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Prosecution wants another doctor to check on Ecleo

A private prosecutor in the parricide case against cult leader Ruben Ecleo, Jr. is looking at the possibility of hiring the services of another independent cardiologist to check whether the health condition of the accused is indeed dangerous, as testified to by his doctor.

Lawyer Fritz Quiñanola admitted that their chances to have Ecleo back in jail are somewhat affected by the testimony of Dr. Roberto Anastacio who claimed that Ecleo’s heart ailment has progressed to a “very significant level.”

“Medyo natandog og gamay pero wa gyud makalumpag,” Quiñanola said.

The prosecution is moving to cancel the P1 million bail earlier granted to the supreme master of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association.

But the move hits a snag the other day when Anastacio, a cardiologist from the Makati Medical Center, recommended that Ecleo immediately undergo a coronary bypass operation because of the high possibility that his present condition would cause his “sudden death.”

Anastacio told the court that based on his latest examination on Ecleo last January 18, Ecleo’s right coronary artery has “stenosis” or has narrowed. He claimed that his finding is consistent to the previous findings of the two cardiologists who have examined Ecleo.

Anastacio said that the stenosis, based on his own interpretation, may even be bigger than the previous interpretation, which was only between 20 to 30 percent. The other doctors who examined Ecleo and found abnormality in his heartbeat were Dr. Generoso Matiga and Dr. Saturnino Javier.

But Quiñanola argued there were many loopholes in Anastacio’s testimony. For one, he said, Anastacio, under professional ethics, is expected to be partial with Ecleo because the latter is his patient.

Quiñanola said they will present circumstantial evidence during their turn to cross-examine Anastacio to prove that Ecleo is not really that sick.

“Moangkon hinuon ko nga si Ecleo dunay sakit pero dili ingon ana ka grabe,” Quiñanola said.

Ecleo bid for congress in Dinagat Island is one proof that his condition is not that serious, Quiñanola said.

Yet Quiñanola admitted that hiring an independent cardiologist “might not be very feasible” because the prosecution simply can hardly afford it.

He explained that the first time they engaged the services of a cardiologist was upon the orders of the court for which the prosecution paid nothing.

Still, the national vice president of the Crusade Against Violence, an anti-crime volunteer group helping heinous crime victims, said they will work on hiring another doctor because she herself believes Ecleo is not that sick.

Thelma Chiong said she heard about Ecleo’s need to undergo a bypass operation a long time ago, but Ecleo is still alive.

“Pila naman na ka tuig nganong wa pa man muboto nga walking time bomb man kaha na siya?” Chiong said.

Chiong said the defense is “singing an old song” allegedly intended to further delay the case.

The case vs. Ecleo is now on its eighth year in court and has been transferred from one sala to another following the inhibition of judges.

In fact, RTC Branch 10 Judge Soliver Peras, the judge hearing the case at present, is already the seventh judge assigned to handle the case. The alleged crime Ecleo is accused of happened in 2002 when the PBMA supreme master allegedly killed his wife Alona Bacolod. — Fred P. Languido/JMO (FREEMAN NEWS)

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