Vizconde massacre suspect seen in US

01/05/2011 - JUSTICE Secretary Leila De Lima revealed that one of the two missing suspects in the Vizconde massacre case was spotted in the United States. At a press briefing, De Lima said she will convene the interagency task force, which is reinvestigating the case, to give instructions on reports that Joey Filart was sighted in the US. If reports are validated, De Lima said she will immediately order the extradition of Filart.

"We got a feedback from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that Filart is a true person and not fictitious. May nakapag-confirm na nakausap siya. I have ordered the NBI to coordinate with the US embassy to verify his whereabouts," she said. De Lima said since Filart was charged in court, though never arraigned because he was at large at the time, the acquittal granted by the Supreme Court to other suspects does not apply to him. She said the validation from the NBI about Filart gave credence to Alfaro's statement insofar as his existence is concerned.
"Medyo nakakatulong ito to strengthen Jessica's credibility. Kung totoo talaga yung sinasabi ni Jessica, she has to come back and retell her story. With this development on Filart, there is indeed some semblance of truth to what Jessica is saying," said De Lima. Aside from Filart, the other accused that remained missing was a certain Artemio Ventura. Both Filart and Ventura, Alfaro said, were with Hubert Webb, Antonio Lejano, Peter Estrada, Hospicio Fernandez, Michael Gatchalian and Miguel Rodriguez when they killed Estrellita Vizconde and her daughters Carmela and Jennifer. But Webb lawyer Jose Flaminiano earlier said Filart and Ventura are mere fictitious characters in the mind of Alfaro to support her claim of conspiracy among the accused. He said they even hired private investigators to locate these individuals, but the search yielded negative, prompting them to conclude that these were just fictitious characters. But citing the legal principle that "flight is an indication of guilt," De Lima said: "We want to know why these two had to flee and why were there no efforts to track them down." Despite the ruling of the SC giving weight to Webb's alibi that he was in the US at the time the crime, De Lima said she would still like to take a second look at the pieces of evidence that were not presented in court. Among these are the testimony of Carmela's alleged boyfriend, the subdivision logbook that supposedly recorded the visitors in the village, the semen sample, the airline boarding pass and the original passport of Webb. (Sun Star)

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