WHAT WENT BEFORE | Inquirer News


/ 03:55 AM June 30, 2011

On December 14, 2010, the Supreme Court acquitted Hubert Webb and six others—Antonio Lejano, Michael Gatchalian, Hospicio Fernandez, Miguel Rodriguez, Peter Estrada and Gerardo Biong—in connection with the 1991 Vizconde massacre.

Voting 7-4, the high court cited the prosecution’s failure to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt and the infirmities in the testimony of star witness Jessica Alfaro.

The 38-page decision, penned by Associate Justice Roberto Abad, revolved mainly around two issues: “Whether or not Alfaro’s testimony as eyewitness… is entitled to belief”; and, “whether or not Webb presented sufficient evidence to prove his alibi and rebut Alfaro’s testimony that he led the others in committing the crime.”


Citing inconsistencies in her testimony, the court regarded Alfaro as “a witness who was confused with her own lies.” The testimonies of six other witnesses presented by the prosecution did not corroborate Alfaro’s statements, the high court explained.


“Ultimately, Alfaro’s quality as a witness and her inconsistent, if not inherently unbelievable, testimony cannot be the positive identification that jurisprudence acknowledges as sufficient to jettison a denial and an alibi,” said the high court.

On Webb’s alibi that he was in the United States when the murders happened, the court said that “the prosecution did not bother to present evidence to impeach the entries in Webb’s passport and the certifications of the Philippine and US’ immigration services regarding his travel to the US and back.”

The high court further said that Webb’s documented alibi impeaches Alfaro’s testimony, not only with respect to him and his coaccused. “Webb’s participation is the anchor of Alfaro’s story. Without it, the evidence against the others must necessarily fall,” it said.

Court spokesperson Midas Marquez later explained that the ruling simply said that “there was not enough basis” to affirm the trial court conviction of Webb and his coaccused.

“The court did not say they are not guilty,” Marquez stressed. “The magistrates did not say that they were innocent and that they did not commit the crime.”

Marquez said that as far as the high court was concerned, justice was not served with its decision.


“Those who killed the Vizcondes have yet to be held accountable. Where is justice there?” he said. “If the accused were really innocent as they claim, then they were unjustly prosecuted and jailed. Then they should also be victims of injustice. How can you say justice was done there?” Inquirer Research

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TAGS: Hubert Webb, Peter Estrada

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