I am imagining that the Supreme Court has been receiving a lot of flak lately for its acquittal of Hubert Webb and company. I don’t want to put myself in the shoes of Lauro Vizconde and any of his relatives. My heart goes out to them but I don’t want to cheapen or trivialize their grief by saying I understand how they feel. Whoever invented that last supposedly comforting phrase is probably an idiot. But as others have already pointed out, the Supreme Court has spoken.
In his recent column, Conrado de Quiros pointed out what was wrong with the SC verdict. It wasn’t that they gave the acquittal to Webb, et al.; that was their job. It wasn’t that they found Webb et al. victims if injustice; that was where the evidences pointed to. What de Quiros found wanting, and one this writer found wanting, was the way the SC seemed to backpedal after it gave their decision. That they were “acquitted but that doesn’t mean they were innocent.” Bothersome.
“You get the feeling the Court is so scared about the backlash from its decision it has to make distinctions of the sort [Supreme Court spokesperson Midas] Marquez does. What kind of lesson about law and justice does this send to the public? What it is saying is this: Of course we had no choice but to clear Webb et al. of the murders upon reviewing their case and seeing that the evidence against them would not stand up. What else could we do? But feel free to hold on to your suspicions. For all you know, they might really be guilty. The prosecution simply failed to prove it.
“That is crazy. What the Supreme Court should in fact be saying is this: But of course we had no choice but to clear Webb et al. The evidence against them was weak. That is the way of democracy. That is the way of justice. Our decision makes them free, our decision makes them innocent. We call upon the public to treat them as such. We call upon the public to lift the veil of mistrust upon them.
“Indeed, what the Supreme Court should in fact be saying is this: But of course we had no choice but to clear Webb et al. They should never have gone to jail to begin with. Not on that basis, not on that body of evidence. That they did, and for the time that they did, that is a crime. That they did is an injustice to the aggrieved, who must now continue to quest for justice to put a closure to his nightmare. That they did so is an injustice to them. That injustice must be redressed.”
Going back to Vizconde: He once expressed his grief and disappointment at the SC for their acquittal of Webb by stating something to the effect, “The Supreme Court must now look for the real killers.” What it sounds to me is he’s saying “since you acquitted the one I perceive to be the killer(s) of my family, I’m placing the responsibility upon you (the SC) to look for the people you think really killed them.” Or something like that.
Again, I feel for Vizconde. But I don’t think asking the Supreme Court to do the work of police officers is the right way to go. From anyone else, that statement would be laughable. But the man has been suffering lately. Lately more so than before. Let’s be understanding.
Something to chew on.