Sandigan junks Ecleo's bid to reopen graft case

The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the motion filed by Ruben Ecleo Jr., former mayor of San Jose in Surigao del Norte, seeking to overturn his October 2006 conviction on three counts of graft.

In a three-page resolution, the Sandiganbayan First Division said Ecleo simply rehashed old issues and arguments that were previously considered by the court when it convicted him.

“There being no new matter raised in the subject motion for reconsideration, the Court finds no cogent reason to reconsider its resolution. To grant the request is tantamount to reopening these cases which the Court cannot do after its decision therein has long become final," the court said.

Ecleo was held liable for the fraudulent disbursement of government funds used in the construction of a public market, a new municipal building, and a guesthouse. Inspectors found that the public market and the supposed new municipal building were mere “concrete-and-steel skeletons" while the purported guesthouse turned out to be a private structure.

Ecleo was sentenced to 31 years imprisonment while his co-accused, former municipal planning and development coordinator Anadelia Navarra, and private contractor contractor Ricardo Santillano of PBMA Builders were each sentenced to 21 years jailterms.

The former mayor filed his motion for reconsideration after the court junked last February 17, 2009 his motion for new trial.

Ecleo is the son of Surigao del Norte Rep. Glenda Ecleo and is leader of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA). He is also facing trial for parricide in Cebu in relation to the death of his wife, Alona Bacolod-Ecleo, whose body was found dumped in a ravine in January 2002 with signs of strangulation. (gmanews.tv)

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