Former senator Freddie Webb, flanked by wife Elizabeth and son Hubert, reacts to new allegations linking his son to the Vizconde massacre. Photo by Adil Arias for ABS-CBN
Webb lawyer mulls disbarment raps vs De Lima
MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) - A day after government officials presented new "evidence" that he was allegedly in the country during the June 1991 Vizconde massacre, Hubert Webb said the “evil, cruel” people are attempting to ruin his life again.
Even as his family is mulling actions against National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and justice department officials, including Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Webb could not help but show his fury for the same people whom, he said, took away 15 years of his life.
“Ano ang kaya nila gawin? I don’t know how to grasp how evil these people are. These people have destroyed our family…What more can they do to others,” he said, appearing before the public with his mother Elizabeth and father Freddie.
De Lima, together with officials of the NBI and the Philippine National Police, disclosed on Tuesday that witnesses and physical evidence from the Bureau of Immigration proved that Webb was in the country months leading to and before the Vizconde massacre.
Webb said, “Our family’s tired, we’re really tired. We are exhausted…I am just so tired.”
Even if he was acquitted by the Supreme Court in December 2010 for the murders, he said he can't help but always look behind his back, thinking that a stranger would hurt him.
His lawyer, Demetrio Custodio, said the “farce” presented by de Lima and her task force yesterday has become a trial by publicity for a person who could not anymore answer and defend himself in the court of law.
‘De Lima reckless, lazy, electioneering’
Custodio, who started the press conference on Wednesday morning, said he and his team of counsels are mulling charges against de Lima, including contempt of court and disbarment.
“What happened yesterday is something we can’t let pass. It is unprecedented in so far as the government and its branches are concerned…It was a public declaration that to our mind completely subverted the authority of the Supreme Court,” he said.
The SC has acquitted Webb and his co-respondents in December last year. The state could not anymore file charges against him lest they be accused of double jeopardy.
Lawyer Jose Luis Agcaoili lashed out at de Lima for “lending her credibility and name to this farce.”
“We accuse de Lima of subversion of the rule of law. She and the NBI had attempted to create super body greater than the Supreme Court. It invites shame and contempt upon her,” he said.
This not only invites an option to file a contempt of court against her, but also “outright disbarment.”
He also accused her of electioneering, saying “sinakripisyo niya ang tadhana para sa sarili niyang ambisyon.”
He said de Lima is not different from her predecessors. “A word of caution to her, the people who came before her paid a stiff price.”
Legal actions will be announced in due time, Custodio said.
The counsels also lambasted the government officials for being selective in their evidence.
Another counsel, Zenaida Ongkiko Acorda, said she had already warned de Lima early on that “you don’t dare start it.” She said de Lima fully knows that Webb could not anymore speak in court and defend himself, and yet, “[de Lima] insisted on having her final say.”
The Webb patriarch also spoke for his son, saying he had a gut feel a week ago that the investigators had something up their sleeves when they asked for the passport of Hubert.
The task force showed a picture of the passport yesterday, noting the difference between the signature and spelling of Hubert’s name compared to other travel documents.
Freddie said his son went to the Department of Foreign Affairs to have his passport renewed. They learned there that his old passport was being subpoenaed by investigators.
“I wasn’t able to sleep, I was very nervous…I told my children, ‘yayariin ang passport',” he said.
‘Show us proof’
The older Webb also showed his son’s driver’s license, which was stamped June 14, 1991. He said a United States driver’s license will not be issued if the person is not physically available.
The family also questioned the magnetic reel tapes used by investigators yesterday. The tapes showed it did not have the name Webb in the passenger manifest for his departure. However, the same reel showed he did arrive in 1992.
“If he arrived, then tell us when he left for the US, tell us,” Freddie said.
Agcaoili also warned the new witnesses to think carefully of their fate in the hands of the NBI.
He said the NBI’s main witness then, Jessica Alfaro, was readily dropped by the investigators. “That’s what would be happening to you too,” he said.