It was a day of happiness for the seven accused, their families and supporters as the jailed men in the much-publicized Vizconde massacre of the Philippines were freed today after 15 years and 4 months of incarceration.
Likewise, Lauro Vizconde, the man who lost his wife and two daughters following the brutal massacre on 30 June 1991, feels the sorrow and pain as those who killed his entire family were freed.
The Supreme Court of the Philippines ordered the release of the seven men due to the following reasons:
1. Quality of the witness: Jessica Alfaro was not really an eye witness. She was an asset of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Initially, Alfaro told the NBI she would bring in a witness. However, when she could not produce one, she became the eye witness.
2. Suspicious details in some testimonies
3. Quality of testimony (Inherent inconsistencies)
4. Unreliable corroborations.
ABS-CBN reported that the following Justices voted in the following way 7-4-4 (7 in favor of acquittal; 4 dissented; 4 abstained).
The Associate Justices who were in favor of acquittal were: Roberto Abad, Lucas Bersamin, Jose Mendoza, Conchita Carpio-Morales, Diosdado Peralta, Jose Perez and Maria Lourdes Sereno
Those who dissented were: Chief Justice Renato Corona, Arturo Brion, Teresita De Castro and Martin Villarama.
The Associate Justices who abstained were:
1. Antonio Carpio: He testified during the hearings at the Regional Trial Court
2. Mariano Del Castillo: One of the accused is a client of his wife's law firm
3. Antonio Nachura: He signed as former Solicitor-General before his appointment to the court
4. Presbitero Velasco: He has close relation to one of the accused.
Radio reports said that the travel ban is still in effect for the seven free men (Gerardo Biong, Peter Estrada, Hospicio Fernandez, Michael Gatchalian, Antonio Lejano, Miguel Rodriguez and Hubert Jeffrey Webb).
The tables have turned, radio reports said that the accused who are now freemen will file charges against Alfaro.
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