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Vizconde kin question why Webb was released so quickly

By Cathy C. Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 17:18:00 12/14/2010

Filed Under: Crime and Law and Justice, Murder

MANILA, Philippines?Relatives of Lauro Vizconde were aghast over the speed by which former Senator Freddie Webb appeared in the New Bilibid Prisons to fetch his son, acquitted murder convict Hubert Webb.

?Usually it would take days, even weeks before you can process the release papers of a convict,? said Rodel Vizconde, nephew of the widower who lost his wife and two daughters in a massacre on June 30, 1991.

?Look at that,? Rodel said, walking away from the television. ?He?s there within two hours after the announcement!?

?Let God take care of it,? an aunt who refused to be identified curtly said.

Another female relative complained she could not believe all the novenas she recited asking that justice prevail were for naught.

?They should remember that God?s wrath extends until the fourth generation. That?s what the priests told me,? she said, seemingly to console herself.

Vizconde was not looking at the television when the live coverage of the former senator?s arrival in the NBP office was being aired.

But among the first thoughts that came to him on Tuesday was a proposal to change the blindfolded lady who symbolizes justice.

?Let?s do away with that blindfolded lady. Clearly I was never acquainted with her,? he said in Filipino, between sobs after hearing of the Supreme Court verdict.

?Here, it?s all about money. I fear for what?s going to happen to us Filipinos in the hands of these corrupt justices. They can no longer be called honorable. They are all dishonorable. For money they can ignore the call for justice,? he said.

?We Vizcondes are not the ones who lost this case. It is the Filipino people who did. We have all lost our justice,? the widower said. ?I have long waited for this day and I have long been fearing this day. We were not able to get justice through prayers.?

?I cannot comment about the Webbs at this point but the Lord knows I have done my best to get justice for my family. Unfortunately I did not get it. I can still console myself that the next life would be better for us all,? he added.

Vizconde constantly repeated his suspicion that maneuvers by the Webbs caused the reversal of the conviction of Hubert Webb and six others for the deaths of Estrellita Vizconde and daughters Carmela and Jennifer on the night of June 30, 1991.

?Is there still anyone among you who doubts that there is rampant corruption in our government? Remember when I made the disclosure that someone is pressuring the justices to vote for a reversal? I did that hoping to make them have second thoughts about doing so,? Vizconde said. ?There is no justice in the Philippines. All of us who have cases in court, don?t we realize that if your opponent has money, brace yourself. Anyone can be paid!"

?This is the challenge I am giving you, Justices. If you tell me that the ones in prison did not do it, then help me search for those responsible, if there is any conscience or delicadeza left in you,? Vizconde fumed. ?This is like a second massacre. Until when will we suffer? Now you know the plight of a victim of the justice system. Why should we still have faith??

Nephew Rodel said he felt extreme pity for his uncle.

?He lives alone. He?s been sick for several days and just forced himself to get up for this decision,? Rodel said. ?Honestly, he has no more reason to stay alive. He only lived for his family. We have never seen him cheerful or vigorous since they died. And now this.?

Vizconde asked for prayers so he can discern his next step after the Supreme Court?s final verdict.

?Please help me pray, to know what is the next step. I don?t want people to be violent just to express their support. I want for us to find peaceful ways. I remember when I also thought of putting the law in my own hands but some people prevailed. So I kept my faith in the justice system, but why did this happen?? he said.

Rodel recalled that some time in 2007, he was with Vizconde when strangers approached them, offering to ?finish off? Hubert in prison.

?But Uncle refused. He did not believe in violence.?

Rodel said he thanked the justices who voted to keep Hubert and his cohorts in prison.

?And to those who thought otherwise, I hope your conscience bothers you. Were you still not satisfied with the testimonies of eyewitnesses? Of the efforts of the public and private prosecutors?" he said.

Rodel said suspicions grew when friends tipped them that an OB van of ABS-CBN was seen stationed inside the Bilibid compound.

?Someone explained they were doing a documentary. But it had been several days. For a documentary, that?s quite a long time,? Rodel said.

He added that another disturbing detail was a news item in ABS-CBN?s TV Patrol featuring former actress Pinky de Leon, who was quoted as saying she was returning to Manila because son Tonyboy Lejano, a co-accused, was coming home for Christmas.

Another Vizconde nephew, GJ de Lumen, said the family was ?furious? with the decision.

?It?s very painful for us, very sad. The pain is like how it was when we heard news of their deaths way back in 1991,? he said.

De Lumen said the family began to have suspicions that something was amiss when Internet bloggers began to flood Facebook with messages expressing support for claims that Hubert was innocent.

?This has been our fear. We knew there was a plan to bring them out before Christmas. It was a theme that kept cropping up ever since. Talagang hinabol na by December 14, they would be coming home for Christmas. It was a theme that was well planned,? De Lumen said.



Copyright 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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