Still no Ecleo after a year of searching – NBI

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The NBI tells the Sandiganbayan in a report that after a year of searching for Ecleo, they have yet to find him and serve him warrants of arrest

DROPPED: Fugitive Ruben Ecleo Jr is no longer the congressman of Dinagat Islands. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – Still no signs of fugitive and former Dinagat Island Representative Ruben Ecleo Jr.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) told the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan in a report that after a year of searching for Ecleo, they have yet to find him and serve him arrest warrants. Ecleo was convicted on 3 counts of graft on October 13, 2006.

He was dropped from the rolls of the House of Representatives in 2012. 

The Sandiganbayan sentenced him to 18-31 years of imprisonment after finding him guilty of illegally disbursing funds for 3 construction projects undertaken between 1991-1994 during his term as mayor of San Jose in Surigao del Norte.

Ecleo was previously convicted by a Cebu regional trial court for killing his wife Alona in 2002. He had been in hiding since the same court cancelled his bail and ordered his arrest in April 2011.

The NBI’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Division (AIDD) was one of several units tasked on August 28, 2015 to find and arrest Ecleo. AIDD senior agent Eduardo Ramos Jr said their “diligent efforts” have yielded nothing.

Two of Ecleo’s co-accused – former municipal planning and development coordinator Anadelia Navarra and private contractor Ricardo Santillano of PBMA Builders – were also found guilty of conniving with Ecleo in the illegal transactions. They were both sentenced to 12-21 years of imprisonment.

Navarra and Santillano were ordered by the court to pay the municipal government the amount of P2.86 million, equivalent to the unlawful payments made to the contractor.

After the court denied Navarra’s request to be imprisoned at the Surigao Provincial Jail, following her arrest in September 2015, she was committed to the Correctional Institution for Women. Santillano is still missing.

The case against former municipal treasurer Arsenia Orejas was archived after the court failed to acquire jurisdiction over her person. She died on April 26, 2002 at least 4 years before the guilty verdict was issued in 2006. –

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