MANILA – Police operatives arrested former Representative of Dinagat Islands and cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr. on Thursday morning in Pampanga, according to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief, Maj. Debold Sinas.
Sinas said Ecleo is the number 1 Most Wanted Person by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), with a PHP2-million reward on his head.
Sinas said they received information from a cop agent from Dinagat Island that Ecleo had left the island six years ago and was hiding in the National Capital Region (NCR).
“The informant came from the Dinagat island and proceeded to Manila and coordinated to our operatives and give us an idea where Ecleo is residing,” Sinas told reporters.
Before the arrest, the NCRPO operatives placed under surveillance for six months Ecleo’s residence in Angeles, Pampanga.
Ecleo was arrested around 4:30 a.m. in San Fernando, Pampanga during the service of the arrest warrant against him by the 1st Division of Sandiganbayan in Quezon City for charges of graft and corruption.
Arrested along with Ecleo was his driver, Benjie Relacion Fernan, for obstruction of justice.
In 2012, Ecleo was sentenced to life imprisonment for the slaying of his wife, Alona, in Cebu City in 2002.
The court also ordered Ecleo to pay PHP25 million in compensatory damages to his wife’s family.
Ecleo was also convicted of graft in 2006 for the anomalous construction of the public market and town hall, and repairs of his cult’s building in San Jose, Dinagat Islands when he was mayor there in the early ’90s. He was sentenced to 31 years for this crime.
Seized from the suspect were three short firearms, one M-16 rifle, fake IDs, 1 golf set, one Grandia van registered to his fake name “Marcos Macapagal Garcia”, cash amounting PHP173,000, three cellphones, and some pieces of jewelry.
“We will try to check if the guns are licensed, (if not), then we could file for illegal possession,” said Sinas. (PNA)