Their house was enveloped in darkness when April Cartajena came home late in the afternoon of March 12, 2009. The whole village had no electricity at that time and she had to grope around the house.
A few moments later, she was shocked by what she discovered—her father, bearing a huge stab wound on the stomach, his intestines already showing.
Fourty-four year old Teotimo Cartajena was rushed to the Pasay General Hospital. At the same time, April was trying to figure out who could have hurt her father. “Kasi ayaw niyang sumagot, iniisip ko po baka may nakaaway siyang tao,” April tell ABS-CBN SOCO.
After the doctors checked on Teotimo, April went back home to tell her mother what happened. Little did she know that a more horrifying scene was waiting for her.
April saw her mother, Maria Fe Bachar, on the floor, drowning in her own blood, lifeless.
The victim. Maria Fe Bachar was already dead when her daughter saw her on the floor drowning in her own blood.
Letter from the dead
“Nakita ko po ‘yong nanay ko, nakahiga na po, naliligo sa sariling dugo,” April says. “[May] hiwa sa leeg, tinakpan pa nga po siya ng unan eh.”
Information reached the Pasay City police who immediately responded to the crime scene. “Noong nakita na namin ‘yong bangkay, nagpatawag na kami ng SOCO para i-process ‘yung crime scene,” investigator-on-case Police Officer 3 Marianito Agas of the Pasay City PNP says.
Based on autopsy results, Maria Fe died due to stab wounds she sustained on the neck.
While searching the house, the authorities found a crucial evidence which they believed was the murder weapon—a kitchen knife. “Naisip namin na maaaring mayroon silang kagalit na kapitbahay, kaaway, pinasok sila sa loob ng bahay nila.” PO3 Agas says.
The next day, after Teotimo’s condition has stabled, the authorities visited him in the hospital. They were surprised by what he revealed. “Sinabi niya na nagsuicide yung asawa niya,” PO3 Agas says. And then Teotimo turned over to the authorities a suicide letter from his live-in partner, Maria Fe.
And according to Teotimo, after Maria committed killed herself, he tried to commit suicide himself because he couldn’t bear the thought of a life without her.
But the authorities found something amiss. They weren’t convinced that Maria Fe committed suicide.
Suicide note. According to Teotimo Cartajena, his live-in partner Maria Fe Bachar committed suicide and left a three-page suicide letter.
According to the authorities, when a person commits suicide, he or she usually does it by slashing the wrist. In Maria Fe’s case, she was slashed in the neck. Also, the authorities found it suspicious that Teotimo didn’t even find a way to bring his live-in partner to the hospital.
The authorities showed the suicide letter to Teotimo and Maria Fe’s children. They denied that it was from their mother because the handwriting was different.
The authorities began to suspect that Teotimo was lying and could have actually been involved in the crime. And their suspicion grew when April told them that, apparently, Teotimo had already threatened to kill her mother on several occasion.
“Kasi lagi po sila nag-aaway, atsaka lagi po nagbabanta ang tatay ko na papatayin daw po kami,” April says.
After gathering these information, the authorities went back to Teotimo and confronted him. “Sinabi namin sa kanya ‘yung findings, na ‘yung suicide note ay hindi sulat ng kanyang live-in partner,” PO3 Agas said.
At first, Teotimo didn’t respond. But eventually, he revealed to the authorities everything that happened that day.
‘Til death do us part
Jealousy. That was the motive.
According to the authorities, Teotimo eventually confessed to killing his live-in partner, Maria Fe. On the day of the murder, Teotimo was filled with rage because he suspected that Maria Fe was having an affair. So he killed her.
“Kaysa pakinabangan ang asawa niya ng iba, siya na lang ang makikinabang at magsama na lang sila sa kamatayan,” PO3 Marianito Agas says. “Kaso medyo hindi pa siguro niloob ng Diyos na mamatay siya para pagsisihan niya ang mga kasalanan niya.”
On March 16, 2009, Teotimo Cartajena was charged with murder at the Pasay Regional Trial Court. But when the case was formally tried, the charges against Teotimo were lowered to homicide. And because of his voluntary confession, he was sentenced to 11 to 16 years imprisonment.
He is currently detained at the Iwahig Penal Colony in Palawan.
Confessions of a killer. Teotimo Cartajena confessed to killing his live-in partner whom he suspected was having an affair.
Through a phone interview, ABS-CBN SOCO was able to talk to Teotimo. “Nagawa ko lang naman po ‘yun sa asawa ko dahil niloko po ako,” he says. “Kuntento na rin po siguro ako dito sa Iwahig.”
Meanwhile, April vehemently denies that her mother had an affair. And while they lost a father too in the process, April and her siblings do not regret sending him to jail. “Pinatay niya ang nanay naming,” she says. “Gusto lang naming mabigyan ng hustisya ang pagkamatay ng nanay naming kahit tatay pa po naming siya.” April 1, 2011
Justice for Maria Fe. The victim’s children do not regret sending their father to jail if it means getting the justice their mother deserve.