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Editorial

A drop in the bucket

/ 07:52 AM April 26, 2012

What’s P150,000 nowadays, the reward money being offered to informants who could lead authorities to the location of cult leader/convicted murderer Ruben Ecleo Jr.?

With P150,000, one could  make  a down payment for a modest house or a car. About P150,000 can be offered as the prize in a variety show in one of the country’s top networks.

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About P150,000 could  also be used to post bail on illegal gun possession charges, though that amount is a fraction of the P1 million bail paid by Ecleo for his temporary liberty after he was charged with  the murder of his wife Alona Bacolod and her family.

We ask because police authorities have deemed it adequate to post a P150,000 bounty for Congressman Ecleo, the elusive Surigao del Norte cult leader, whom police strongly suspect is safely ensconced in Dinagat Island but have reservations about going in to extract him after the 2002 bloodbath in a similar exercise to serve an arrest warrant.

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Perhaps it’s because the police know where Ecleo is that the reward was pegged at just P150,000.

The problem is not where to look but how to do the arrest.

Is P150,000 enough for an informant who knows that snitching on Ecleo would bring down the wrath of Ecleo’s avowed network of 2 million fervent followers in the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association? It took only one security guard, a “sleeper” PBMA member, to almost wipe out the family of Alona Alegre in Mandaue City soon after the police attacked his Dinagat mansion.

There is no more element of surprise in checking out Ecleo’s hilltop residence in Dinagat Island, where he maintains substantial government connections through his mother,  Gov. Glenda Ecleo.

That  2002 raid in Dinagat Island that claimed the lives of  several cult members and at least one policeman was a wet operation that was difficult to avoid because of the deep-seated loyalty of Ecleo’s followers in the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA), which his father had founded and which Ruben Jr.’s son, a namesake, is positioned to continue.

While we hope it won’t come to that, an aggressive pursuit cannot be avoided.

It may be difficult, but it’s not impossible to arrest Ecleo.

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For this brazen cult leader, the price of bringing him to justice and the high risk of pulling off an arrest makes P150,000 a drop in the bucket.

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TAGS: Crime and Law and Justice, cult leader, Ecleo parricide case, Ruben Ecleo Jr.
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