SC denies Ecleo plea, affirms jail sentence
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court has denied with finality the appeal of Dinagat Island representative and cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr. who had sought to overturn the Sandiganbayan ruling sentencing him and two others to 31-year prison terms for graft and corruption.
In upholding its Oct. 18, 2010, resolution, the high court reiterated that Ecleo failed to file his petition for review within the allotted period.
It said that Ecleo, the “Supreme Master” of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association cult, also failed to support his claim that the Sandiganbayan had erred in convicting him on three counts of the antigraft law.
“Although the petitioner sought from the court an extension of the time to appeal by petition for review on June 30, 2008, he subsequently informed the court on July 28, 2008, that he was no longer filing the (appeal),” the Supreme Court said in a three-page ruling.
“Under such circumstances, the adverse decision promulgated on Oct. 13, 2006, attained finality, rendering the court bereft of the jurisdiction to review the decision,” it said.
The Sandiganbayan meted out a guilty verdict on Ecleo for his role in irregularities in several infrastructure projects in San Jose, Surigao del Norte, where he served as mayor from 1991 to 1994.
He was sentenced to from 18 to 31 years in prison and ordered to pay P2.8 million to the government.
Ecleo is also facing parricide charges for allegedly killing his wife, Alona, on Jan. 5, 2002, in a case that is pending.
In its ruling, the high court did not give credence to Ecleo’s claim that his petition was junked on a technicality and not on its merits.