Vizconde opposes Carpio’s possible appointment as Chief JusticeBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines–Lauro Vizconde has opposed the nomination and possible appointment of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio as Chief Justice saying “he is wanting in, and has not proven his possession of the qualities of integrity, probity and independence required of the highest post in the Judiciary.”
In an opposition letter sent to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), Vizconde said Carpio tried to influence the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court for Hubert Webb and his co-accused’s acquittal.
Vizconde is husband of the late Estrellita and father of late Carmela and Anne Marie Jennifer, who were all brutally murdered in June 1991. The world was shocked of the gruesome murder known as the Vizconde massacre.
Carpio was one of the witnesses for Hubert, son of former Senator Freddie Webb, who is now active as character actor in various soap operas. Hubert is also brother of incumbent Parañaque councilor Jason Webb.
Hubert, Antonio Lejano, Michael A. Gatchalian, Hospicio Fernandez, Miguel Rodriguez, Peter Estrada and Gerardo Biong were all acquitted by the Supreme Court in a decision in December 2010.
The high court, in its decision cited the failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
The high court did not give credence to the testimonies of prosecution witnesses, particularly Jessica Alfaro, being an agent of the National Bureau of Investigation and not really an eyewitness.
The December 2010 ruling reversed the 2000 conviction handed down by the Parañaque City Regional Trial Court, which was later on upheld by the Court of Appeals.
Vizconde, in his opposition letter said he first heard that someone was lobbying for Webb and the other’s acquittal when the case was still at the Court of Appeals.
He again heard that there was lobbying on the case when it reached the Supreme Court.
During the courtesy call to newly appointed Chief Justice Renato Corona, Vizconde said he could not resist but ask about the status of the case.
“I was shocked and surprised when the Chief Justice, to the best of my recollection, said the following words: “Talagang binabraso at iniimpluwensyahan ni Carpio ang kanyang mga kasama para mapawalang-sala si Webb (Carpio is doing his best, twisting arms to influence his friends for Webb’s acquittal),” or words to that effect,” Vizconde said adding that Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption founding chair Dante Jimenez was with him when Corona mentioned Carpio.
“I was taken aback by the information given by the Chief Justice, but there is no conceivable reason, other than his commitment to truth and justice, for him to say it,” Vizconde said.
“With the foregoing, I respectfully submit that, insofar as my knowledge is concerned, at least in the case of People vs. Webb, Mr. Justice Carpio has exhibited his tendencies to submit to corruption and to entertain biases to serve his own personal interest and the interest of those close to him,” he added.
“With the foregoing unsettled and still haunting issues, (Carpio’s appointment) will be a blemished start for the new Supreme Court and would only promote divisiveness than unity in our country,” he said.
Carpio is the acting Chief Justice after Corona was removed by impeachment. He is the most senior justice of the high court.