

“REMINDS ME OF LES MISÉRABLES”

OTHER PERSPECTIVES:

Anonymous Me

LAST WEEK: SOMETHING THAT REMINDS YOU OF A MOVIE

NEXT WEEK: SOMETHING THAT REMINDS YOU OF A SONG

To bloggers and non-bloggers* out there: if you are even remotely interested in being part of The Multiple Perspectives Photography Project, please don’t hesitate to join. It’s never too late to be part of this awesome project.😀

*You can e-mail me your photos and I’ll include them in my posts.

MP³ #20: Something That Reminds You of a Movie

21.June.2011

“REMINDS ME OF STAR WARS”

OTHER PERSPECTIVES:

Anonymous Me

Ks

LAST WEEK: FLOWER/S

NEXT WEEK: SOMETHING THAT REMINDS YOU OF A WRITTEN WORK

To bloggers and non-bloggers* out there: if you are even remotely interested in being part of The Multiple Perspectives Photography Project, please don’t hesitate to join. It’s never too late to be part of this awesome project.😀

*You can e-mail me your photos and I’ll include them in my posts.

MP³ #19: Flower/s

14.June.2011

“FLOWERS”

OTHER PERSPECTIVES:

Anonymous Me

Ks

LAST WEEK: BITTER AND/OR SWEET

NEXT WEEK: SOMETHING THAT REMINDS YOU OF A MOVIE (3rd theme from the Things Remembered series)—per Anonymous Me, fresh from her blogging break. Welcome back.🙂

To bloggers and non-bloggers* out there: if you are even remotely interested in being part of The Multiple Perspectives Photography Project, please don’t hesitate to join. It’s never too late to be part of this awesome project.😀

*You can e-mail me your photos and I’ll include them in my posts.

MP³ #18: Bitter and/or Sweet

7.June.2011

“BITTER AND SWEET”

OTHER PERSPECTIVES:

Anonymous Me

Ks

LAST WEEK: KID/S IN MOTION

NEXT WEEK: FLOWER/S

To bloggers and non-bloggers* out there: if you are even remotely interested in being part of The Multiple Perspectives Photography Project, please don’t hesitate to join. It’s never too late to be part of this awesome project.😀

*You can e-mail me your photos and I’ll include them in my posts.

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