Private prosecutor in slay of cult leader’s wife killed

CEBU CITY , Cebu, Philippines — The lawyer representing the family of the slain wife of cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr. was shot dead inside her office here on Monday morning.

Arbet Sta. Ana Yonco was working inside her office on Sikatuna Street at 8:30 a.m. when two armed men barged in and shot her in the head, police said. The suspects fled on board a motorcycle.

Yonco was brought to the Perpetual Succor Hospital where she died a few minutes later.

Yonco is the private prosecutor in the parricide case against Ecleo, “supreme master’’ of Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA). Ecleo is accused of strangling to death his wife Alona Bacolod, 27, on Jan. 5, 2002. Her body was found three days after inside a garbage bag in a ravine in Dalaguete town, Cebu.

Ecleo was arrested five months later in his family’s mansion on Dinagat Island in Surigao del Norte province after a fierce encounter between his followers and policemen. Sixteen PBMA members were killed.

At the height of the gun battle on June 18, 2002, one of Ecleo’s followers shot and killed Alona’s parents and two other members of the Bacolod family in Mandaue City, Cebu. Policemen gunned down the assailant shortly after the attack.

Surviving members of the Bacolod family blamed the carnage on Ecleo, a charge that the cult leader has denied.

Vacation? Short break? Day trip? Get Skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippines
Oct. 11, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday October 11, 2004.
Last updated if a date shows here:


More About This Subject


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission -- at no additional cost to you -- for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate, Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this research service free of charge.

Speaking of which: One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at