Latest Stories

What Went Before: PH ‘big five’ fugitives

A year since President Benigno Aquino III raised the reward for their capture, the country’s “big five” fugitives remain scot-free.

In August last year, Mr. Aquino offered a reward of P2 million each for the arrest of retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, former Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr. and Globe Asiatique developer Delfin Lee.

Palparan, called “the butcher” by political activists, went into hiding in December 2011 when he was ordered arrested by the Regional Trial Court in Malolos, Bulacan province, in connection with the 2006 abduction of two University of the Philippines students.

The Reyes brothers disappeared in March 2012 after the Regional Trial Court in Puerto Princesa City issued warrants for their arrest for the murder of Palawan broadcaster and environmentalist Gerry Ortega.

Ecleo went into hiding after he was meted a 31-year jail sentence by the Sandiganbayan in 2006 for a graft case. In April 2012, a Cebu City court sentenced him to life imprisonment for the killing of his wife. He is the object of a nationwide manhunt.

Lee has a standing arrest warrant issued by a Pampanga court in May 2012 for a multibillion-peso housing scam.

17 ‘tracker teams’

In May, Chief Supt. Francisco Uyami Jr., the head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said his group had created 17 “tracker teams” to intensify the manhunt operations for the high-profile fugitives.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson flew to Hong Kong on Jan. 5, 2010, two days before the Department of Justice (DOJ) could charge him with murder in connection with the killings of Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and the public relations agent’s driver Emmanuel Corbito on Nov. 24, 2000.

The prosecutors based their charges on the affidavit and court testimony of former Senior Supt. Cezar Mancao II, who tagged Lacson as the mastermind behind the murders. The prosecutors filed the charges in the Manila Regional Trial Court and recommended no bail.

Lacson denied involvement in the murders and claimed that he was being persecuted because of his damaging exposés against then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband.

No probable cause

National Bureau of Investigation agents went to the Senate to serve the warrant on Lacson. A janitor and the Senate officer of the day received the warrant.

On Feb. 11, 2010, the Interpol issued a “red notice” for Lacson. The notice requires 188 member countries of Interpol to notify Manila once a fugitive is spotted or arrested. Lacson’s regular and diplomatic passports were later canceled following a court order and requests made by the DOJ.

In March 2011, the appellate court’s special sixth division threw out the double-murder case against Lacson after it found no probable cause to justify the indictment of Lacson for the murders.

The court also voided the warrant for Lacson’s arrest.

Following the ruling, Lacson’s name was stricken from the Interpol’s red notice.

Lacson slipped back into the country on March 26, 2011, entering through the Mactan Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City on Cathay Pacific Airlines’ Flight CX921 from Hong Kong. Inquirer Research

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Benigno Aquino III , Cathay Pacific Airlines , Coron , Delfin Lee , Dinagat Island , fugitives , Globe Asiatique , housing scam , Joel Reyes , Jovito Palparan , Lapu-Lapu city , Mactan Cebu International Airport , Mario Reyes , political activist , Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr. , “big five” fugitives

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Sandigan junks Marcos family claim to Paoay property
  5. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  6. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  7. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  8. Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  9. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  10. Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • Ex-church leader nabbed for selling drugs
  • Camilla’s brother dies in US after head injury
  • Luisita farmers storm DAR compound
  • Trillanes, Ejercito confident they are not in Napoles’ list
  • Easterlies to prevail in Luzon, Visayas
  • Sports

  • Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97
  • Ronaldo shakes off injury fears to play Bayern
  • Mavs roll past Spurs 113-92, even series at 1-1
  • Phelps having fun in his return to swimming
  • Murray breaks down in tears at Scottish ceremony
  • Lifestyle

  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Entertainment

  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • Business

  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Technology

  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged to get clearance before returning
  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Marketplace