No fear: Police on Ecleo arrest-A A +A
Sunday, November 6, 2011
CEBU CITY -- The police in the Caraga Region will arrest Ruben Ecleo Jr. when they see him because they “are not afraid” of the divine master of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA).
Superintendent Ritchie Posadas, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Caraga Region, made the statement in response to a criticism of a prosecution lawyer that the police can’t arrest Ecleo because they fear him.
CIDG operatives reportedly returned to the court the arrest warrant for Ecleo after a barangay chief issued a certification that Ecleo has not lived in Dinagat Island for a year now.
“Kon makit-a namo siya, amo siyang dakpon (If we find him, we will arrest him,” Posadas said in a phone interview.
He said they have received reports that Ecleo is in Talisay City, Cebu, Manila, General Santos, Davao and in the suspect’s home province of Dinagat Island, and is out of the country.
He and his men are validating the information on Ecleo’s whereabouts, Posadas said.
For his part, Cebu Provincial Police Director Patrocinio Comendador said they are willing to arrest Ecleo.
Comendador said they are not afraid to implement the warrant, which can be carried out by any officer of the law.
They do not have a copy of the warrant, though.
Comendador said his office has not received reports that Ecleo is in Cebu.
He said in a phone interview that the police office that filed the case is the main operating agency and “we are just here to support as long as our resources would allow.”
Prosecution lawyer Kit Enriquez said Thursday that “the law enforcers might be afraid to implement” the arrest warrant against Ecleo, who is facing a parricide case for the death of his wife Alona Bacolod-Ecleo in January 2002, and who has been convicted of graft by the Sandiganbayan for the anomalous construction of projects when he was still mayor of San Jose, Surigao del Norte from 1991 to 1994.
Whether or not Ecleo is guilty of killing his wife will be known on December 16, the tentative date of the promulgation of the parricide case.
In an April 6 order, Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10 Judge Soliver Peras cancelled Ecleo’s P1-million bail and issued a warrant after the PBMA leader snubbed the scheduled hearings in Cebu City.
The Sandiganbayan’s First Division issued a warrant for Ecleo’s arrest last January 28 after the Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and that of two co-accused for their involvement in the anomalous construction projects.
CIDG chief Posadas said he was the deputy chief of CIDG in Central Visayas when he took part in serving the warrant on Ecleo nine years ago.
He will be back in the unit next week.
Twenty-three people died when CIDG Caraga operatives, assisted by provincial policemen and soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 20th Infantry Battalion, arrested Ecleo in his Dinagat Island mansion on June 18, 2002. (KAL of Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 06, 2011.