Ecleo’s case may face another delay

Four days after the case of Surigao-based cult leader was assigned to Judge Soliver Peras, a group has asked him to inhibit.

Thelma Chong, vice-president of the Crusade Against Violence, said they received reports that Peras and Ecleo's counsel Orlando Salatandre are both from Zamboanga del Norte.

She added that Peras and Salatandre are reportedly relatives.

“I am requesting Judge Peras to inhibit from handling the case out of delicedeza. I'm afraid the outcome of the case might be manipulated,” Chong said in Cebuano.

Although their basis couldn't be a ground for a motion of inhibition, Chong said Peras should inhibit to avoid doubts of the outcome of the case.

Six judges had inhibited from handling the parricide case against Ecleo, supreme master of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association for allegedly killing his wife Alona on Jan. 5, 2002.

They were Judges Galicano Arriesgado, Olegario Sarmiento, Generosa Labra, Anacleto Caminade, and Ireneo Lee-Gako, and Geraldine Faith Econg.

The paper tried but failed to reach Peras for comment.

Chong said she and the six prosecutors would meet on Monday to discuss whether or not they would file a formal motion for Peras’ inhibition.

The seven-year-old case against Ecleo was stalled for over a year to wait for Supreme Court’s decision on Econg’s decision to inhibit from the case.

In resolution dated April 15, 2009, the first division of the Supreme Court granted the motion for inhibition of Econg of Branch 9 and directed Executive Judge Meinrado Paredes to “immediately raffle” Ecleo's case to one of Cebu City's judges.

Last Monday, Peras was selected in the raffle.

Prosecution lawyer Democrito Barcenas said that although Peras and Salatandre reportedly came from one place, he admitted that such is not a ground for inhibition “not until such time that one can prove that the judge has been biased in favor of the accused.”

The other prosecution counsels are lawyers Alfredo Sipalay, Nicetas Ybanez, Frit Quiñanola, Kit Enriquez and Gina Co. (cebu daily news)


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