Big sum of cash found in Ecleo’s detention cell

CEBU CITY – Cult leader and parricide suspect Ruben Ecleo Jr. admitted yesterday giving money to some jail- guards at the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center (BBRC) here to smuggle huge amount of cash, cellular phones and other belongings inside the city jail.

Ecleo made the admission after an “Operation Grey Hound” conducted Monday night at his detention cell yielded big amount of cash and checks in various denominations, a cellular phone, several musical instruments and other belongings, including a portable chainsaw.

New BBRC warden Supt. Nestor Velasquez said Ecleo, supreme master of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA), admitted in an interrogation that he was able to sneak in various musical instruments and a cellular phone in his infirmary cell by bribing the jailguards and officers.

However, Ecleo did not reveal the names of the jailguards and officers who connived with him in smuggling the things inside his cell as well as the amount of money that changed hands, Velasquez said.

Jail officers who conducted the search in Ecleo’s cell late Monday night seized 54 pieces of R1,000 bill, 102 pieces of R500 bill, US2,898 cash, two pieces of Canadian $500 bills, nine pieces of 1,000 yen, one piece of 50 Euros, two pieces of Aus$100, three checks for $1,000 each and R1,000 check.

Velasquez said the money could be donations from several PBMA members who visit Ecleo everyday, their supreme master. However, he said that the amount of money in the possession of Ecleo was too much for a prisoner.

Aside from the cash, jail officers also seized several items in Ecleo’s detention cell. These include four electric guitars, a drum set, a violin, an electric chainsaw, and a Nokia cellular phone.

Ecleo said the cellular phone has been with him since three months ago when the jailguards allegedly allowed him to use it in exchange of money. The musical instruments signified Ecleo’s love for music as he had earlier admitted being a rocker before.

Velasquez said former Jail Warden Gledo Baroro had said he had no idea on why the cash and various items were smuggled in.

The new warden said he will order a thorough investigaiton on the incident to identify the jail officers who were involved in giving Ecleo special treatment.

The money and items seized were turned over yesterday to Ecleo’s laywer, Giovannie Mata, even as Operation Grey Hound continued inside the city jail.

Since his detention at BBRC last year, Ecleo has caused the relief of two jail wardens who were found to have given special treatment to him.

BBRC Assistant Warden Valentino Coderias was earlier relieved after it was discovered that Ecleo, in jail awaiting trial on the killing of his wife Alona, continued to enjoy special privileges.

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