House drops convicted legislator Ecleo from the rolls

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WIFE KILLER. Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Convicted wife killer and Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr. has been expelled from the House of Representatives, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., said on Friday.

“Before l left, l signed an order to (House) Secretary General (Marilyn B. Yap) to drop Ecleo from the roll of members effective May 31,” Belmonte in a text message to reporters.

Belmonte said he gave the order despite Ecleo’s pending petition before the Supreme Court on the Sandiganbayan’s decision finding the supreme master of the Christian cult Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association guilty of three counts of graft and corruption in three projects.

“The final appeal in the third case looked pro forma to us with scant chance of being granted,” Belmonte said.

The Sandiganbayan found Ecleo guilty of graft and corruption in the construction of a public market and a municipal building, and the repair and rehabilitation of a building owned by his family’s cult while he was mayor of San Jose, Dinagat Island, in Surigao del Norte from 1991 to 1994.  He was sentenced to 31 years in jail.

The Supreme Court dismissed with finality Ecleo’s third appeal on the graft case last April 15, or days after the Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC) found him guilty of murdering his wife Alona Bacolod-Ecleo 10 years ago.

In a related development, Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Rene Sarmiento on Friday ruled out the possibility of special elections in Dinagat Island to fill up the congressional seat of its ousted representative.

“Even if the House of Representatives requests one, I don’t think Comelec can acquiesce because there’s no more time. I think the Comelec will no longer hold special elections. I personally don’t want to,” the Comelec official told reporters.

Sarmiento said the House should just assign one of its members as “caretaker congressman” for the lone district of Dinagat.

Election laws prohibit the holding of special polls to fill up vacancies occurring less than a year before the next general elections.

In April this year, Judge Soliver Peras of the Cebu City RTC Branch 10 sentenced Ecleo to a prison term of 20 to 40 years and ordered him to pay over P25 million in damages to Bacolod’s family for his wife’s murder.

But Ecleo evaded arrest and has been the top absentee in the House of Representatives since last year.  The bounty for his arrest was raised to P450,000, according to the Philippine National Police who said that a police task force has been created in northeastern Mindanao to track down the fugitive.

According to court records, Bacolod, a medical student, was strangled in the couple’s residence in sitio Banawa, Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, on Jan. 5, 2002, and her body found three days later inside a black garbage bag dumped in a ravine in Dalaguete town, south Cebu.

In his decision, Judge Peras gave weight to the eyewitness testimonies of Alona’s brother Josebil Bacolod and witness Gloria Navaja.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NNAJQQUKFAB4DITXYZPSG26FYA Martin

    He should not only be dropped from the rolls, he should drop dead.  How this murderer became a Congressman is beyond my comprehension. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TC5G73ONHY32AEAO66EJMYT3RI Timur Lang

    What’s taking so long for the authorities to find and arrest this guy? Same with Palparan.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TC5G73ONHY32AEAO66EJMYT3RI Timur Lang

    Are the authorities so inutile on these cases? What if Corona will do the same? Will they have the same dismal records of finding and arresting wanted persons?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TC5G73ONHY32AEAO66EJMYT3RI Timur Lang

    Are the authorities so inutile on these cases? What if Corona will do the same? Will they have the same dismal records of finding and arresting wanted persons?

  • http://pedestrianobserver.blogspot.com/ Political Jaywalker

    Finally the maniacal cold blooded murderer is dropped from the rolls of congress when he should not have been allowed to run in the first place.

    Whoever is the dumb judge who allowed bail for this monstrosity of nature should be held accountable and responsible for his misdeeds. So many people died mostly Ecleo’s fanatical followers when they arrested him the first time so what was that idiot judge thinking anyway?

    It is now up to the PNP to show they have the cojones to arrest this man or are they afraid of his armed fanatical followers. Send in armored bullet proof trucks and let them have it if they don’t give him up. Charge the family of aiding and abetting a criminal if he is arrested inside the Ecleo compound.

    Time for the authorities to impose the rule of law or be made to look like a fool by this sorry excuse for a human being, your choice……

  • tayawa

    One sure way of arresting Ecleo is to replace the PNP commander in Surigao and assign him to Tawi-Tawi. It should not be difficult to find a more competent commander to effect the arrest of Ecleo. No need for bounty.

  • ddano

    BAKIT NGAYON LANG, NUON PA DAPAT!

    • gerp

      sa panahon ni GMA…pagdating sa politika..walang masama at mabuti…lahat pinakikisamahan niya…even maguindanao massacre… GMA let it go.

  • KonsensyaNgBayan

    Cold blooded killers should be imprisoned and not to be treated as VIP officials in Congress. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. should act and order the Department of Justice and the Supreme Court to expedite the judicial process of any member of the House with any personal Case in court…Glolong, Mikey, Datu, Pangandaman, et al. To Set a Warning to Other and Ffuture Lawmakers….

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/55MHEPHVCLSOOSQQNVLYP4L2GM Jun

    It took the Amercans before they bagged in Osama bin Laden. Akala niyo madaling maghanap. Ni wala nga halos support iinibigay ng gobiyerno in terms of intel fund.

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