The Philippines Supreme Court has denied with finality the appeal of Dinagat Islands Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr. seeking to reverse the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court’s 2006 ruling convicting him and two other people of graft and sending them to 31 years in prison.
The high court affirmed its Oct. 18, 2010 decision finding for the Sandiganbayan, saying it saw no reason to reverse the anti-graft court’s decision.
The anti-graft court convicted and sentenced Ecleo to jail for his involvement in anomalous deals to build a public market, a new municipal building and a guesthouse in the years 1991 to 1994, when he was mayor of San Jose town in Surigao del Norte.
He is said to be a “supreme master” of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association, which is reported to have more than a million members.
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 PBMA, 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.
In relation to that case Ecleo has remained free on a P1-million bail since March 1, 2004.