>News Update Webb camp denies P50-M lobby fund for acquittal

>The lawyer for Hubert Webb on Wednesday denied Lauro Vizconde’s claims that when the Court of Appeals was still reviewing a Paranaque court’s conviction of Webb, there was a P50-million “lobby money” for the acquittal of his client.

In a text message to reporters, laywer Demetrio Custodio asked the Supreme Court to sanction Vizconde for his statements. Custodio added that he and his law firm worked hard and worked clean to secure Webb’s acquittal.

“This is a serious attack on the court and should be dealt with accordingly. Otherwise, it would allow losing litigants to cast aspersions on the high court. Our firm worked so hard to secure an acquittal and did everything within bounds of law. We know of no such bribery. I think it behooves the court to now take the kid gloves off and take Mr. Vizconde to task on his allegations,” said Custodio.

On Dec. 14 last year, the Supreme Court acquitted Webb and six of his co-accused in the killing of Vizconde’s wife and two daughters in 1991. The SC reversed the Court of Appeals’ December 2005 decision and January 2007 resolution that sustained the Parañaque Regional Trial Court’s January 2000 guilty verdict on the seven men.

Vizconde had claimed that in 2006, then CA Justice Jose Mendoza, who is now with the Supreme Court, told him that “someone was lobbying for the case” and that there was a “talk of P50 million as lobby money” reportedly offered by the Webbs in exchange for an acquittal at the Court of Appeals.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Vizconde insinuated that the two Court of Appeals justices who dissented and voted to acquit Webb received favors.

“Ang lobby money, according to my source, is P50 million. And two [Court of Appeals] justices ang nag-dissent. I’m sure the reason why they dissented ay siguro tumanggap sila ng pabor (is maybe because they received favors),” said

The two former CA justices who dissented were Lucenito Tagle (now a Comelec commissioner) and Renato Dacudao. But Webb’s lawyer — Demetrio Custodio — had already denied the existence of the so-called lobby fund for Webb’s acquittal at the CA.

‘Why would I lie?’
Also on Wednesday, Vizconde stood by his claims that it was Chief Justice Renato Corona who told him that Associate Justice Antonio Carpio lobbied for Webb’s acquittal.

“Alam mo talaga, wala akong dahilan para magsinungaling dito. Nagsasabi lang naman ako ng katotohanan. Nakakalungkot siguro sa panig ng mga justices concerned na ipagkaila ang katotohanan. Ano ang dahilan ko para ako’y magsinungaling sa taongbayan?” asked Vizconde.

(I have no reason to lie and I am just telling the truth. It’s just sad that the justices concerrned hide the truth. What is the reason for me to lie to the Vizconde and his supporters from the People’s Movement for Justice picketed in front of the Supreme Court to protest the SC’s final decision acquitting Webb and six others.

Corona, through SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez, had denied telling Vizconde that Carpio tried to convince their colleagues at the Supreme Court bench into voting in favor of Webb. [See: Corona denies accusing Carpio of lobbying for Webb’s acquittal]

Carpio was one of the four justices who inhibited from the SC’s deliberations on the Vizconde massacre case. When the case was still on trial at the Parañaque Regional Trial Court Branch 274, Carpio, who was in private practice then, testified that Webb was not in the Philippines when the killings happened in 1991. — RSJ, GMA News

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