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Prosecutors petition court to cancel cult leaders bail

The Manila Times, Philippines
July 1, 2004
Jomar Canlas, Correspondent • Thursday July 1, 2004

The prosecution has appealed a lower-court decision to grant bail to the cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr., who is accused of strangling his wife on January 5, 2002, in their Cebu City home.

Public and private prosecutors filed the 18-page petition before the Court of Appeals on behalf of the brothers of the victim, Alona Bacolod Ecleo.

Alona Ecleos body was found stuffed inside a black garbage bag in the town of Dalaguete, Cebu. Ecleo was charged with parricide before Judge Genorosa Labra of the Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 23.

At least 17 people died when police tried to arrest Ecleo, leader of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association, a cult on Dinagat Island off Surigao del Norte. Ecleo surrendered after a night of bloody fighting between law enforcers and armed cultists.

After his arrest, Ecleo claimed he was suffering from heart disease and asked for his immediate release for humanitarian reasons. The lower court granted his motion for bail.

Prosecutors said, however, that the lower courts decision should be reversed for grave abuse of discretion. They said the records show evidence that Ecleo was not suffering from any serious illness.

Ecleo is charged with a heinous crime and should be denied bail, they said.

They also complained that the lower court granted bail without a hearing.

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