SC acquits Webb, et al in Vizconde massacre case

DateLine Philippines

MANILA–The Supreme Court on Tuesday acquitted Hubert Webb and five others of the June 30, 1991 Vizconde massacre.

Voting 7-4, the high court said Webb, Antonio Lejano II, Michael Gatchalian, Miguel Rodriguez, Peter Estrada, and Hospicio “Pyke” Fernandez were not guilty of killing Estrelita Vizconde and her daughters Carmela and Jennifer, and ordered them released immediately form the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said at a press conference.

They were convicted by then Parañaque regional trial court Judge Amelita Tolentino, now an appellate court associate justice, for rape with homicide on January 4, 2000.

Former policeman Gerardo Biong, who was convicted as an accessory for allegedly helping cover up the crime, was also acquitted, Marquez said. Biong was released from the NBP last November after serving his jail term.

Two others accused of the massacre, Joey Filart and Artemio Ventura, were never arrested and are not covered by the decision.

Those who voted for acquittal were Justices Roberto Abad, Conchita Carpio Morales, Diosdado Peralta, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, Lucas Bersamin, and Lourdes Sereno.

The dissenting votes were cast by Chief Justice Renato Corona, Justices Martin Villarama, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion.

Justices Antonio Carpio, Antonio Eduardo Nachura, Mariano Del Castillo, and Diosdado Peralta inhibited themselves.

In reversing Tolentino’s ruling, the Court said the prosecution failed to present evidence to counter Webb’s evidence, which included his passport and the certification of the Philippine and US immigration services showing that he was in the United States when the massacre took place.

This, said the Court, demolished the testimony of prosecution star witness Jessica Alfaro, who claimed to have been with Webb and the other accused when the crime was committed. Read More

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