THE REPORT ABOUT THE Supreme Court granting a request from Hubert Webb for a DNA test on his semen to be compared with the DNA of the semen found on rape-murder victim Carmela Vizconde is being given scant attention by newspapers.
The report was in the inside pages of some newspapers, including the Inquirer.
This means it doesn?t capture the interest of the public anymore as it did a decade ago when news on the Vizconde massacre and the subsequent trial of the accused was always on the front pages.
To me, this is a grave injustice to Webb who was convicted of the heinous crime, a crime that he never committed.
For those who missed the ?trial of the century? that ended on Jan. 6, 2000, with the conviction of Webb et. al, the Vizconde massacre drew the attention of the public when scions of rich and influential families were charged in the killings of Estrellita Vizconde, 47; her daughters, Carmela, 18, who was raped, and Jennifer, 7, in their home at BF Homes in Parañaque on June 30, 1991.
It is unprofessional and unethical of a columnist to swear on his word, but I am doing it anyway: I swear on my father?s grave to the innocence of Hubert Webb.
That is, only as far as Hubert Webb is concerned; I cannot speak for his fellow rape-murder convicts.
If this column will be taken as an oath, I swear that if the semen specimen of Hubert Webb would match that of the semen specimen found on Carmela Vizconde?which would clearly indicate he was one of the culprits? I will resign from the journalism profession and retire to my farm in Palawan and become a hermit.
That?s how sure?101 percent?I am of Hubert Webb?s innocence.
I am backed by the US State Department that sent a written testimony to Parañaque Regional Trial Court Judge Amelita Tolentino during the trial of the multiple-homicide-with-rape case.
The State Department said it found that Hubert Webb was in the United States at the time of the Vizconde massacre, but Tolentino ignored the testimony.
Even Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, then presidential legal adviser to President Ramos, testified in Tolentino?s court that Hubert Webb could not have taken part in the grisly rape-murders as he was in the US at the time it was committed.
But Carpio?s testimony, like mine and those of the other defense witnesses, was junked by Tolentino who apparently was playing to the public?s cry for the blood of the accused.
During the trial, Hubert Webb through his lawyer asked the court to have his semen specimen taken and matched the one found on Carmela Vizconde, but Tolentino rejected his request outright.
I am also backed up by two former directors of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)?Alfredo S. Lim, now running for reelection for mayor of Manila, and Epimaco Velasco, now in private law practice?who believe Webb was innocent.
An NBI official, who at that time was a mere agent, told me Wednesday he received orders from his boss to have photographs of Hubert Webb and his coaccused taken while they were together so principal witness Jessica Alfaro would be able to study their faces and identify them in court.
It should be noted that when Alfaro came face to face with the accused in court, she failed to identify some of them and was only coached by unidentified NBI agents who served as her escort-bodyguards.
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The NBI claims that the semen specimen found on Carmela Vizconde was submitted as evidence to Judge Tolentino who never returned it.
Why didn?t Tolentino return the evidence?