Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The case that was never close

The circus came to town in 1991. I was only 4 years old then. Everyone was feasting over something I could not head nor tail. There were shows featuring them freaks. People are yelling all over, edging the performers to do more. But never that they held their head high. They looked down on the ground avoiding the spectators gaze. There is the main actor. His name is Hubert Webb.

Che-Che Lazaro's documentary is supposed to present two fathers in their quest for justice. There is Lauro, a man who lost his wife and two children in one of the most celebrated crime tales of the country, the Vizconde Massacre. Then there's the basketball star of the 70's and 80's, Freddie, a man who lost nothing but his family's name. 

June 30, 1991, in a master's bedroom of a certain house in BF Homes Paranaque, a massacre case which would run for the next 20 years took place. Three bodies are found dead: Elizabeth Vizconde, 45 years, stabbed 13 times; Jennifer Vizconde, 7 years old, stabbed 19 times; and Carmela Vizconde, 18 years old, gang raped and stabbed to death 17 times.

Two hundred and seventy one (271) suspects are invited. Jessica Alfaro, the star witness, a self-proclaimed former drug addict, with his 2 contradicting testimonial affidavits resulting to a huge rift within the NBI itself, named Hubert Webb and 6 other men, including her former boyfriend, as perpetrators of the massacre. All in all 7 prosecution witnesses. Add up the consultations of Lauro Vizconde with psychics and clairvoyants plus the two movies hosting conspiracy theories. On the 6th of January 2000, Judge Amelita Tolentino ruled Hubert Webb, Antonio Lejano II, Peter Estrada, Michael Gatchalian, Miguel Rodriguez and Hospicio Fernandez guilty beyond reasonable doubt with a sentence of life imprisonment. The Court of Appeals affirmed this ruling on December 16, 2004.

For almost two decades, the Philippines, I believe, is resting on the other side of the coin. There is the murderer and rapist Hubert Webb. He's a maniac, a drug addict and a son of a corrupt politician. The triumvirate of gospels says so, television, radio and newspaper. Upon proclamation, the congregation replied a resounding 'amen.' Hubert Webb is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The people did not see a suspect. They saw a criminal. And they want his blood.

Hubert Webb was never given a chance to prove himself innocent. Heck, he's not even treated as one before proven guilty! There's an Araneta Coliseum packed with people shouting obscenities and rude words, chanting "Vizconde! Vizconde!" on Hubert's brother, DLSU's Jason Webb during a basketball game, to prove that. Elizabeth Webb, Hubert's mom was almost denied of service when she tried buying some stuffs at the drugstore. Freddie Webb lost his senatorial bid, branded as a corrupt politician and cuddlier of a criminal. And Hubert Webb, on the fated day that his verdict was laid down, upon stepping out of the vehicle, was drown with curses, plastic bottles and spits --a louder thud of gavel than that which is given inside the court.

But years of imprisonment is not enough to tear down Hubert Webb. Thoughts of just throwing the towel haunted him. But he survived the fleeting selfishness. His eyes pierced with hunger. In his words, you can sense a burning weapon of hope. Here is a man convicted many times. In his mind, nothing's changed. He is innocent!

Thirteen years ago, he was denied of his request for a DNA testing of his own semen which hopefully could be used to compare with the semen found in Carmela Vizconde's body. The Philippines, they say, is not yet ready for such kind of technology [during that time] and that the evidenciary semen might already be tampered.

April of this year, the Supreme Court finally gave in to Hubert's plea of DNA testing despite the prosecution's attempt to halt the motion. But luck seems to be evading Hubert's palm.The NBI and the Court are now arguing as to who kept the evidence in question. The semen sample that could be Hubert Webb's final stroke for redemption is now missing!

Indeed, Lauro Vizconde and Freddie Webb are both fathers in search of justice. The Vizcondes are victims. Hubert might be guilty of this massacre after all. It just happened that in this rare occasion, someone chose to hear out the latter's story.

The circus actually never left. It grew silent for years, what with the spectators doing their own respective shows and doing other judgments with other deals. But the freaks never rested. Every Sunday of the calendar, every holiday and special occasion, they would trip down to the circus tent surrounded now by heavily armed men, concrete walls, barb wires and prison bars to visit a wounded clown who's now a saxophone playing member of the Sputnik Gang. The freaks could do nothing but wait for more verdicts. But for now, their Acts are limited within the confine of themselves. Away from a brutal jury. Away from the other freaks.

11 reaction(s):

Nimmy said...

hindi ako political kaya generic ang magiging comment ko...

clap clap clap! nicely written DB ":D

orally said...

my sister had a huge crush on hubert and she's convinced that he is not guilty.
dati nabalita, yung rapist daw eh yung isa pa nilang brother, parang scapegoat lang si hubert.
it was a circus indeed

Soltero said...

Dati i have closely monitored this event, and i know people who lives in the area and say that hubert's gang was simply notorious that time. Lagi daw silang high on drugs and hari harian sa subdivision.

red the mod said...

There are stronger forces at work here, ones that disregard the process of law, and the rules of integrity. Ones that belittle the truth to the scandal of the popular. But even in circus, there is a code of honor. This is not a circus, it is gladiator arena.

Remember during Cicero's reign, how he persuaded people's support by distracting them with bread and circuses? Giving them the pomp and the food to wile away their own personal atrocities? This could very be the same. A more elaborate, albeit no less barbaric, version.

We can only hope that, eventually, justice will prevail.

Mu[g]en said...

But we must always remember, life is a circus. To make fun of everything, sometimes we have to rely on metaphysical sources for amusement.

Alter said...

a comedy as well at that matter, we come to some point when it is dryly not funny anymore.

In Philippines, some lives are dragged by snails. :(

my-so-called-Quest said...

parang stone to death lang yung mga webb. sad, though kung totoo man na anak nila ung may kasalanan, sobrang kulang pa yun sa ginawa nya sa Vizconde family.

Mac Callister said...

ang galing mo! great post dude!

and bakit nawawala ang evidence lintsak naman o!baka takot sila malaman ang totoo!

dark_knight said...

Nice post. I believe that both parties are victims of injustice.

Lauro vizconde lost his family and have to endure the pain. The webbs lost their name and have to endure the shame.

bluemyth said...

SILA ANG PUMATAY!!! SILA SILA>>>>
SO OBVIOUS TLGA...
the authorities takot lang...kase they know how money and power they have...

I CURSE them...

anteros' dominion said...

salamat sa palagiang pagbisita...kahit aminado ako na hindi ako napapagawi sa lugar na ito. ingat parati.

 

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