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2 brothers of Ecleo’s wife to ask review of RTC ruling

The family of the late Alona Bacolod-Ecleo, wife of parricide suspect and cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr., will seek a reconsideration of a court decision convicting the self-proclaimed accesory in the killing of Alona.

Josebil and Ricky said they were shocked and disappointed to learn of the conviction of the man they believed knew nothing of the slaying of their sister.

Josebil and Ricky are the only surviving members of the Bacolod family. Their parents and siblings were murdered in an attack by a lone gunman, said to be a member of the Ecleo cult, on the same day Ecleo was captured, at a great cost to human life, in the cult’s enclave on Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte.

The Region 7 office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI 7), surprised by the conviction of Divinadera, said it will investigate the seemingly “unexpected conviction.”

NBI 7 Director Reynaldo Esmeralda said the bureau was surprised when it learned that Judge Suerte convicted Divinadera, the self-confessed killer of Alona, for being an accessory to the killing. Divinadera was sentenced to four to eight years in jail after he pleaded guilty of the charge following a plea bargaining agreement forged with the prosecution. He was charged with murder last March 3 by Alona’s distant relative, Jaime Bacolod.

Esmeralda said the NBI was not even informed that a case was filed against Divinadera last March 3, the time when Divinadera was still under NBI custody. He surrendered last December and admitted having conspired with Alona’s brother Ben in killing the victim.

Esmeralda said he was shocked by the ruling because he found Divinadera’s admission “impossible and uncorroborated.’’ Esmeralda said he never knew that a case had been filed against Divinadera, although he had been in the custody of the NBI from December 2003 to April, this year.

In fact, nobody knew of the filing of the case until Divinadera was convicted last week. He was arraigned on the same day and was meted the penalty when he pleaded guilty of the charge.Divinadera had claimed he decided to surrender because his conscience had been bothering him. He said nobody paid him to admit to the crime but said Ben gave him R30,000 that he spent for hopping from one place to another.

He said he was inside the white van where Ben and Alona allegedly had a fight, which led to Ben strangling Alona.

Divinadera said after Ben killed Alona and they threw the body down a cliff in Dalaguete town, he reportedly went to Bantayan Island, Liloan, Ormoc, Maasin, and Surigao. (MB)

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