MANILA, Philippines? (UPDATE) Noting that the Vizconde massacre remained unsolved, Malacañang has ordered law enforcement agencies to reinvestigate and solve the case before a 20-year prescription period lapses in about six months.
In a memorandum dated December 16, or two days after the Supreme Court acquitted Hubert Webb and six others of the murders of members of the Vizconde family, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. also ordered Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to study the possibility of compensating Webb and his co-accused in the massacre case who had been detained for 15 years before being cleared.
The memo, issued by authority of President Aquino, was addressed to De Lima, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, Philippine National Police chief Director-General Raul Bacalzo and National Bureau of Investigation Director Magtanggol Gatdula.
?Pursuant to the recent decision of the Supreme Court in the cases of Antonio Lejano vs People of the Philippines ? and People of the Philippines versus Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb, et al ? finding that the prosecution failed to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt and consequently acquitting the seven accused, the Vizconde case therefore remains unsolved,? Ochoa said in the memo.
?(You) are hereby directed to conduct a thorough reinvestigation of the case, utilizing all available resources at your disposal to finally solve the same with end-in-view of apprehending and prosecuting the authors of the crime,? he added.
Ochoa reminded the authorities of the prescriptive period ?within which to file the case considering that the crime was committed in 1991.?
Under Republic Act No. 3815, known as the act revising the penal code and other penal laws enacted December 8, 1930, ?crimes punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or reclusion temporal shall prescribe in twenty years.? This means that the prescription period for the Vizconde massacre will expire in June next year.
Estrellita, Carmela and Jennifer Vizconde were killed in their house in BF Homes, Parañaque City in June 1991. Carmela, then 18, was also found to have been raped.
?Finally, the Secretary of Justice is also tasked to evaluate, under existing laws, the possibility of granting compensation to those who may have been wrongfully accused of said crime, in the light of the Supreme Court decision,? he said.
By a vote of 7-4 and with four abstentions, the Supreme Court earlier this week reversed the decisions of the Parañaque Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals that both found Webb and his co-accused guilty of the Vizconde massacre.