The Los Baños community, students and residents alike, is in an uproar online after three University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) guards were arrested on Friday, July 15, for illegal drug operations. After an initial investigation, it was revealed that the same men were involved in two separate rape cases that occurred on April 18 and June 14 this year.
Robert Cañete, Jayve Tayze, and Rodrico Landicho were found in possession of guns, a grenade, a knife, and shabu upon arrest. All were members of the outsourced Northcom Security Agency and were employed by the university in July 2014.
Reports say that Landicho and Tayze stopped reporting for work last June, the same month that the UPLB sophomore was sexually abused. Municipal Police Chief Inspector Owen Banaag said that on that night, one of the three men arrested was on duty. According to the student, as well as a 42-year-old woman whose rape incident occurred on April 18, she was raped by three UPLB security guards. While both cases took place on different dates, the women reported similar accounts that the three had pointed a knife at them and were then raped. The student added that she was kidnapped and trapped inside a van where they took advantage of her.
UPLB released a statement on their Facebook page explaining that the three men were “not members of the UPLB University Police Force (UPF) or the Community Support Brigade (CSB) whose members are carefully screened by UPLB” and were hired after competitive bidding. However, the students were not pacified and demand that a better hiring process must be implemented to guarantee the safety of the community.
UPLB has been placed in a bad light after the series of rape incidents trailing Given Grace Cebanico’s rape and death in 2011 and has since then implemented a 10 PM curfew on campus. They have also assembled a transportation unit that drops off the passengers at on-campus student dormitories. These vehicles stay in service until 4 AM.
A devastated Dr. Serlie Jamias, UPLB’s Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs, said that those security guards were supposed to be their partners. While UPLB conducts regular drug testing for the members of their police force, she expected that the agency was doing the same with their guards.
She has also stated clearly that the university will not be renewing their contract with Northcom Security Agency.