Ombudsman to probe Ecleo’s bribery claims

CEBU CITY — The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas will look into the allegation of cult leader and parricide suspect Ruben Ecleo Jr., who claimed that he has bribed some jail officers at the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center (BBRC) in exchange of special favors.

Ombudsman Primo Miro said the investigation would be aimed at identifying the jailguards and jail officers who allegedly received money from the cult master to allow him to smuggle huge amount of cash, several musical instruments, drills and an electric chainsaw in his detention cell.

Miro said his personnel may even arrange a police lineup just so Ecleo can pinpoint to the jailguards and jail officers who connived with him in sneaking the cash and several items in his infirmary cell.

Ecleo had earlier admitted giving money to some jailguards at the BBRC here so he can smuggle huge amount of cash, cellular phones and other valuable belongings in the city jail.

Ecleo’s admission came after a surprise inspection in his cell yielded huge amount of cash and checks in various denominations, a cellular phone, several musical instruments and other belongings, including a portable chainsaw.

But these were not the only privileges that Ecleo enjoyed in his cell in exchange of money. One of his cellmates said Ecleo even has the luxury of bringing in a woman in his cell at night.

Nestor Rosal, Ecleo’s cellmate, told reporters that jailguards allegedly allowed a woman named “Sharon” to join Ecleo in his detention cell when Primitivo Benitez was still the warden.

However, Rosal did not say if the woman was the same “Sharon” who was found in Ecleo’s cell early this year. This particular irregularity caused the relief of former BBRC warden Supt. Lita Quilaton and her deputy Chief Inspector Oscar Capanas.

Rosal signed yesterday a sworn statement before investigator Senior Jail Officer 1 Arnel Jayme of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), claiming that there were several jailguards who had received money from Ecleo.

He also said that the instruments inside Ecleo’s cell were used in making guitars and violins.

As this developed, former BBRC Warden Gledo Baroro, who was relieved following last Friday’s dawn jailbreak, admitted his leadership failure as a warden of the city jail.

He said he had failed to control jailguards who were allegedly asking money from Ecleo in exchange of special favors but he said that he did not receive anything from the cult master.

Baroro was relieved from his post after three notorious inmates escaped while the two jailguards on duty were sleeping at their posts.

Baroro said the musical instruments were already in the cell of Ecleo when he assumed office as the replacement of Baroro.

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