Cult leader Ruben Ecleo’s arrest looms as court junks his plea

The warrant for the arrest of cult leader and Dinagat Island (Philippines) Rep. Ruben Ecleo stays. The Sandiganbayan First Division has denied Ecleo’s appeal to suspend the warrant for his arrest for his graft conviction, which he said deserves a second look from the court.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer writes

It also considered moot his offer of a P3-million bond to suspend his warrant and to show that he would not flee the country.

According to Sandiganbayan, his graft conviction was final and executory, which was why the court was duty-bound to execute the ruling and order his arrest. […]

In 2006, Sandiganbayan found Ecleo guilty of three counts of graft in connection with irregularities in construction projects in the Surigao del Norte town of San Jose, where he was mayor from 1991 to 1994.

The court sentenced him to 18 to 31 years in jail and ordered him to pay the state P2.8 million.

With the judgment having become final, the court ordered the ruling executed and ordered Ecleo arrested in February this year.

Ecleo, however, filed several petitions to quash the arrest warrant, including one in which he offered to pay a bond of P3 million.

He had lamented that his arrest warrant prevents him from attending sessions in Congress and deprives his province of representation. He had also questioned his guilty verdict, saying it lacked basis.

Ruben Ecleo still faces an often-delayed trial on charges that he committed parricide by murdering his wife Alona in January, 2002.

In relation to that case Ecleo has remained free on a P1-million bail since March 1, 2004.

Back then Ecleo claimed he was suffering from various illnesses and was already a “walking time bomb” and his condition could worsen if he were to remain in jail.

Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association
Ecleo is considered the spiriual leader of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA), a religious group founded by his father.

The PMBA, considered to be theologically a cult of Christianity, has an estimated one million members in the central and southern Philippines. Followers consider Ruben Ecleo Jr., who took control over the group after his father’s death in 1987, to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday October 5, 2011.
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