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imns


On Target
Like winning the grand lotto

By Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:57:00 12/15/2010

Filed Under: Prison, Judiciary (system of justice)

With my defense of Webb?s innocence, I feel that I won in the grand lotto jackpot.

***

Except for the justices who inhibited themselves from the Vizconde massacre case appeal, I was expecting a unanimous decision from the Supreme Court justices.

I thought that all the justices of the high tribunal had discernment, intelligence and common sense.

Those four justices who voted against the acquittal of Webb et al. may not have those qualities.

Or, those justices didn?t go over the trial in the Parañaque Regional Trial Court thoroughly.

Or, those who wrote the decision for them were too lazy to go over the voluminous documents of the proceedings.

***

Justice Martin Villarama, one of those who dissented, argued that ?alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification of a credible witness.?

An alibi is a claim of the accused that he was somewhere else when the crime for which he is implicated was taking place.

An alibi is the weakest defense in court.

?Against positive identification of a credible witness, alibi becomes most unsatisfactory,? said Villarama.

However, if an alibi is backed by witnesses and documents, as in the case of Hubert Webb, then it becomes a strong defense.

Clearly, Webb was in the United States at the time Estrellita Vizconde and her two children, Carmelita and Jennifer, were being butchered at BF Homes-Parañaque. Documents showing that he was there cannot lie.

Villarama disagreed with his colleagues? contention that the principal witness, Jessica Alfaro, an NBI informant, was not credible.

Obviously, the good justice failed to read the testimonies of former Director Epimaco Velasco of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Senior NBI Agent Artemio Sacaguing.

Both Epimaco and Sacaguing said Alfaro was a drug addict who made up the story that she was with the accused when they supposedly committed the crime.

Velasco, who was then NBI assistant director, was chief of the NBI team that investigated the massacre, while Sacaguing was Alfaro?s handler.

On the matter of Hubert Webb being in the US, his passport and airline ticket showed he left months before the massacre.

A photo of Webb on vacation in Florida that had a date on it?May 1991?or a month before the massacre, was presented in court but was rejected by the judge.

A certification issued by the US government showing Webb was in America at the time of the killings was not also honored by the court.

Villarama noted that not one official of the US federal agencies that issued the certifications of Webb?s stay in the United States appeared to testify in court.

Villarama has the same thinking as then Parañaque Judge Amelita Tolentino, who heard the case.

Tolentino said that for the court to believe the certification from the US State Department, then Secretary Madeleine Albright should personally testify in her court.

Tolentino?s?and for that matter, Villarama?s?kind of thinking makes one puke.



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