A lesson in forgiveness | Inquirer News

A lesson in forgiveness

/ 01:20 AM February 11, 2016

Hubert Webb, who was jailed for 17 years for a crime he never committed, was married on Saturday, Feb. 6, at  St. Andrews Church in Parañaque City.

Hubert’s bride, Cecille, wore a radiant smile that emphasized her tantalizing eyes.

Hubert met Cecille while he was serving a life sentence at  New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City.


Hubert was released from prison four years ago.


During the rites, where I was a  “ninong” or one of the wedding sponsors, my mind took me back to June 30, 1991.

That was the date when several men barged into the house of the Vizcondes where lived Estrellita and her two daughters, Carmela, 18, and Jeniffer, 6, at BF Homes in Parañaque.

They took turns raping Carmela and then stabbed to death the three  of them.

The act was so gruesome it was dubbed “The Crime of the (20th) Century.”

One of the suspects in the massacre was Hubert Webb, whose father, former basketball star Freddie was a senator when the case was on trial.

Hubert was a victim of circumstances: an angry, irrational public crying for blood; a biased judge, Amelita Tolentino, who was eyeing a slot at the Court of Appeals; an inefficient National Bureau of Investigation (NBI); and Jessica Alfaro, a witness who was a drug addict.


No matter how much evidence was presented to Tolentino’s court showing that Hubert and his coaccused—who all met in court for the first time during the arraignment—Hubert et al. were convicted for three counts of rape with homicide.

I was one of the witnesses for Hubert.

I went to the United States to check on Hubert’s claim that he was in  California at the time of the Vizconde murders.

Take note that the NBI never sent an agent to the US to investigate Hubert’s alibi.

I found that Hubert was in California at the time the Vizcondes were being butchered thousands of miles away.

The most telling fact was a receipt for a bicycle Hubert  bought at the Orange County Bicycle Store.

The store was in Orange County, California, where he stayed in the house of his aunt who was married to an American immigration official.

The receipt says that a Hubert Webb, with a given address which was that of his aunt’s, bought the bicycle on—take note—June 30, 1991!

Even the US State Department sent a note saying that Hubert Webb was in America during the time the crimes were committed.

But the judge, who had a twisted sense of self-importance, wanted then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to come to the Philippines and testify in her court as a defense witness!

For defending Webb, I was reviled by an angry public which believed that he and his coaccused were guilty of the unspeakable crimes.

Even some of my fellow columnists in my own newspaper severely criticized me for defending “rapists and murderers.”

It took 17 long years—including the trial when Hubert et al. were already jailed as the crime was nonbailable—before Webb and company were pronounced innocent by the Supreme Court.

Seventeen years is one-fourth of a person’s lifespan: that is, if he lived up to the ripe age of 80.

Hubert was a victim of the gravest injustice of the 20th century.

I have learned from Hubert a great lesson in life.

When I asked him days after his release from prison how he felt about the injustice committed to him, Hubert said he bore no rancor towards the people who persecuted him.

* * *

The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) has ruled former Deputy Speaker Raul Daza as the winner in the 2013 elections for the congressional seat in the second district of Northern Samar.

The HRET ousted Harlin Abayon from the post.

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Daza will serve  for only three months.

TAGS: Hubert Webb, Metro, News

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