CEBU CITY — Experts of various agencies are working together to examine the body of Alona Bacolod-Ecleo, wife of parricide suspect and cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr., after it was exhumed yesterday at the Cebu South Memorial Garden in Talisay City.
Forensic expert Raquel Fortun and representatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 and the PNP crime laboratory here are examining the body of the buried woman to determine if indeed it was that of the wife of Ecleo, the supreme master of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA).
The body, believed to be that of Alona, was exhumed yesterday after Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Geraldine Faith Econg granted the prosecution’s request to dig up what is generally known as the body of Alona to preclude all doubts over the identity of the remains of the woman found in a ravine in Dalaguete town in 2002.
Three samples will be taken and submitted to the NBI laboratory, the forensics department of the University of the Philippines’ College of Medicine in Manila, and the PNP Crime Laboratory.
Her teeth will also be examined and compared with Alona’s dental records.
After the exhumation, the panel wants a DNA test, with samples to be compared with DNA of Alona’s brothers Ricky, Josebil and Angelito Bacolod.
Defense lawyer Orlando Salatandre, however, called the move of the prosecution a “delaying tactic.”
Salatandre said the motion was tantamount to admitting that the identity of the victim “is uncertain.”
Ecleo had denied having killed his wife, stuffing her body into a garbage bag and dumping it at a roadside in Dalaguete, Cebu on Jan. 5, 2002. He had said that he loved his wife and could not have killed her.
It took several lives though and more than 100 government troopers to force Ecleo to surrender last June 18 of the same year.
Some of Ecleo’s supporters in PBMA engaged the arresting policemen in a shootout in San Jose, Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte.
A PBMA member also allegedly killed three members of the Bacolod family, including witness Ben Bacolod, in their residence in Mandaue City on the day Ecleo surrendered.
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