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Ecleo lawyers win reprieve, ask court to drop charges

/ 09:13 AM December 19, 2011

With a promulgation still two months away, the lawyers of cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr. asked the court last week to clear their client of parricide charges in relation to the death of his wife Alona Bacolod.

In a memorandum submitted to the court, defense lawyers Orlando Salatandre and Giovanni Mata believed that the evidence presented against Ecleo is insufficient to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

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Regional Trial Court Judge Soliver Peras of Branch 10 will reportedly hand over the verdict on the case on Feb. 12, 2012.  The judge earlier scheduled the promulgation of the case last Friday.

However, the prosecution has requested for an extension to file their memorandum. The case will be a decade-old by then.

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Ecleo, the supreme master of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA) faces parricide charges for allegedly killing his wife, Alona on Jan. 5, 2002.

In 2004, the court allowed Ecleo to post a P1-million bail so he could undergo treatment for his heart ailment.

Last April 6, Judge Peras canceled the bail after Ecleo failed to attend three hearings in a row.

An arrest warrant was also issued against  Ecleo , now congressman of the lone district of Dinagat Islands in Surigao del Norte.

The Sandiganbayan found him guilty of overpricing construction supplies during his stint as mayor of San Jose town in Dinagat Island.

Ecleo  is contesting the ruling before the Supreme Court. In 2002, around 20 members of the PBMA died in a shootout between them and the police who served the arrest warrant on Ecleo. Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol

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TAGS: cult leader, legal issues, Ruben Ecleo Jr.
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