CEBU CITY — After the parricide case of Ruben Ecleo Jr. was raffled off to another judge for the sixth time, the cult leader’s lawyer said his client will ask the court to defer further hearing the case until the Supreme Court rules on his motion to transfer the case to Manila.
Judge Geraldine Faith Econg of Regional Trial Court Branch 9 said she still has to read the records of the case and attend an orientation of newly appointed judges in Tagaytay City from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10 before setting a hearing of the case.
Ecleo’s lawyer Orlando Salatandre said he will manifest on the first hearing of the case for the court to defer the proceedings until after the Office of the Court Administrator rules on his client’s motion to transfer the venue.
In his motion, Ecleo alleged that the Cebuano community has been hostile to him since he was charged as the prime suspect in the killing of his wife, Alona Bacolod, two years ago.
Ecleo’s case is considered a baptism of fire for Econg, who is the youngest RTC presiding judge in Cebu City. Aside from being the youngest, she was sworn in as an RTC judge only last month.
Econg inherited at least 400 unresolved cases when she assumed as presiding judge of RTC Branch 9.
Econg seemed overwhelmed by the controversial Ecleo case following the inhibition of Branch 5 Judge Ireneo Lee Gako.
“I’m not eager to take the case but I don’t also shun the idea,” Econg said, adding that the case, although controversial, offers her the opportunity to give justice to whoever justice is due.
She said the first thing she will do is find out if there are still unresolved motions in the parricide case.
Asked if she is concerned about her safety, Econg said risk is part of her job, even in non-controversial cases.