MANILA, Philippines – Police on Thursday nabbed former lawmaker Ruben Ecleo Jr. in Pampanga, several years after he was convicted of killing his wife and of graft charges.
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said Ecleo was arrested in San Fernando, Pampanga around 4:30 a.m. on Thursday.
NCRPO director Police Major General Debold Sinas said Ecleo has been under police surveillance for six months prior to his capture.
Sinas said the former Dinagat Island representative is considered as the number one most wanted person on the list of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Ecleo has a P2 million bounty on his head.
“We received information from our agent from the Dinagat Island that Ruben Ecleo had left Dinagat Island six years ago. And accordingly, he was in the National Capital Region so the said informant came from the Dinagat Island and proceeded to Manila, and coordinated with our operatives and gave us idea where Ecleo is residing,” Sinas said.
In 2012, Ecleo was convicted for killing his wife, Alona Bacolod-Ecleo, in Cebu in 2002.
Before he was sentenced over his wife’s slay, Ecleo was also convicted of graft in 2006 for the anomalous construction deals he entered into when he was mayor of San Jose town in Dinagat Island in the early ‘90s.
“After the conviction, he stayed for two years in Davao before he went here in Luzon and four years ago he stayed already in Diamond Subdivision in Brgy. Balibago Angeles City where he was residing,” Sinas said.
During his arrest, police confiscated Ecleo’s white Toyota Grandia, registered under a fake name Marcos Macapagal Garcia, some P170,000 in cash, fake IDs, three mobile phones and sets of jewelry.
Ecleo also surrendered to authorities three short firearms and an M16 rifle.
“We will try to check kung licensed yung baril nya, then we could file for illegal possession,” Sinas said.
Ecleo was arrested with his driver, Benjie Fernan, who may face charges for allegedly coddling a fugitive.
Ecleo is the so-called “Supreme Master” of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)
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