PNP increases bounty for Ecleo, 3 other fugitives
Police authorities have increased the bounty for the arrest of Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr. and three other fugitives.
From P150,000, the reward for information leading to Ecleo’s capture will go up to P450,000, said Philippine National Police (PNP), Director General Nicanor Bartolome.
Ecleo was found guilty last April 13 of parricide and sentenced to 30 years in prison for the 2002 murder of his wife Alona Bacolod in Cebu City.
Ecleo, the “supreme master” of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA), was also ordered to pay the heirs of his wife P25 million in compensatory damages
He skipped bail last year after his conviction on a separate graft charge by the Sandiganbayan.
The PNP also increased the bounty for the arrest of brothers Joel and Mario Reyes, who compose the so-called “Big Four” fugitives along with Ecleo and retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan.
Bartolome said Palparan, who is wanted for the disappearance of two University of the Philippines activists, continues to carry a P1 million prize on his head.
On the other hand, the PNP is recommending an additional P300,000 cash reward for any information leading to the arrest of former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes Jr., the suspected masterminds in the January 2011 murder of Gerardo “Doc Gerry” Ortega.
This is on top of the P1.55 million previously offered by private individuals and groups for the brothers’ arrest.
Asked if the PNP had any leads to the whereabouts of the four, Bartolome said there were some, but “one lead can change its color from time to time.”
“Maybe at this time, the lead is very positive, then moments later, it will change color. But just the same, we will continue to pursue the first lead but we also welcome other leads in other possible places,” he said.
Asked why the reward system was apparently not working, he said the hiding places of the fugitives were apparently “in their control” because of family members protecting them.
On Monday, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) pressed for a more aggressive hunt for the four fugitives and deployed an 80-member task force.
CIDG Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr. said the CIDG had activated a special task group under Senior Supt. Keith Ernald Singian, its deputy director for operation, to lead efforts in hunting down the fugitives.
He also directed all regional and provincial chiefs to mobilize the CIDG’s nationwide network of community informants and to prioritize the gathering of information./INQUIRER
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