Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DOJ may order NBI to reinvestigate Vizconde massacre case

There are "very, very high" chances that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima may order the National Bureau of Investigation to find, once again, the perpetrators behind the gruesome killing of three members of the Vizconde family in 1991. 

In an interview, De Lima said she will meet with NBI director Magatanggol Gatdula and his personnel to discuss the prospects of having a reinvestigation. 

"I have to discuss it with them. I want to know what happened before.... I want to know how they handled the evidence. I will discuss with Director Gatdula because we are aware of Mr. Lauro Vizconde's call for a reinvestigation," De Lima told reporters. 

"I am very inclined [to order a reinvestigation]," she added. 

De Lima said while the Supreme Court may have acquitted Hubert Webb and his six co-accused, it does not necessarily indicate a "closure" to the gruesome murders of Estrellita Vizconde and her daughters, Carmela and Jennifer, in June 1991. 

"Even if there's a Supreme Court decision, I don't think anybody can call it a real closure. It may be a closure in the legal sense, but factually, for the sake of truth, we need to know [what happened," said De Lima. 

On Tuesday, Hubert Webb, a son of a former senator, and six other persons were acquitted in the Vizconde massacre case as the high court reversed two lower courts' findings that found him and six others guilty of killing three members of the Vizconde family almost two decades ago. 

While nine people may have been accused in the case, the court only took action on seven of them. This is because the two others — Artemio Ventura and 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." 

Following the decision, Lauro, the patriarch of the Vizconde family, admitted that he seemed to have lost his trust in the justice system in the country.

"Nangyari na ang aking kinatatakutan... Wala na kong panawagan... Wala nang katarungan dito sa ating bansa," a highly emotional Lauro said. 

Later in the day, Vizconde hurled a challenge to the Supreme Court justices: that they help him find his family's killers. — RSJ, GMANews.TV

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