Hubert Webb, others acquitted

Hubert Webb, the son of a former senator, and six others in the Vizconde massacre case, can now walk free from the New Bilibid Prison.

In a vote of 7-4-4 on Tuesday, the Supreme Court (SC) reversed two lower court’s findings that found him and eight others guilty of killing three members of the Vizconde family almost two decades ago.

While nine people may have been convicted, the court only took action on the seven of them. This is because the two others, Artemio Ventura ad Joey Filart, remain at large to this day.

According to SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez, the court acquitted the seven “for the failure of the prosecution to rule their guilt beyond reasonable doubt,” said Marquez.

“They are ordered released from detention unless for another lawful cause,” said Marquez.

Aside from Webb, those acquitted were:

  • Antonio Lejano;
  • Michael Gatchalian;
  • Miguel Rodriguez;
  • Hospicio Fernandez;
  • Peter Estrada, and
  • former policeman Gerardo Biong.

    Those who voted in favor of the acquittal were:

  • Associate Justices Roberto Abad;
  • Conchita Carpio-Morales;
  • Diosdado Peralta;
  • Lucas Bersamin;
  • Jose Perez, and
  • Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

    Those who dissented were:

  • Chief Justice Renato Corona;
  • Associate Justices Martin Villarama;
  • Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, and
  • Arturo Brion.

    Four justices inhibited themselves from the deliberations. They were:

  • Associate Justices Antonio Carpio
  • Eduardo Nachura
  • Diosdado Peralta, and
  • Mariano del Castillo.

    Webb was accused of raping Carmela Vizconde, who was killed in her family’s Parañaque home on June 30, 1991. Her mother, Estrellita, and sister, Jennifer, were also killed.

    Webb was among the nine people convicted by Paranaque Regional Trial Court Branch 274 Presiding Judge Amelita Tolentino in January 2000 for the killings.

    The Court of Appeals upheld the conviction in December 2005.

    Tolentino is now an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals.

    Webb then elevated the case to the Supreme Court and asked that a DNA analysis be conducted on a semen sample or vaginal smears taken from the body of victim Carmela Vizconde. – VVP, GMANews.TV

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