After Fifteen Years

I first heard about Hubert Webb being released while driving home from work yesterday afternoon. Yours truly is the driver in a car pool of coworkers and teachers (there were five of us in the car yesterday), and the topic of conversation usually ranges from the mundane to the sublime.  In the middle of yesterday’s talk, I gave the opinion that Webb was innocent. The other teachers opined that he was guilty. I mentioned that the prosecutors’ main (read: star) witness, Jessica Alfaro, was an apparent nincompoop. The others said that just because she was a drug user doesn’t mean that her words and testimony were automatically inadmissible.  I shot back that the problem wasn’t her being a drug user, the problem was her being an incoherent and inconsistent witness. (It amazes me what people will talk about when stuck together in a cramped space for almost an hour. It makes a wonderful break from talking theology all day.)

There were already talks about Webb earlier in the week (even earlier, I think) when the news came out that the Supreme Court was reevaluating his case. Even before the decision was handed down, people were already divided as to the propriety of Webb’s being released. Those who believed that he was innocent of the murder Carmela Vizconde, her younger sister, and their mother, expressed the opinion that the release was long overdue. Those who believed that he was the most evil man on earth, and thus, guilty of the murders, feared that there would be a miscarriage of justice and that “money changed hands.” Personally, I don’t know either way. Webb was accused of being a trouble-maker and a drug user all those years ago. Logically of course, that doesn’t mean he was the killer. To accuse someone of being a murderer because he was a drug user is ludicrous.

A few thoughts:

  • One of my favorite mental exercises is to put myself in the shoes of other people and try to think how they think, feel how they feel. Right now, I’m trying to think of what must be going through former Senator Webb’s mind. Happiness, now that his son has been freed after over four thousand days in jail. Sadness, at what that figure means in terms of time lost for the family. Anger, that his son was wrongfully accused and imprisoned. I empathize, sir.
  • I also empathize with Lauro Vizconde. I just can’t put into words what must be going through his mind right now. I’m sure of one thing. He is anything but happy.
  • If we go by this little news piece, things aren’t going to settle down any time soon.
  • Did they really have to make a movie about Jessica Alfaro? And starring a bad actress at that? Don’t even let me get started on the other Vizconde related movie starring Kris Aquino as the murder victim, Carmela Vizconde…
  • Speaking of movies, what is it with this country that sensational crimes and imbecilic criminals are made into movie subjects? Growing up in the 80s, I remember all those movies with “Boy” in the title (Boy Negro, Boy Bakal, Boy…something) glorifying criminals and crime. All in the spirit of “the public should know.”
  • Speaking of knowing, how many of us are reacting to this news based on emotion alone? Of course none of us are Mr. Spock (heck, even he had emotions–he just knew how to control them), but really…



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