Ruben Ecleo Jr

Ruben Ecleo is latest high-profile convict death

Lian Buan
Ruben Ecleo is latest high-profile convict death

CONTROVERSIAL FIGURE. A file photo of former congressman Ruben Ecleo Jr after he was arrested in Pampanga on July 30, 2020.

File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

The Bureau of Corrections says Ruben Ecleo died from 'cardiopulmonary arrest' and other medical conditions

Parricide and graft convict Ruben Ecleo Jr, a former Philippine congressman, died on Thursday afternoon, May 13, according to the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

“He died of cardiopulmonary arrest [at] 12:20 pm today. Other medical conditions include obstructive jaundice, chronic kidney disease, secondary to obstructive uropathy,” BuCor spokesperson Gabriel Chaclag told reporters on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear if Ecleo died of a heart attack.

According to Chaclag, Ecleo was a moderate COVID-19 case and that he had already recovered last week (the first week of May).

Ecleo is the latest in a string of high-profile convicts to die in BuCor custody.

An eclectic former Dinagat Island representative, he was arrested in July 2020 in San Fernando, Pampanga after 9 years in hiding.

Ecleo had been using an alias at a gated housing enclave in Pampanga when he was arrested at age 60 .

He was arrested on the power of warrants re-issued by the Sandiganbayan for his graft conviction, but it was his decade-long murder trial that made him an infamous figure nationwide, particularly in Cebu City, where he was convicted.

Ecleo was convicted in 2012 by a Cebu City court for the murder of his wife Alona Bacolod-Ecleo in 2002.

Ecleo disappeared shortly after his conviction and was dropped from the roll of members in the House of Representatives. He was able to serve two years of his term before going into hiding.

Despite the murder case and graft conviction, he was still able to win a seat in the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections.

Before Ecleo, the last high-profile convicts to die in BuCor custody were Yu Yuk Lai, a notorious drug convict, and lawyer Richard Cambe, former aide of Senator Bong Revilla, who was convicted for plunder in a pork barrel scam case.

Other high-profile convicts who died recently were convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez, car theft convict Raymond Dominguez, and drug convict Jaybee Sebastian – a key figure in the government’s drug charges against Senator Leila de Lima.

Aside from high-profile deaths, Rappler found in earlier investigations that dozens of prisoners died without ever being tested for the coronavirus. These lapses raised questions about limited testing in prison facilities and concerns about not getting a full picture of the state of infection there.

There are no liabilities seen yet on the part of BuCor for these deaths. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.