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If I were not a law student, I would probably be one of the reporters on scene that day–when a man regained his life after 15 years while another had his heart torn apart and his wounds salted.

I don’t remember watching the movies, but I do remember the story. A mother and her two daughters brutally murdered, and one of them raped. The case got traction when I was about five or six–old enough to hear people talk about it but too young to understand just how sad this story was. I do remember castigating Hubert Webb. Back then, nobody else could be guilty but him. He was young, handsome, and rich. There was no way he didn’t do it. His family’s just covering up for him.

The years, however, have eroded such single-minded, media-fueled convictions. The media’s meddling hand has left a bitter aftertaste, which, though pathetically clinging to the case, has mostly been relegated to the sidelines by cool heads and stronger convictions.

The day the Supreme Court decision went out about the Vizconde massacre, it was all everybody talked about. People in school (me, included) read that case instead of our law books and assigned cases. Professors asked us to recite about the decision. Do you think the court was right?

It doesn’t really matter what I think about what really happened, or if Webb is really guilty or not. The only thing I could think about was how such injustice could have permeated the system and rooted itself in almost two decades. How could the lower courts have taken in Jessica Alfaro’s testimony hook, line, and sinker? Maybe we should credit it to Justice Abad for penning a well-written decision. It plainly shows that the prosecution bungled this case by relying heavily on Alfaro’s testimony (and a few others’, which were also easily disproven). How could this have happened?

I pity Webb for the 15 years he lost. He entered his prison at his prime, and he gradually lost it there. I credit his family for staying by his side throughout those 15 years. Only a true (and perhaps well-based) belief on his innocence could have spurred them to visit him every Sunday without fail. But, Webb is still young. He is still alive, and his family is still there. He can still make something out of his life, albeit 15 years late.

The man I pity the most is Lauro Vizconde. I tell you, it’s only a person without a heart who will not break for this man–who loved his family so, so much, lost them in a single wrenching blow, and continues to lose in the absence of justice and closure. My heart, it breaks for him. I can’t imagine the pain of losing my family in one day, more so am I unable to imagine the sting of not knowing who killed them all these years. This judgment was all he had going for him–his peace of mind hinges upon the thought that the killers who brutalized his family are suffering their penalties behind the bars of justice. To bank on that security blanket, and then to have it so startlingly yanked from under your feet (while the whole world is watching) is just so unjust.

I saw a clip online of Mang Lauro after he heard the decision. He was in hysterics, and the cameras and lights were all up in his face–lined up–despite his relatives’ pleas of, “Pwede po bang ‘hwag muna? Please. Family matter po muna.” Did they heed those cries? Of course not. The media bosses would have their hides if they shied away from such a ratings scoop. God, how I hate this ugly side of journalism. And of law.

I only have one wish: that this injustice of epic proportions be put to a stop.