Star witness gives Vizconde hope from hiding
MANILA, Philippines—The star witness in the Vizconde massacre has offered words of encouragement to the family’s patriarch who has expressed apprehension that the life sentences of the accused might be overturned by the Supreme Court.
In a text message sent through Lauro Vizconde’s lawyer, Jessica Alfaro insisted on the strength of the case against Hubert Webb, the primary accused, and six others in the murders of Estrellita, Carmela and Jennifer Vizconde on June 30, 1991.
“The evidence against Hubert is strong because I was an eyewitness,” Vizconde said Alfaro texted him in Filipino last Thursday.
Vizconde said the message was “a reminder” to him of the testimonies that were admitted at the trial.
Alfaro may have thought that “I had forgotten the strong points of the case, and what these were,” he said.
Alfaro appeared worried that Webb’s and the others’ life sentences for the murders and the rape of Carmela 19 years ago may be cut short due to a technicality.
She insisted that her testimony and those of at least two other witnesses were stronger than the accused's alibi.
Vizconde said Alfaro had kept in touch, calling him from abroad using phone cards apparently to prevent interested parties from locating her.
Vizconde said Alfaro continued to move from one country to another. "She has monitored recent developments and is worried that Hubert's lawyers have filed a motion to acquit him."
It will be recalled that Webb's father, former senator Freddie Webb, said in interviews last week that the defense presented "more than 400 pieces of evidence," most of them documents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
He lamented that Court of Appeals Associate Justice Amelita Tolentino, who presided over the case as a judge of the Parañaque Regional Trial Court, had dismissed the evidence presented by the defense.
“I was an eyewitness along with Mila Gaviola, the maid of the Webbs who washed Hubert's bloodstained T-shirt right after the massacre,” Alfaro said in her text message to Vizconde.
She added that two security guards manning the entrance of BF Homes where the massacre occurred told the court they saw Webb enter the subdivision.
“On the night of the massacre, (the guards) saw Hubert pass through the entrance of the subdivision where the house of Mr. Lauro Vizconde is located,” she said.
“The alibi of the accused was not true. It was already November when Gary Valenciano saw Hubert in America. That was five months after the massacre, when he had already gone into hiding,” Alfaro's message read.
Vizconde said Alfaro asked him to share her text message with the media.
Webb's lawyers filed a motion in October claiming that his constitutional right was violated by the state "through negligence or willful suppression (by) fail(ing) to produce the semen sample that could have proven (his) innocence."
The defense had consistently demanded that a DNA test be conducted on the semen sample taken from Carmela.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), however, did not have the equipment to do a DNA analysis at the time of the murders.
The NBI announced recently that it no longer had the semen sample in question, saying that it was turned over to the Parañaque RTC at the time of the trial.
Vizconde expressed his fear that the Supreme Court might reverse the appellate court’s decision upholding the verdict of the lower court because of intense lobbying purportedly being orchestrated by the Webbs.