I was going through Wikipedia on my break and chanced upon the Wikipedia entry for Claudio Teehankee, Jr. In case you were born after 1990, Claudio Teehankee, Jr. is the son of the late Chief Justice of the same name. He is also the convicted murderer of Maureen Hultman and Roland John Chapman.
Hultman and Chapman were murdered inside posh Dasmariñas Village. Apparently, Teehankee suddenly fired at Chapman in the chest at close range in what appears to be an act of road rage. This is quite an interesting theory. First of all, the streets of Dasmariñas are so wide they seem to be made for semi-trucks. With all the roads being that wide it is easy to get lost in the middle of the village in the dark of night. I myself have become lost in its labyrinthine roads late one evening despite being fueled by a large amount of caffeine at the time. Chapman may also have been lost, intoxicated, or whatnot – we may never know. Teehankee never admitted being in Dasmariñas Village that night. As far as he is concerned he was at home being the son of the late Chief Justice (not that it counts for much). I don’t think he would ever say otherwise – at least in public. These things are not exactly the things you tell to strangers (or maybe even your own lawyer).
However, newspaper reports at the time varied widely. Some even went as far to say that Teehankee was a lecherous middle-aged executive used to living off the scraps from his father’s table. So used was he, they said, to the trappings of his father’s power that he would carry guns and stalk young, nubile women – like Hultman. So it was that Teehankee was typecast as the son of power and privilege: a gun-toting lush who made no bones of how powerful and well-connected he was, while Hultman was presented as the hapless beauty queen. Photos of pre-shooting Hultman that were distributed to media showed the very picture of a Makati debutante-cum-socialite (which was what most Makati-raised girls were at the time).
Although no physical evidence placed Teehankee at the scene of the crime, what did Teehankee in was that several housemaids and rent-a-cops in the area were able to take down Teehankee’s plates and that Leino clearly identified him as the shooter. Can’t argue with that.
Still, the amazing lack of physical, scientific evidence (I’m spoiled by CSI:Crime Scene Investigation) placing Teehankee at the scene of the crime was a veritable mountain to overcome: the Hultmans had to hire the law firm of Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz (ACCRA – Don’t ask me why ACCRA is ACCRA when the firm’s name partners are arranged differently.)
Now, ACCRA is one of the largest and most expensive firms in the country notorious for hiring only valedictorians and Latin honorees. Among the firm’s senior partners is the youngest topnotcher in the history of the Philippine Bar. The lead counsel for the firm handling the case was Atty. Rogelio Vinluan, who taught my wife in his Trial Technique class at the Ateneo. Knowing this, the trial court judge awarded Three Million Pesos [P3,000,000.00] in attorney’s fees. Of course, Teehankee’s lawyers challenged the award. Of course, the Supreme Court junked the challenge. It held:
Given these circumstances and the evident effort exerted by the private prosecutor throughout the trial, the trial court’s award of a total of Three Million [P3,000,000.00] Pesos as attorney’s fees and litigation expenses appears just and reasonable. (citations omitted) (People v. Teehankee, G.R. Nos. 111206-08, October 5, 1998)
Can’t argue with that, either.