*Note: It is apparent that Hubert Webb’s acquittal is in no way an acceptance by the Supreme Court that he is innocent. Webb and his co-accused were set free for the mere reason that evidence presented during the trial did not establish beyond reasonable doubt that they were, or Hubert in particular, was in the Philippines to commit the crime of multiple murder. The SC cited in its decision how Jessica Alfaro’s eyewitness account fell gravely short of establishing guilt for the accused. In my phone interview for the Philippines Graphic, I intended to dig deeper into the controversy by asking Hubert Webb five (5) difficult questions. We tried getting in touch with Lauro Vizconde, but at the time, he was unavailable for comment. I leave it for the people to decide.
For the full story, please visit the Philippines Graphic website at http://www.philippinesgraphic.com.
Graphic: I have five rather difficult questions for you, Hubert, which I hope you’d answer with the same candor as you have during our first interview back in June 2010.
Hubert Webb: Sure, fire away. I like difficult questions.
I’m taking down notes and I just want you to know that this is being recorded.
Okay, I understand.
So, the first question is, Hubert, if Lauro Vizconde were to ask you for help in getting the murderers, will you and your family go out of your way to help him?
As of right now we are making plans that would, in fact, be of help to him. That’s how we are.
Okay, that’s good. I will not ask for details…
We can’t speak of details for now because we still want to know if (it) can be done. We’re not sure if it will work. We still need to know if we can apply it. We’re still figuring out what legal parameters are there, and how we can work within those parameters.
My second question is, after 19 years, do you and your family have a hunch on who did it?
Ah, if you’re talking about the day it happened? No. All we have are ideas. There were people who approached us. Yun nga lang, their stories or information do not seem credible. So many people have come up, some would even ask for money. So it’s hard to determine who is who, di ba? It’s hard to tell the difference.
The third question is a bit difficult. Now that you’re out of prison, some people are thinking that probably another member of the family or one of those who are co-accused is actually the culprit. Have you heard about this?
A member of my family or one of those culprits…
Yes, a member of your family or one of those accused is the real culprit. What are your thoughts about this?
Well, that’s a really good question. So I’ll kind of answer in a different way. Now they’re saying it’s someone else from my family. So, what is being insinuated is that we kept it from the law and the public.
Yes. That’s the idea.
Okay, so we’re on this premise right? Let’s stay on this premise. What people are now saying, in effect, is that I presented myself as the culprit to cover for someone, right? To cover for a family member or a friend, right? Doesn’t that also mean that we compelled Jessica Alfaro to point me out as the culprit? Now there you go!
Okay, my fourth question would be, how do you think life would treat you now that you’re out of jail?
Wow, that’s a really good question. Allow me to relate a story. I had my first dinner just now with my family. We had interaction, where we are all complete. Alam mo nangyari? We all debated. It was fun. We all debated! “No I want this! No it’s like this!” It was fun.
I suddenly realized I am with my family now, we could all say our piece and we all give our opinions, and now we’re going to vote accordingly. So it’s like what to decide as a family. It was this that led me to realize that, wow, I’m really free.
Which before all this, I presume, before nineteen years ago and all that, you never really had?
No! In fact, life was happening just as I remembered. We would argue, kasi alam mo, the Webbs are kind of bull-headed. All of us are quite opinionated, but we didn’t fight; of course tension would rise, but in truth we were all just talking, that’s all. Settle down, ah okay, okay. It was fun. But I am really not worried about adjusting to life outside of prison because I have family support. And I still have my friends.
The only real problem is the people I don’t know, yung ipapakilala sa ‘kin [those who will be introduced to me], but my friends are still here, and they are friends still. I guess, this also says that whatever people think of me or what I allegedly did, my friends are still here with me. That says a lot. They would attest that they have been my friends for so long. And then the opposite camp says we paid our friends. The criticism will not end, I am sure.
But I’ll tell you one thing: They don’t have what I have; they don’t have peace. We’re going to try to help. We are looking for ways to try and help, to look for who really did it. But, truth be told, you have to remove whatever it is that you’re feeling, especially the animosity because we are telling the truth. What we have said have remained consistent from day one. We have been consistent.
We’re not worried about how life outside will be although I know there will be some difficulty, but come on, how much is it more difficult than being jailed for something you didn’t do? If I could handle that then I’m pretty sure I would be able to handle the outside world.
My last question is: You’re aware that Lauro Vizconde would probably not stop alleging that you are the culprit—despite the SC decision. At one point or the other, this will hurt your reputation or whatever is left of it, after being jailed and all that. So what do you think? How are you going to cope with the barrage of criticism?
I’ll cope well. I will quote Scriptures, “Judge not others or you will be judged accordingly.” So if he’s thinking that I did it before presenting something, oh well, let’s be honest. I’m forty. How old is he? Our mortality is about at the end, di ba?
Let me play devil’s advocate here. My parents will not agree to this, but this is who I am. I want to look at the situation from both sides. Let’s just say, for the sake of fair play, for the sake of good argument, that I did it. Have you heard us say anything against the judges? Against those who criticized and said bad things about my family? Against me? No, right? We never said anything. Not because we’re scared, but because we’ve always believed in the right way of doing things.
But then again, what if I didn’t do it, as the Supreme Court has said. Now, who will look really bad? So, either way this goes, I’m good with the Lord. I think they are too, because, if they are God-believing, God-fearing. But then they should read what He teaches, di ba [shouldn’t they]? In fact I want us all to go through a lie detector test just to see who is really telling the truth. Bakit ayaw naman nila? Gusto ko sila rin. I also want to know if they are telling the truth. Besides, even if the court doesn’t accept lie detector tests as evidence, the public has the right to know. And I will not back down from such a challenge. Because I feel we are all victims here.
We’ve remained constant, we’ve remained honest, we’ve remained true. So we’ve remained, to the point we’re so tired, my mom’s so angry, you know, but we’ve tried to remain human and God-fearing all throughout this matter.
I never thought you’d answer these questions.
Why not? I have nothing to hide. Our family has nothing to hide. What do they want from us? All I want is fair play. I understand what people are saying, that if this happened to my sister, I wouldn’t know what to do. But what else should we do to prove that I am innocent? Why would I have suffered fifteen years? We are all accountable in God’s eyes.