Cult leader snubs parricide hearing

Cult leader and parricide suspect Ruben Ecleo Jr. snubbed the resumption of his seven-year controversial parricide case in Cebu, citing health reasons for his failure to show up in court on Wednesday.

Security was tight and additional security men were fielded at the Palace of Justice grounds in preparation for the arrival of Ecleo, Supreme Master of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA), for the October 14 resumption of his hearing.

Ecleo’s lawyer, Orlando Salatandre, said his client was in his house in Dinagat Island, being looked upon by a private nurse and a physician due to an illness. The lawyer said they will present the doctor in court to prove that Ecleo’s health could worsen if he is brought back to jail.

Judge Soliver Peras, the seventh judge to handle the case, was set to rule on the prosecution’s motion for the cancellation of Ecleo’s bail on Wednesday before official resumption of the case.

Ecleo is charged for the brutal death of his wife Alona Bacolod-Ecleo and has put up a P1 million bail for his temporary liberty, citing his worsening health condition as a reason.

Prosecution lawyers sought the cancellation of Ecleo’s bail in order to return the cult leader to jail.

Lawyer Fritz Quinanola, who leads the prosecution panel, has earlier submitted its formal motion asking Judge Peras to act on the motion that seeks to cancel the bail of Ecleo, the prime suspect in the slay of his wife Alona Bacolod-Ecleo.

The prosecution laywers said the motion against Ecleo’s bail was filed on July 31, 2006 and remained unresolved until today as judges handling the case of the supreme master of the PBMA kept on being inhibited from the case.

Last March 1, 2004, Judge Generosa Labra approved the P1-million bail that set Ecleo temporarily free, to the surprise of the prosecutors and the family of the victim considering that parricide is a non-bailable offense.

Ecleo claimed he was suffering from various illnesses and was already a “walking time bomb” and his condition could worsen if he remains in jail. (Manila Bulletin)

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