MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - Former senator Freddie Webb, father of Hubert Webb, on Tuesday thanked God for answering his prayers that his son be acquitted in the Vizconde massacre case.
Webb could hardly speak after hearing that the Supreme Court had acquitted his son in the gruesome massacre 15 years after the latter was sent to jail for the crime.
"You have to understand – he has lost 15 years of his life. Since Day 1, we have already been saying that he was in the US but only a few people believed it. We cannot blame them because at that time there were so many things being written in the newspapers that if I didn’t know anything about the case, I would be the one to throw a stone at Hubert Webb. And now it has finally come to light. The Lord will answer your prayers," he told radio dzMM.
The former senator said he could not describe his emotions about the Supreme Court decision. He said he is happy that his son is being freed but sad that his son lost 15 years of his life for a crime he did not commit.
"It's mixed emotions. We're very, very happy that finally, the truth is out. My son who suffered for 15 years will now be out of prison and will be with us for Christmas. This is a time for us to be thankful to God because we placed all our trust in him," he said in a separate ANC interview.
"The emotions are there because we are talking of 15 years wasted in the life of my son. He lost the most critical years of any person, that's from 26 years old to 41."
Asked his message for Lauro Vizconde, Webb said: "There is a difference between him and me. Alam naman niya… kahit paano nag-imbestiga din kami. We have nothing to do with the loss of his family. I agree with him. I could imagine... at least tama siya na at least ang anak namin nandiyan. But I don't know why...my son has been in jail for 15 years for a crime he has not committed."
Webb said he is now on his way to prison to finally see his son be freed. "I don't know if there is paperwork but I am on my way to pick up my son," he said.
Alfaro testimony 'inconsistent'
Voting 7-4-4, the Supreme Court on Tuesday acquitted Webb and 5 others of the massacre of 47-year-old Estrellita, 18-year-old Carmela and 7-year-old Jennifer Vizconde in Parañaque on June 30, 1991.
In a press conference, SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said the decision is couched on “the failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.”
“The majority is questioning the quality of the testimonies [of witnesses]…and their inherent inconsistencies,” he said.
The SC decision reverses the decision by Parañaque trial court Branch 274 Judge Amelita Tolentino's convicting the accused.
Demi Custodio, the Webb family's lawyer, said he is thankful that the high court took cognizance of the inconsistencies in star witness Jessica Alfaro's testimony.
He said Alfaro's statements had "clear and grave inconsistencies" and that the Supreme Court supported the lack of solid basis for Alfaro's testimony.
"What it boils down to is that whatever was stated by Jessica Alfaro is not entitled to any belief and what we pointed out in our last fuiling is that even the National Bureau of Investigation knew Jessica Alfaro was a bogus witness and we presented all of our basis for saying so. There is testimony from an NBI agent who said, in no unequivocal terms, that Jessica Alfaro was a planted witness, a bogus witness. We are very happy that this was picked up by the supreme Court," he told ANC.
Claim for damages
Custodio said that after Hubert's release, he will allow the family to "enjoy and bask in the glory of this victory."
He said that after things calm down, he will sit down with the Webb family and determine once and for all if there is any need for action to be taken against those responsible for the injustice Hubert has suffered.
"Hubert was a young man, he was 26 when he went into prison. He is now 41. That is an entire adult life gone past him and totally wasted and for that alone, I think there is basis to claim for damages. But it will be ultimately up to the family," he said.