Teehankee’s Pardon and Philippine Circus

The way we Filipinos are so used to corruption in the government, nothing could seem to shock us anymore. Overpricing government contracts by millions of dollars is stale news. Secret bank accounts of some big time politician (or of the husband) – not surprising at all.

But what I read on the headline of my Yahoo News page several nights ago utterly disgusted me!

Claudio Teehankee Jr. has been granted executive clemency??? This cold-blooded murderer who shot three people in 1991, killing two of them, is free to go, decided the President of the Philippines. The article says Teehankee’s “good behavior” was the basis for being granted clemency.

On the headlines the other day, Vivian Hultman – the mom of Maureen Hultman (the 17-year old victim) – confirmed that they were not informed of the decision. It must have been shocking news to hear that the murderer of her daughter is out. Vivian expresses her disgust:

“This is a disgrace to the Filipino nation. This is the highest form of injustice in the country and I’m really, really ashamed to be a Filipino.”

As a mother, I fear for my kids’ welfare and safety. There’s some power-tripping, maniacal killer on the loose set free by President Arroyo?? Moreover, the president can set free whomever she thinks can go free, regardless of the crime committed?? Rapists, murderers, kidnappers –  despite conviction for their crimes, they stand a chance to walk free again soon.

I know there must be some basis for granting clemency to convicts, such as old age and behavior. But should these outweigh the crimes committed?

How sick can the justice system get? (If the Justice Secretary’s face sarcasm is any indication, then you will get the picture.)

Of course we all know that Teehankee Jr. is the son of former Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee. His brother, Manuel, served as a Justice Undersecretary under the Arroyo administration. He comes from a very influential family, indeed.

And then there’s the interesting part where Secretary Ermita says the Hultmans were consulted and had no objections to the decision. This is what Anders Hultman, father of Maureen, says:

“…The executive secretary, I’m sorry to say this, is lying to the public.”

Public officials lying to the public – for whose sake? To cover whose ass? Oh yeah, this isn’t new.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez’ sarcastic remarks in defense of the decision are not to be missed. On a press interview shown on TV news the other night, he was saying “Kay Jesus Christ” (pointing index finger to heaven). Apparently he was asked by some reporters where those who objected to the release of Teehankee may file an appeal.

Tell me again – why do we pay taxes for the salaries of these officials? They seem to be forgetting why they are on office. They seem to exist only to defend the president. They treat the people’s questions with haughty, arrogant replies.

This circus called Philippine governance – nothing is amusing about it anymore.

6 thoughts on “Teehankee’s Pardon and Philippine Circus

  1. what really got me gritting my teeth–aside from secretary gonzales’ pronouncements, of course–was this lawyer who, in an interview, said that it was ok to free teehankee considering the role his father played in philippine history. claudio teehankee jr. is definitely not his father, and the country is not beholden to him di ba? so why the special treatment?

  2. Hi Wenchie,

    Oo nga, he could have answered the questions without having to be sarcastic. Isama mo na rin dyan ang remarks ni Ermita. The way they handled the questioning was so insensitive, not only to the Hultmans but also to the whole Filipino population na nagulat at nagalit sa decision.





  3. Hi Anna,

    I didn’t get to watch that. But that argument is waaaay off – just because Teehankee Jr. had a former Chief Justice for a father doesn’t mean he is immune. Duh!






  4. Isn’t he qualipaid, I mean qualified, for pardon? Haay, I feel ambivalent about this. I see his picture and he looks so cool and unruffled. I try to think straight and I say, why not, he has served out almost 20 years and well he must behaved very well in prison. Pero, sa akin, if we err, let’s err on the side of compassion, of generosity. Pero those who are as qualified should be pardoned too. Minsan, pag ganyan, napipilitan ang administration na mag-patawad sa ibang convicts na unconnected .. you know .. para masabi that the system/proecedure is fair.

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